Answer to Irish Water Crisis must include legislation - Root and branch review needed at Oireachtas
Statement by Senator Katherine Zappone
Legislation is needed to address huge public concerns over the lack of transparency, fairness and equality at Irish Water, according to Independent Senator Katherine Zappone.
The Senator says it’s clear that in its existing form Irish Water has failed and does not have the structure, governance or leadership to enjoy the confidence of the Irish people.
She is calling on the Government to put charges on hold and to revert to the Oireachtas so that public representatives can re-engage in a process which will ensure the delivery of a service that is fair, sustainable and encourages conservation.
Senator Zappone added: “It is not good enough that management of Irish Water and Senior Ministers simply went off radar and off the airwaves as people took to the streets to show their frustration. Now is the time for leadership."
"Ministers must commit to action which will ensure that proper governance, management and transparent charges at Irish Water will be underpinned by legislation. There is no alternative given the near complete breakdown in public trust."
"The first step is to put charges on hold, while the legislative process is revisited. We need to establish who will be in charge at Irish Water including the merger of Ervia and Irish Water boards, the accountability of the company to public representatives and the best way to deliver a fair, just and equitable billing system. The relationship between Irish Water and its parent Ervia must also be examined as part of that process. Getting the structure of Irish Water right is key – and that has not happened."
As TDs and Senators return to Leinster House it is important that Minister’s outline a path forward to ease the genuine concerns which have left people across the country frightened, alarmed and angry.
"The voices of those who took to the streets in their tens of thousands cannot be simply ignored and their views must be taken on board – not by tinkering at the edges but by wholescale reform underpinned by legislation."
"It is my hope that process will begin in the Oireachtas this week so as we can begin to correct the mistakes of the past.”