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Alan Kelly: 'We are going to get this right, it's my job to get this right'

The Minister for the Environment said that Irish Water legislation was rushed through the Dáil and it shouldn’t have happened.

The Environment Minister Alan Kelly on the Six One News tonight.
The Environment Minister Alan Kelly on the Six One News tonight.
Image: RTÉ Screengrab

THE MINISTER FOR the Environment Alan Kelly said tonight that mistakes were made by the last Cabinet in terms of how Irish Water was set up.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One News this evening, Kelly said that legislation was “rushed through the Dáil” which he said shouldn’t have happened.

He said that the charges were unclear to people, adding that Government now need to “re-look at it”.

Phil Hogan 

When put to him by Brian Dobson that mistakes were made by his predecessor Phil Hogan, Kelly said that he wasn’t in Cabinet at the time.

“I think it is important that someone in Cabinet and in my position comes out strongly and says we are going to fix these issues, learn from the mistakes of the past,” he said.

“I don’t deny mistakes were made, I’m holding my hands up and saying that mistakes were made,” said Kelly, who said that one mistake that wasn’t made was the creation of Irish water itself.

He said that the utility of Irish water is necessary for the future and that the tax-payer will have to pay for it.

We are going to get this right, it is my job to get this right. I wasn’t part of that Cabinet… I am going to make sure this Cabinet gets this right and delivers it for the people.

The minister said that he had met with Irish Water today and that he would be meeting them again tomorrow. He said that clarity on all issues relating to Irish Water from charges to management would be dealt with and that the Irish people would have clarity on all matters next week.

Affordability 

“Affordability is the key issue,” said Kelly, who said that people want certainty as to what they will pay in the coming years. “I have heard that message loud and clear, “he said.

Kelly said they have listened to the people but that if something wasn’t done about water now, in a few years time, people would be asking why he didn’t do something when they had the chance. “I am grasping the nettle, it has to be dealt with… “.

Earlier today, the managing director of Irish Water, John Tierney apologised to customers for the mistakes made by the utility company in recent months. The Unite Trade Union also hit out at Government for “scaremongering” while they claim that research published today shows that Government would still reach its deficit target of 3 percent in 2015 if water charges are abolished.

Originally published 20:18.

Read: Irish Water: We’re sorry>

As it happened: Tens of thousands protest against water charges>

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