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Forget McNulty, Fergus O'Dowd is the new person causing Enda Kenny problems

Micheál Martin complimented the Taoiseach’s use of the English language, sort of…

Enda Kenny
Enda Kenny
Image: Oireachtas TV

THE COMMENTS MADE by former minister Fergus O’Dowd in relation to Irish Water dominated Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil today.

The former junior environment minister sharply criticised the semi-state body – that he helped set up – in the Irish Independent earlier.

Enda Kenny said that he didn’t agree with O’Dowd’s comments, but admitted there had been “teething problems” in the setting up of Irish Water.  

Fianna Fáíl leader Micheál Martin said that he loved the Taosieach’s “use of the English language”.

Martin stated that while O’Dowd had labelled Irish Water an “unmitigated disaster”, all Kenny could say was:  ”Yeah, it had teething problems”.

He added that many people still didn’t know where they stood in terms of water charges.

Kenny noted that the Water Regulator had determined that the average bill will be less than €240 per household, adding he expected that 80% of all bills would be less than €24 per month.

He said that the free water allowances should cover 40% of the usage of a person who is living alone, leading ot them paying less than 50 cent a day in charges.

Kenny added that people with specific medical conditions would also receive additional allowances. Last month it emerged that the list of conditions that will qualify for water allowances will not be drawn up until 2017.

The Taoiseach said the charges were necessary to improve the country’s water infrastructure and quality, adding: ”Irish Water is here to stay.”

Flann O’Brien

When Gerry Adams asked Kenny if bonuses would be scrapped at the organisation, as O’Dowd suggested, the Taoiseach said: “No bonuses have been paid to Irish Water and the CEO won’t receive a bonus.”

Kenny asked the Sinn Féin leader where his party’s pre-Budget submission was and how it would recoup the €850 million that would be lost if water charges were abolished.

gerry adams 2 Source: Oireachtas TV

Adams said he would make sure Kenny received a copy of the submission.

It has a word in it which is writ large in every single line: equality – that word is alien to you.

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A smiling Adams noted how it’s “important to have a sense of humour” when coming into the Dáíl for Leaders’ Questions, telling Kenny: ”Flann O’Brien could not have written the script that you articulate from day to day.”

Policing Authority

Meanwhile, Independent TD Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach for an update on the establishment on the new policing authority.

Wallace questioned why the necessary legislation was not listed on the Government’s schedule for 2014, despite promising that the authority would be up and running this year.

mcik wallace Mick Wallace Source: Oireachtas TV

Kenny told him that “a great deal of work is being done” to ensure the new body will be set up by the end of the year.

Wallace stressed the need for the authority to be completely independent, adding that it would be “a litmus test for just how committed to reform the Government is”.

Related: State of the Nation: Sacked minister’s blistering parting shot over “failed” Irish Water

Read: Water charges kick in tomorrow. Find out how much you’ll be paying…

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Órla Ryan

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