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Dublin: 2°C Thursday 2 December 2021

'The fact that something becomes a human right, doesn't mean that it's always free'

Also during Leaders’ Questions: The Taoiseach said €15 million was being made available to deal with the immediate effects of the recent flooding.

Image: Water via Shutterstock

THE LACK OF flood defences in Ireland was brought up by Gerry Adams during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil today.

The Sinn Féin president asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny about what help would be available for those left devastated by the floods and when money would be given to those who need it.

He also pointed out that some people living in flood areas had no insurance as they weren’t able to get it due to the location of their homes.

Enda Kenny responded by saying that the recent scale of flooding in Ireland was “unprecedented”.

He made assurances that the government has put together a fund for people who need to be relocated and helped.

The initial response of the government is to deal with the humanitarian issues. There’s a €15 million fund for humanitarian issues pending assessment.

A government spokesperson later confirmed that this €15 million is in addition to €10 million that was announced yesterday.

Kenny explained how the local committee of local authorities were calling house to house to assess damages and that those damages would then be reported to the Department of Social Protection.

He said a full report would be available next Tuesday and that the government will respond in the best way they can with the accurate information.

Water Charges

Independent TD, Deputy Seamus Healy brought up the topic of water charges during the Taoiseach’s weekly grilling by the Opposition.

He asked Kenny about cases where water was not fit for purpose, for example the recently flooded areas and hard water areas where fixtures are damaged by the water.

He also asked how bills were to be calculated for homes that didn’t have a meter, what the free quota would be and if there would be an extra free allowance for people with a medical condition who needed to use more water.

Enda Kenny responded by stating that in the next couple of weeks, the government would have a  model that will show a very clear structure of the water charges.

He added that:

In a country that’s able to build the rest of the world, surely we can provide adequate water for our own people.

Healy responded “as usual you’ve answered none of the questions that I’ve asked”.

He then questioned Kenny on the European Citizens Initiative Campaign. He asked the Taoiseach if he was aware of the campaign that believes water is a human right.

The Taoiseach responded that:

The fact that something becomes a human right, doesn’t mean that it’s always free.

Kenny said, “The model that will be produced here in a couple of weeks will set out the structure, the charges, the allowances, etc…so that people will know what’s happening in advance.”

He added that the water charges will be driven by consumer needs and requirements.

“We have to do some serious thinking about long-term flood defences” — Howlin>

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