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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019
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'Anybody with any kind of a brain will understand what I meant'

Fine Gael Senator clarifies his comment that water “doesn’t just fall out of the sky”.

Source: Gerard Kavanagh/YouTube

GROSSLY UNFAIR AND upsetting.

That’s how Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway has described online criticism he received after comments he made about water charges on Tonight with Vincent Browne.

Conway was ridiculed online after saying that people need to pay for water because it doesn’t fall out of the sky.

Water is a finite resource … water needs to be paid for, it costs. It doesn’t just fall out of the sky, it has to be purified.

The slip of the tongue was quickly seized upon by unhappy viewers on Twitter.

However, Conway told TheJournal.ie that critics have chosen to ignore the second half of his comment – where he clarifies what he meant to say.

What I should have probably said was that purified water doesn’t fall out of the sky. Anybody with any kind of a brain at all will understand what I meant …

Purified water doesn’t fall from the sky. If that is the case people should put buckets out and drink it. It costs an awful lot of money to purify water.

Conway said that he didn’t wish to go into the detail of some of the “very nasty, abusive comments” he had seen about himself online.

The Senator said that the issue was distracting from the conversations that people should be having about Irish Water – such as helping those who cannot afford to pay charges.

Could water charges bring down the Government?

Conway admitted that mistakes had been made in the setting up of Irish Water – including the controversy over staff bonuses – but he thought they could be rectified.

Earlier today, TheJournal.ie revealed that the bank details of ten Irish Water customers were sent to their landlords by mistake.

The Cabinet are discussing Irish Water today, while the board of the semi-state company is also set to meet.

The position of John Tierney is thought to be on the line, although the CEO insisted over the weekend that he was “going nowhere”.

Conway noted that he wasn’t on the interview panel that hired Tierney, but said he would have “much preferred someone with international experience in setting up a national utility” heading up Irish Water.

I think it would be a great pity if an issue such as water was to bring down the Government.

“Ultimately, in ten years time we’ll have a far better water infrastructure that we will be able to stand over, compared to what we have now – that’s a legacy that any government would like to have.”

Read: Does the government want to throw this man under the bus?

Read: Still have questions about water charges? You might find the answers here

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Órla Ryan

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