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A New Deal on Irish Water, but does it go far enough?

A New deal on Irish Water, but does it go far enough?
The country’s two largest parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have come to an agreement concerning the future of the much maligned utility, Irish Water. Both sides were optimistic that a deal can be brokered before the weekend.
This latest development came after a meeting yesterday morning between interim Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin after drawn-out discussions. The Irish Water issue has always been considered a potential stumbling block to a coalition. This could see the formation of a minority government before the end of next week.
Under the agreement, Irish Water will be turned into a state agency and all water charges will be suspended until a radically different charging system is put into place. This could include an overall reduction on the base price of water, a more generous new set of allowances which could include those on social welfare, disability allowances and state pensioners.
If Irish Water becomes a state agency, it will no longer be able to borrow “off the balance books”, meaning that the company will no longer be able to seek funds from private investors. Another issue could be the future prospects of Irish Water’s employees.
During an interview on RTE Radio 1, Paul Murphy of the Anti Austerity Alliance described any deal as having the potential to be, “A Very dodgy deal between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to betray the election promise of Fianna Fáil”.
More details to follow…
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