McGuinness urges Government TDs to back proposals to lift FOI ban

Sean Keane

Reporter:

Sean Keane

Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness is urging back-bench Government TDs to back a Fianna Fáil motion demanding transparency in the operations of Irish Water.

Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness is urging back-bench Government TDs to back a Fianna Fáil motion demanding transparency in the operations of Irish Water.

The Dáil will debate a Fianna Fáil motion this week calling on the Government to lift its Freedom of Information ban on Irish Water.

the Kilkenny Deputy said it will give Fine Gael and Labour the opportunity to ensure that Phil Hogan’s Super Quango is finally held accountable for the tens of millions of tax-payers money it receives and the billions in assets it has been given ownership of.

“The news that Irish Water has wasted €50 million of taxpayers’ money on consultant fees is, we believe, just the tip of the iceberg,” said Deputy McGuinness.

“For the past two years, Minister Hogan has pumped tens of millions of taxpayers’ money into his new Super Quango. This money has not been spent on upgrading our water infrastructure or fixing the chronic problems with supply, it has been spent on setting up a corporate entity, hiring highly paid executives and launching glossy public relations campaigns.

“The Government has blocked scrutiny of its new Super Quango so that taxpayers in Kilkenny and across the country have no idea what their money is being spent on. While Irish Water strips our local authorities of millions of euro in valuable local assets and prepares to hit Kilkenny households, it remains outside the Freedom of Information Act. This is a disgrace. The Government has stifled debate on this issue at every turn and it has blocked questions and sought to stamp out opposition.

“The Government TDs who until now have backed the FOI ban on Irish Water and voted to block debate on the legislation now claim to be shocked at the news of exorbitant consultancy fees. If they mean what they say, they will have the opportunity in the Dáil this week to do the right thing, and back our motion demanding transparency at Irish Water.”