Sinn Fein in Tipperary has responded to calls from Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly for local party reps to outline where they stand in relation to using commercial rates to pay for investment in water services.
Minister Kelly made his call in last week’s Tipperary Star following a suggestion by Sinn Fein’s deputy president Mary Lou McDonald on Morning Ireland that the party would look at using rates to fund water services.
Minister Kelly said that that would mean that commercial ratepayers would have to come with funding of E250m for domestic water services.
In a statement this week on behalf of Tipperary Sinn Fein, PRO Fachtna Roe said that in reference to the article, Kelly challenges SF on water charges, it was worth noting that Sinn Féin’s budget proposals were a matter of record, whether the Minister chose to read them or not.
The statement reads: “It is our full expectation that in the formulation of the budget for the State that the Government of the day would look at all suggestions and possibilities. It is for this reason that Sinn Féin produces such documents, to provide a viable alternative to the grinding austerity of the coalition and troika.
“And while we accept that Minister Kelly has been excluded from the Über-Cabinet that is the Economic Management Counsel, it is not unreasonable to expect that he would still be aware that Sinn Féin has fully costed proposals for the running of the country.
“Perhaps it is as result of the democratic deficit that Minister Kelly has become accustomed to not expecting to know what’s going on.
“We draw his attention to not only the budgets just mentioned, but also to our suggested amendment in 2012 to the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act (FEMPI). In that amendment, rejected by this Government, Sinn Féin suggested capping the salaries of a wide range of civil and public servants at €100,000. This would have reduced the Minister’s own income had it been accepted. It was not.
“It is sensible measures like that which provide the funding for our programme of investment and governance.
The report also stated that the Minster asked, somewhat disingenuously, about Tipperary businesses picking up the tab for any shortfall in water revenues.
“It is precisely because of the absence of earlier investment that he is now expecting the ordinary citizen to pick up the shortfall.
“He is choosing to overlook the fact that more than half of the citizens of state have made it quite clear that his proposed funding model is unacceptable. Unheard of numbers are participating in acts of civil disobedience in rejection of the Minister’s threadbare policies.
“Sinn Féin acknowledges that businesses are suffering and sees that they are victims of austerity too. When businesses fail because of that policy, families suffer also, as a result of unemployment and missed opportunities. Sinn Féin sees that business and ordinary people are intertwined; both must prosper together. It is because this government does not see that, that the Minister thinks he must decide between the two.
“Then again, if the Minster and his colleagues were willing to pay their share, that decision might never have to be made.
“Meantime, we have emailed a copy of our budget proposals to his office.”