Independent TD Mattie McGrath has harshly criticised Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly over what he has described as the Minister’s “abject failure to grasp the nature of the crisis besetting Irish Water”.
Deputy McGrath was speaking after Minister Kelly gave assurances on RTE’s Primetime this Tuesday that he would be encouraging the head of Irish Water, John Tierney, to engage more effectively with the public in terms of how they communicate their message.
“For the last number of weeks the Government has been trotting out this pathetic red herring that somehow the root of the crisis in relation to Irish Water can be reduced to a lack of communication by senior management. This is just absurd and painfully offensive to people. It is directly because people understand very clearly the unjust nature of the new water tax regime that they are angry,” said the Independent TD.
Deputy McGrath said that the message had come through to the public loud and clear that they were being asked to subsidise a semi-State quango that even the Government’s own assessment carried out by PWC had said was not necessary in its current format.
“Minister Kelly needs to wake up very quickly to the true nature of people’s discontent and realise that even if he guided by John Tierney by the hand to every door in Ireland it would not make the lease bit of difference,” he said.
“The issue is cost. The issue is the poverty this tax is going to drive people into. The issue is the arrogance of a Government that rammed through this legislation on Christmas Day when there was no need for the indecent haste,” said Deputy McGrath.
He maintained that all the PR offensives in the world by Irish Water cannot change these facts if the fundamental difficulties were not resolved.
“By the sounds of Minister’s Kelly’s so called solutions they won’t be anytime soon. During the course of this crisis, Minister Kelly has shown himself to be out of his depth and should, therefore, consider going back to the more shallow water of being a Minister of State,” said Deputy McGrath.