Historic underfunding of water system by successive Fine Gael and Fianna Fail governments reason for current infrastructure crisis
People Before Profit have outlined a number of measures that could be used to pay for water infrastructure upgrades and water services
People Before Profit TD and spokesperson on water, Bríd Smith, has said that the blame for the crumbling nature of Ireland’s water infrastructure is down to historic underfunding by successive Fine Gael and Fianna Fail governments.
The TD for Dublin South Central made her comments in the wake of the burst pipe in Drogheda which has cut of water to thousands of people in Louth and Meath East.
Ms Smith pointed out People Before Profit have consistently outlined an alternative vision for water infrastructure and funding in this country.
“The government and Eoghan Murphy would like people to believe that the Fine Gael have had nothing to do with this crisis that is being experienced in Louth and Meath East, but it is the chronic underfunding and neglect of the water infrastructure by successive Fine Gael and Fianna Fail governments that have brought us the crisis the people of Drogheda and the surrounding area are experiencing.
“50,000 people in the surrounding area of Drogheda and East Meath have been left without water supplies for a week. If it were not for a huge voluntary effort, there would be a serious risk to human life and health. This is a direct result of the policies of the establishment parties that now complain about the water system being antiquated and out of date. It is rank hypocrisy.
“The reality is that the state cut its investment in water supply from €435 million in 2011 to €296 million in 2014 – a 32 percent reduction.
“In this country we have always paid for their water though central taxation. For commentators to pass comment that people are expecting water for free is just not true.
“People Before Profit believe that water services should be returned to the control of local authorities and that the service should be funded through progressive central taxation. But there are other measures that can be taken to pay for water services.
“The government could make corporations pay the 12.5% corporation tax which they are supposed to pay; the government could close the section 110 loopholes and charge these companies a solidarity tax; the government should take the Apple €15 billion and the government could introduce a financial transactions tax (FTT) on financial transactions that go through the IFSC.
“The government have wasted a huge amount of tax payer’s money on an inefficient, badly run quango called Irish Water. The money paid to executives, in legal fees, to consultants and on water meters has meant that the state was projected to have spent €2bn, according to government projections by the end of 2016, on Irish Water and not a single pipe or leak has been fixed. Irish Water was solely focused on spending huge money on water meters to charge people rather than investing money to fix the leaks.”