Thursday, 19 December 2013
Water Services (No. 2) Bill 2013 [Seanad]: Second Stage
Like others, I express my disappointment, dismay and disgust at the inordinate rush with which this Bill is going through the House. It deserves far more time and in-depth discussion by everybody concerned. I am also disappointed at the cynical way in which the introduction of charges has been arranged. The bills will not be coming in yet as they might coincide with either the local elections or the European elections.
I note that Ireland supports the right to water for the developing world. It is one of a series of rights such as the right to food and the right to a roof over one's head, yet the Government seems to be taking a completely different attitude to water when it comes to this country, where, suddenly, it is a commodity to be bought and sold. This area, and what is being proposed here with water charges, is completely profit-driven.
I represent Dublin Central, which has had many examples of repeated flooding. Even in the good times when we were, if one will pardon the pun, awash with money, the money did not go into the infrastructure required to protect residents' homes against flooding. We are seeing repeated flooding, and there is also the role of the insurance companies, as has been discussed here and as I have brought up with the Minister. The insurance companies will not provide flood cover for houses in areas that have been flooded already. They will not even cover houses that have not been flooded but that happen to be in that same geographical area. There is a massive piece of work that has to be done on that. The insurance companies seem to be able to do what they like. It appears this new board will have the power to do what it likes as well.