Water News 2: Do not ask a question you may not like the answer to… April 6, 2017Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
All manner of alarums and fears voiced in the IT this morning, right up to and including an election if FG doesn’t agree with the Oireachtas Committee on water charges recommendations mentioned last night.
Fine Gael may breach the confidence and supply arrangement and risk a general election by refusing to implement the measures.
Fine Gael insists the proposals may breach European law and expose the taxpayer to thousands of euro in fines.
Mr Coveney has said he will not introduce legislation which could be incompatible with the EU Water Framework Directive.
What’s curious though is that according to the IT report:
The committee meeting on descended into chaos on Wednesday as Fine Gael sought fresh legal advice from a senior counsel on the report’s recommendations.
And the outcome of that advice? That the report fulfilled EU legislation in the area.
At which point, according to the report, having asked for the advice FG decided not to accept the advice they themselves had called for.
I think the politics of that are interesting. Perhaps FG believe that they will appear responsible to a broader electorate but I wonder – the sheer weight of the Committee voting in the opposite way has a degree of democratic legitimacy that will be hard to push back against. Not accepting the advice is a further problem – it looks obtuse. And then there’s a further point. Water charges are hugely unpopular in the first place.
Can this go to an election, though? Would FG be willing to push it to that extent? And where does this impact on the FG leadership race?