Limerick Local Authority meeting to abolish Water Charges Makes Almost History, writes Sarah O’Brien
Fianna Fail councillors abstained from voting on a motion to abolish the unpopular water charges last Thursday, at an emergency local authority meeting called by Sinn Fein.
Sinn Fein called for the coalition government to abolish household water charges and to stop the installation of meters across the country.
”People are sick to the teeth of austerity”, said Sinn Fein Councillor, Maurice Quinlivan who condemned the Fine Gael/Labour approach to the handling of the introduction of water charges.
”This government has abused and manipulated people,” Cllr Quinlivan continued adding that: ”Sinn Fein is standing firmly with the citizens of Ireland.”
The six Fianna Fail councillors put forward an amendment to the original motion urging for the suspension of water charges so that Irish water could be wound up and that control be handed back to the local authorities.
”Local democracy is gone out the door, we can’t help local people if the powers are gone out of our hands,” said Fianna Fail Councillor Noel Gleeson. His colleague Cllr Collins added, ”It is a further dilution of the councils powers.”
New kid on the block, the AAA’s John Loftus called for the council to support a mass non-payment of water charges saying:”It’s movement not motions that are going to abolish these water charges” and that people power is the only way to end this ”double taxation.”
Labour also put forward an amendment to the original motion asking for a cap on water charges and the ability to pay to be taken into consideration.
Labour Councillor Joe Leddin added: ”This whole process has been an embarrassment, people have lost faith in the democratic process.”
AAA Councillor Paul Keller called Labour out of touch with the people saying:”People do not want this charge they are struggling as it is to put a meal on the table, no capping from the government ,they can’t afford to pay what’s there already”.
All three amendments were defeated, though the original motion which had gained the support of the minority party was likely to pass had Fianna Fail not abstained.