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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I agree with much of what Senator David Cullinane said about the need for a debate on Irish Water, but my prognosis of the company and the future direction of water policy is different from his. What is on the table from Irish Water needs to be addressed. The company appears to do a very good job in keeping itself in the news, sometimes for good reasons but at other times for bad ones. It engages in a significant amount of television and radio advertising at enormous cost. We hear spokesperson after spokesperson bringing forward new angles about the business of the company. What surprises me about today’s announcement is that it does not seem to fit fully into the position into which Irish Water was boxed by way of the 12-year long service level agreements between the Department, the unions and the local authorities. I am not sure how one can match the other. Irish Water is clearly not a conventional semi-State body. That issue has been adjudicated and ruled on by a European body and we cannot make that decision go away. We were advised at the time that the situation could be regularised within 12 to 24 months, but as of now it is impossible under the current terms of legislation, domestically and internationally, for Irish Water to pursue the line it indicated this morning. We have a Minister with responsibility for Irish Water and may have an election, but we need a degree of certainty about the company’s current plans. A debate here would be useful in that regard.
Both the Dáil and the Seanad seem to have gone into a dizzy spin about a general election. The men and women in the streets are not remotely concerned about when it will take place. They want to get on with living their lives. Whether it is held in November, February or March, we have a duty to continue doing the job we were elected to do. One of the issues of importance is the ongoing saga of Irish Water. Rather than speculate about when the Taoiseach might call the election – perhaps he does not know himself – we should get on with our normal, ordinary business.