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Order of Business

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Senator Terry Leyden

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I do not wish to be seen to collaborate with this Administration, but I ask the Leader to make a request to the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Alan Kelly, and the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Joan Burton, to extend the deadline for the receipt of claims for the water conservation grant of €100. The closing date for receipt of applications via the Internet is midnight, tomorrow, Thursday, 8 October. Some 600,000 have applied, but 700,000 have not, which is a loss of some €70 million. Whether we like it, there are people who are eligible for the grant who have their own septic tanks or water supplies.
I do not want to go into the background to this disaster. Irish Water is a political nightmare for the Government and the various matters relating to it have been very badly handled. The administration of the applications process has been very slow. In addition, many people in rural areas do not have broadband or access to the Internet. I have been in contact with councillors who have been making representations on behalf of individuals, but a public representative is not allowed, under the Data Protection Act, to act for an individual in correcting mistakes in addresses to which bills have been sent. In the circumstances, the €100 grant would be a help to many households at this time. I cannot understand how we in this House could be eligible for the €100 grant, having paid our water rates a few months ago, but not get our money back. The whole thing is totally illogical and it is beyond comprehension that any Government would oversee such a debacle. I ask the Leader to convey to the Government my request which would, I believe, be unanimously supported in the House that the date be extended for at least two weeks in order to allow people to submit their applications. One is obliged to submit a great deal of information such as PPS numbers and bank account details, which is not so easy. It is practically impossible for some people and it is putting enormous pressure on public representatives the length and breadth of the country.