Those whom the gods seek to destroy they first turn mad. That sentiment comes to mind with regard to the bizarre contribution of a former Minister this evening. His story seems to be that it is all RTE’s fault. Whether that is an acknowledgment that former Workers’ Party people are no longer running RTE or whether it is more sinister, a blatant attempt to intimidate RTE to stop reporting the truth, I am not quite sure, but it certainly is bizarre. It is something that has arisen tonight and in line with something we heard last night from his colleague, the Minister, Deputy Kelly, who told us that those opposed to these water charges want everything but do not want to pay for anything. How dare the Minister say any such thing.
This is the same Deputy Alan Kelly who stood in the general election in 2011 in Tipperary North. He knocked on every door in that constituency and asked every voter to give him their number one vote so that he could make sure that Fine Gael would not impose water charges on this country and on the people of this country. This is the same Deputy Kelly, now deputy leader of the Labour Party, who stood in that election on a manifesto which opposed the introduction of water charges. It is the same Deputy Kelly who supported the infamous – or famous, whichever one wants to call it – Tesco advertisement which warned the people that Fine Gael had water charges in store for them. Fine Gael were going to impose water charges on this country while he and the Labour Party were going to stop it. This is the type of hypocrisy from people like the Minister, Deputy Kelly and former Minister, Deputy Pat Rabbitte and others in the Labour Party. It it the type of hypocrisy that has brought politics and politicians into disrepute over the years.
I say to Deputy Patrick O’Donovan, who spoke about rural Deputies, I certainly have not registered, I will not register and I will not be paying this unfair, unjust double tax. This is an attempt to make ordinary people, ordinary families, pay for a recession in which they had no hand, act or part in creating and it is a method of ensuring that very wealthy people who have earned huge incomes, assets and profits during the course of this recession, have been allowed to get off scot-free.
Last night the Minister, Deputy Kelly, also indicated – perhaps inadvertently – where these water charges are going. He said that England and Wales have charges of €540. That is where these charges are going – up, not down. They will be going up in the very same way as the refuse charges. In my county the refuse charges were introduced at £5 punts and they are now €350.