herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Calls for Irish Water to reveal legal advice

Sean Fleming
Sean Fleming

Irish Water is coming under growing pressure to publish legal advice it received that it said confirmed that water charges can't be scrapped under European law.

AAA-PBP TD Mick Barry and Fianna Fail's public expenditure spokesman Sean Fleming both urged the utility to make the legal advice public.

Details of the legal opinion emerged in recent days.

Last night Ervia, the parent company of Irish Water, refused to publish it in full, saying it was a "private confidential document".

Mr Barry said he believed that it should be released, adding: "What have they got to hide?"

He claimed that the legal advice should carry a "health warning" as it was commissioned by Irish Water, which he said "has skin in the game".

Mr Fleming also said he believed it should be published, and said he was interested in seeing the brief given to the lawyers by Irish Water.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fail environment spokesman Barry Cowen insisted that "water charges can be abolished".

"Advice to the party is that this is consistent with the EU Water Services Directive.

"It remains the position of Fianna Fail that water charges should be scrapped for the next five years and that the priority must be to increase investment in repairing and building up our water infrastructure," he said.

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