Senator Daly: I welcome engagement with the Minister at any time on this issue. I am only putting on the record of this House statements by the Labour Party in 2010 and the real facts behind what it said when Deputy Rabbitte, in a moment of clarity and truth, said: “Isn’t that what you … do during an election?” One promises but does not ever believe one is going to deliver.
Another Minister made what was possibly the most out-of-touch and outrageous comment by any Minister in the past year. The Minister for Health, Deputy Leo Varadkar, was wondering what people were worried about in that the cost is only €3. This Government is supposed to represent all the people but, according to the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, it represents only those people who agree with it. He said, “We govern for reasonable people.” Unless a person agrees with the Government, they are not reasonable and, therefore, it will not govern for them. The Minister for Health said it does not really bother him that people are protesting about €3 per week and that the Government has a much bigger problem. Of course, the Minister is correct because there are people who are fearful and there is homelessness and hunger. The Irish League of Credit Unions would tell us that 500,000 people have nothing at the end of the month. They do not have the €3 each week or €12 at the end of each month that is required to pay water bills. That is why I said the Government is out of touch. When the Ministers who believe it is no problem to pay €3 per week say they do not govern for the people—–
Senator Mullins: How would the Senator get them to pay €400?
Senator Daly: It is not a question is how we would pay for water but of how the 500,000 people who do not have money at the end of the month would do so
Senator Kelly: How would they pay the €8?
Senator Daly: Why is it that the man in south Dublin who is on €500,000 per year is being charged the same as a person who has nothing at the end of the week or month? What the Government is doing in this Bill—-
Senator Cummins: What about the €8 Fianna Fáil was going to charge?
Senator Daly: —–and what Senators must be mindful of when they vote on it is asking 500,000 people to choose between paying their water bill—–
Senator Mullins: €3 or €8?
Senator Daly: —–and buying food to on their tables for their children. The facts are from the Irish League of Credit Unions, which says 500,000 citizens of this State, not customers, as Irish Water would call them, are being abandoned by the Minister for Finance.
The Minister says he does not govern for people who do not agree with him. The Minister for Health, Deputy Leo Varadkar, says that if there are people who have a problem paying €3 per week, he does not govern for them either. Senators have the power to bring the Government’s madness on this to a halt and answer the fundamental question as to how 500,000 citizens in the State who do not have any money at the end of every month will find the money to pay their bill to Irish Water.