In November 2009 the Fine Gael Party published the NewERA document and the then Deputy Simon Coveney was responsible for developing the policy framework. Many people worked with him and the document was especially relevant to the establishment of Irish Water because it said Fine Gael would bring all of Ireland's water assets under the ownership of one State company. Even in 2009 that company was named as Irish Water and local authorities were to be its agents. Before the troika, this was a clear policy of Fine Gael's.
Deputy Fergus O'Dowd was the Minister of State responsible for the legislation that introduced Irish Water on a statutory basis and he said today that the company is an unmitigated disaster, that it has abjectly failed and that it is arrogant and uncaring. He said low income groups are paying too much, that bands should be widened and that ability to pay should be a factor. In particular, he said unemployed people are being crucified by the charge. He said people are angry and intimidated by the sign-up packs that have been distributed and by requests for PPS numbers. He said there is an intense dislike for the process. The Taoiseach is quite good at understatement and he interpreted all of this as Deputy O'Dowd merely making a point that there is a need for better communications and more engagement with the community. I suggest that the Deputy said far more than that and got to the heart of the issue. Does the Taoiseach agree with what Deputy O'Dowd said regarding Irish Water? Does he feel it has been an unmitigated disaster and an abject failure? Does the Taoiseach consider that an ability to pay concept should be central to the water charges regime implemented by Irish Water?
Will the Taoiseach take steps to ensure the poverty analysis referenced by Deputy O'Dowd this morning on "Morning Ireland" to determine the impact of all this on low-income groups will be published in order that we can all read it?