Last Saturday, more than 150,000 people marched in opposition to the Taoiseach’s Irish Water project. It is clear they are angry at his arrogance, at the detached nature of the Government and at its inability to listen, to be clear about anything and to simply understand that many people are not in a position to pay water charges. The former Minister of State, Deputy Fergus O’Dowd, is on the record as stating that Irish Water has been an unmitigated disaster. The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Alan Kelly, has gone further, blaming the Taoiseach for the mess, as well as the former Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Eamon Gilmore, the Minister for Finance, Deputy Michael Noonan, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Brendan Howlin, all members of the famous Economic Management Council, EMC, which railroaded Irish Water through the Cabinet and the Oireachtas, and his current party leader, the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Joan Burton, who ultimately had to sign into law the provision allowing Irish Water to request people's PPS numbers.
The Minister said very clearly that he was not part of the former Cabinet and that he would ensure this Cabinet got it right. He also said this was the first time someone in his position had accepted that serious errors were made in the establishment of Irish Water and that this needed to be conveyed clearly to the people. The Minister need not worry on that score. If there is one matter the people are clear on, it is the complete mess that has been made around the establishment of Irish Water. He also criticised strongly the way the legislation to establish Irish Water was rushed through the Dáil, and castigated the bonus culture in the company as well as the complete lack of clarity on many key issues.