So Green Party TD Paul Gogarty is strongly opposed to the imposition of water rates on primary schools. Why then did he vote for the Programme for Government? He now seeks to distance himself from the inane decision by the FF/Green/PD Government to impose water rates on primary schools. The Green Minister John Gormley has remained strangely quiet whilst Mr Gogarty a supporter of the Government is adopting a stance which is close to the position adopted by FG and Labour. The Greens wish to deflect responsibility. Paul Gogarty seeks to act simultaneously as a Government TD and as an opposition TD. Unfortunately Mr Gogarty cannot have it both ways. He is either a supporter of the Government or he is not. He emphasized on RTE radio this morning that he had no intention of voting against the Government. By their votes in the Dail you shall know them.
Mr Gogarty endeavoured to criticise the opposition on Morning Ireland this morning. The opposition has come up with worthwhile proposals to resolve the issue unlike the Greens.
Joint Statement by FG Education Spokesperson Brian Hayes TD, and Labour Education Spokesperson, Ruairí Quinn TD.
Labour Deputy Ruairi Quinn and Fine Gael Deputy Brian Hayes have tabled a joint motion for tomorrow's emergency meeting of the Joint Committee on Education on and Science.
Government Party Chairperson, Paul Gogarty, TD has convened a emergency meeting of the Committee with representatives of the Departments of Education and Environment to explore ways out of this new budgetary fiasco.
The Taoiseach and Minister for Education and Science have attempted to blame the European Union for a new charge imposed by Minister John Gormley's Department, through the Local Authorities, on primary and secondary schools.
At an average cost of €5,000 per school this new stealth tax will gather €21,500,000 for Brian Cowen's tax raising budget.
Fine Gael and Labour are totally opposed to this dishonest and excessive tax charge. Our motion, if passed, will solve the problem in an environmentally responsible way.
The Government must act to solve this cash crisis for schools who have now been inundated with additional water charges.
Opposition deputies Brian Hayes and Ruairi Quinn will press their colleagues on the all-party Oireachtas Committee of Education and Science to move quickly to solve the surprise financial burden of new water rates which have fallen on schools across the country.
Text of Motion:
That this Committee acknowledges the current financial crisis schools are facing with mounting bills for water charges and calls on the Government to;
1. Recognise that the Water pricing provisions of the Water Framework Directive do not fully come into effect until the end of 2009,
2. Immediately instruct local authorities to defer payment for outstanding and pending water charge bills to schools in anticipation of a resolution of this matter,
3. Introduce such a new scheme only when a Water Meter has been installed in all schools,
4. Introduce a fair and equitable solution to the problem whereby each school is given an generous and realistic water allowance based on a per capita basis, and all water usage over that allowance be paid.
5. Introduce a once off capital grant to schools to allow for water conservation measures in schools and to prepare schools, in a fair way, for the introduction of the Water Framework Directive.
- Deputy Brian Hayes and Deputy Ruairi Quinn.