Updated: 06/04/17 : 06:44:32
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Fine Gael criticises Oireachtas Committee water report

The Oireachtas Committee on the future funding of water services will meet to rubber stamp its report, which is due to be debated in the Dáil next week.

RTÉ reports that Fine Gael has sharply criticised the document as dishonest and politically expedient and claimed that Fianna Fáil undermined an earlier deal.

The report scraps water charges, allows for refunds, ends mandatory metering of new houses and provides for a referendum to keep the resource in public ownership.

It was hailed as a victory by Sinn Féin and Solidarity-People Before Profit, but sparked bitter exchanges between the two largest parties.

Fine Gael said it would expose the country to huge EU fines if implemented in legislation but Fianna Fáil insisted that the government party had reneged on an earlier deal that would have seen them back the report.

Under the terms of the agreement between the two parties, the Government must now facilitate legislation based on its contents.

Failure to do that would be serious, but Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen said last night that the country did not want an election on the water issue.