Sectarian parties to blame as water charges brought in

Alliance Party Chief Whip Kieran McCarthy has said the people must be in no doubt who is to blame as water charges are brought in – the four sectarian parties which failed to balance the books when devolution was last in operation, and which have failed to meet deadlines for a devolved settlement to put right their mistakes.

Speaking after a phasing in of water charges rising to £300 per household was announced by Minister David Cairns, Alderman McCarthy stated: “Alliance is the only local party with clear proposals on how to balance the books without water charges. Unionists and Nationalists alike have stood idly by, doing nothing about segregated services in education, health and leisure, and often openly supporting them. But the needless segregation they advocate costs money – and now the people of Northern Ireland are going to pay for it.

“The Executive had the opportunity under devolution to balance the books by implementing proposals to end segregation. Instead, they chose a financial loan deal which now needs to be paid for. They are responsible, no one else.

“Even now they have the opportunity to put this right by getting back into an Assembly and taking responsibility for our finances. Instead, they prefer to play about with deadlines, fail to meet their requirements to stand up for democracy, and generally shirk responsibility for this issue and many others.”

The Strangford MLA concluded: “It seems the leading parties are now running scared from devolution, knowing that in order to avoid punitive water charges, rates rises and other fees, they will have to reverse segregation and abolish their sectarian power bases. The people of Northern Ireland deserve much better than this – and we in Alliance will

continue to offer it.”


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