‘If You’re A Law Maker, You Need To Be A Law Keeper’


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Housing Minister Simon Coveney

This morning, newly appointed Housing Minister Simon Coveney spoke to Seán O’Rourke about housing on RTE Radio One this morning.

Towards the end of the interview, they discussed water charges – which will suspended for nine months, from the end of June, as a commission decides what to do.

The Fine Gael minister assured Mr O’Rourke, “I certainly agree that people who have paid already shouldn’t be disadvantaged financially in any way… People will not be allowed to get away without paying.”

Then Mr O’Rourke reminded Mr Coveney how Independent Alliance TD, who has been appointed a Super Junior Minister for Disability, Finian McGrath has not paid his water charges.

Being a ‘Super Junior’ minister means Mr McGrath can attend Cabinet meetings but cannot vote.

Grab a small tay…

Seán O’Rourke: “Meanwhile, sitting in the Cabinet room along with you and your colleagues, you have Finian McGrath who is proudly boasting that he has no intention of paying his water charges.”

Simon Coveney: “Well I haven’t seen him proudly boasting that and Finian will…”

O’Rourke: “Well stating as a matter of fact then, to put it maybe slightly less..”

Coveney: “Well now let’s not build this issue up into something it isn’t. I mean people should pay their water.”

O’Rourke: “It’s a minister flouting the law and he’s sitting in the same Cabinet room as you. Is that right?”

Coveney: “Well I think, you know,my view would be very similar to, to, you know,  people like Regina Doherty and others who’ve been asked to comment on this.”

O’Rourke: “How can you expect people to pay water charges up until their suspended when you’re sitting beside somebody who just makes a virtue of not paying?”

Coveney: “Government minister should lead by example, it is the law to pay your taxes and Government ministers should pay taxes, including water charges and that’s a decision for Finian.”

O’Rourke: “It’s also a decision for the Taoiseach actually. Is he prepared to keep him in the room?”

Coveney: “Look, I mean, I’m not going to get into the Taoiseach’s view of that. I suspect the Taoiseach’s view is the same as mine. If you’re in Cabinet, you need to lead by example. If you’re a law maker, you need to be a law keeper.”

Listen back here


38 thoughts on “‘If You’re A Law Maker, You Need To Be A Law Keeper’

  1. Gearóid


  2. Stephen

    “it is the law to pay your taxes and Government ministers should pay taxes”, I didn’t realise paying a private companies bills is a tax. What a pr**k!

  3. LeaveitoutMrs

    ‘Government ministers should pay taxes, including water charges’…So he is admitting that the water ‘charges’ are actually a tax and not a utility bill?

    1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

      I don’t think he’s the sharpest tool in the box. He looks the part and sounds the part but nope…He doesn’t have it.

  4. ivor

    What a joke.

    These are the people who would have told Ghandi to stop the Salt March or Rosa Parks to get to the back of the bus. They would have tut-tutted at the anti-poll tax campaign and those banned civil rights marches in Northern Ireland, well those people were terrible.

    Coveney’s argument is silly and simplistic. Nobody – prisoner or politician – has any moral obligation to enforce an unjust law or to follow an unjust order.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      “These are the people who would have told Ghandi to stop the Salt March or Rosa Parks to get to the back of the bus.”

      Just fuppin’ BRILLIANT ! You managed to get Ghandi, Rosa Parks, UK Poll TAx, Civil Rights Movement of Northern Ireland and Irish Water into an argument.

      Get this guy a footstool and pipe !

      1. ivor

        Thank you. Thank you. I’d like to thank Coveny and his ilk for making it easy by attacking civil disobedience in general. I considered including Russian gay rights advocates and the Irish women protesting the contraception ban by bringing condoms back from Belfast but figured that might be overkill.

        Might as well just have put dressed up in his Judge Dredd costume.

        1. classter

          You’re a disgrace, ivor.

          Comparing the IW charges to racism, segregation & the treatment of Indians under colonial rule or even to the treatment of Catholics in NI is really shameful.

          But also typical of weird, insular, self-righteousness of people who have one of the lowest tax burdens (and indeed one of the most progressive tax systems) in the OECD & still feel the right to moan ceaselessly about the sort of charge paid by all of their Western European neighbours.

          Surprised you didn’t manage to shoehorn the Warsaw ghetto uprising in there too. Oh how the Jews of WW2 & the Irish water-charged of 2016 have been put upon, eh?

          1. Kieran NYC

            Maybe, like Gerry, he doesn’t consider himself white?

            Cuz you know, if you have it tough at all, you must be a ‘downtrodden race’. Not at all offensive and patronising.

          2. ivor

            I am disgraceful of course, but I’m not the one who made the claim, that would be the lovely – and not at all disgraceful – Simon.

            He’s the one that made a generalisation that included all of those groups. If law-makers are not allowed to engage in civil disobedience, then none of those people had a place in a parliament.

            The brave Simon is – based on what he said – of the belief that Irish politicians had no place in the Oireachtas if they were using contraceptives when that was banned.

            Perhaps what he meant to say was that he didn’t think that Irish Water was an important enough issue to warrant a tactic like civil disobedience but that might have required a justification on his part and an acknowledgement that people have differing opinions about the importance of the issue. No the good Simon didn’t bother with nuance and logic, he just went ahead and piped out a silly, simplistic, Communications-Clinic- approved soundbite.

  5. Supercrazyprices

    Do you hear Brendan Howlin squealing on RTE Morning Ireland.

    He’s clearly having a hard time dealing without the pomp of ministerial office and minder Baldy Noonan.

    I hope he wins the Labour Leadership. It will be the nail in their coffin.

  6. kwikster

    If you’re a law maker, you need to be a law keeper.

    that will come back to haunt him at some point

  7. King Thistle

    If you’re a law maker you need to be a law keeper… What if you’re a bee keeper?

  8. Gorev Mahagut

    Coveney: “Well obviously Seán when you’re desperate for independents to vote for you, then you know, beggars can’t be choosers. Obviously Irish Water is hugely distrusted and unpopular, and the people voted against us in sufficient numbers that we can’t just ignore that. But we won’t admit that this was a mistake and roll back, because of some reason which we don’t want to talk about. So we’re fudging.”

  9. dan

    Coveney is minister for housing, planning and local government. Today he said ““Some people have accused me of having a political death wish because it’s obviously a very controversial. but also a very politically important ministry, in terms of housing particularly, but also obviously the water issues,” ”
    So, he thinks that water is within his remit yet Denis Naughten is minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

    You see what FG have done? Now that water is such a toxic subject they have made no-ne in charge.

  10. some old queen

    Irish Water has still not released the latest quarterly payment figures. Let’s wait and see how many ‘criminals’ there actually are eh? Assuming you can trust the figures of course.

    The plain fact is that the only way people are NOT going to be financially disadvantaged is to give those who paid a refund. But, for some peculiar reason they won’t do that and for some even more peculiar reason, nobody in the media is asking why.

    1. ReproBertie

      “Let’s wait and see how many ‘criminals’ there actually are eh? Assuming you can trust the figures of course.”
      That’s brilliant. If they say 30% of people paid you can call it a failure because of the 70% non-compliance. If they say 70% paid you can just say the figures are made up. Win-Win!

      1. some old queen

        Well they have been slanted before. 60% of people have paid does not mean 60% of people are currently paying?

        The real figures will only emerge when the refunds are given because they will have to be costed.

        1. ReproBertie

          “60% of people have paid does not mean 60% of people are currently paying?”
          That’s not a question but to save you the hassle of replying, I don’t care. I’m just amused by the way you say the figures will tell us something unless what they tell us is not what you want to hear.

          1. some old queen

            I will reply tnx.

            As I said to an Irish Water employee on here yesterday who was being very deceitful by pretending to be not, The real issue with Irish water is trust. The general public do not trust it.

          2. ReproBertie

            But you’ll trust it if the figures say only IW employees have paid their water bills.

          3. Steve

            @same old

            I wasn’t been deceitful , I work in one of the Local authorities that work with IW, a Dublin one but I’ll leave it at that. I happen to think a single utility is a good idea. I have a good insight into what’s wrong with the system from a technical point of view. I was simply enlightening you about some of the engineering issues around water services, apologies for the lingo and acronyms used. I think you decided to get personal when you realised you didn’t have an effective retort. Anyway no worries.

            I think it’s important to separate out the trust (as you rightly say), corporate governance , methods of paying, politicisation etc with Irish water from what’s wrong with the network.

            Bleat on about the former, id agree with most of what you have to say , but , the latter, what annoys me on here is people coming out with points about the network (i.e no leaks are being fixed) when it’s obvious they haven’t got a fu@&ing clue what they are talking about. I simply corrected your inaccuracy and tried to be helpful by talking about some issues in water services leakage management.

            Btw where do you work??

          4. some old queen

            @ Steve

            I did not get personal but you sir presented yourself as a spin merchant. You stated that Irish Water was in control of operations and work when all they did was set up a call centre to route the reported public issues through to the LA’s. That is not being in control of operations and work, that is spin.

            You may be happy with working with Irish water but I am pretty dammed sure there are plenty of other professionals within LA’s who are not. They have been starved of funding for decades and now the inference is that they are incompetent? No wonder.

            You say leaks are being fixed. You say Irish water is responsible for the identification and fixing of these leaks. Outside of the 2% from meters, what difference has Irish water made to the failings of the network?

          5. some old queen

            @ ReproBertie. I pretty certain in my expectations that there is a number of Irish Water employees who have not and will not pay this charge.

  11. Drogg

    I know these are some very serious issues we need to discuss but to bring the tone down a bit, is it just me or does his head look like a giant potato?

  12. Sheik Yahbouti

    That guy actually creeps me out. Although very different both he and Harris have that odour of incence about them. You know, the kind of chaps who would rack you and tear your flesh with red hot pincers – for the good of your soul.

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