charges minister former labour water kathleen lynch
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Former Labour minister of state Kathleen Lynch warned her party colleagues against introducing water charges, saying it could lead to a major backlash from the electorate.
Ms Lynch, who lost her seat in Cork North Central to Cllr Mick Barry of the Anti-Austerity Alliance, said she had pleaded with Labour Party colleagues not to introduce the charges.
“I pleaded that it wouldn’t happen because I knew because of where I come from and the background I come from, I knew that it would be the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she said.
Ms Lynch told TV3 News that water charges were a catalyst in the general election which saw Labour lose some 30 seats in the general election with only seven of the party’s TDs being re-elected.
“There are some things that you know are wrong and some things you know will have an impact that you don’t want it to have – that’s where I was in relation to water charges, but I wasn’t listened to.”
Speaking to The Irish Times, Ms Lynch said that she was not opposed to people paying for water charges but she believed the introduction of water charges two years ago was a mistake.
“I wasn’t saying that we shouldn’t charge for water, but I said I believed it was a bad idea at that time and I raised it with the Minister for Public Expenditure, Brendan Howlin, ” she said.
“This happened about two years ago and I said we should not go with water charges at that point on top of everything else, but we should wait until people’s incomes had recovered.”
Cllr Mick Barry who took the second seat in Cork North Central, with Ms Lynch losing out for the last seat to Fine Gael’s Dara Murphy, identified water charges as a major factor in his election.
Mr Barry said his involvement in campaigning against household charges, the local property tax and in particular water charges was central to his election in the four seat constituency.