Deal to put Irish Water charges before the Dail opens door to Enda’s minority government…

If Fianna Fail have the deal I think they have, then they are quids in for supporting Enda Kenny at the head of a minority Fine Gael led government.

Putting the contentious matter out to a commission of experts brought some levity from pol corrs who remember the FF leader’s reputation for long fingering tough decisions when he was Minister of Health.

But this commission serves Mr Martin’s stated political interests (and a majority of current Dail parties) in a very particular way. Fiach Kelly, Sarah Bardon, Pat Leahy in the Irish Times:

While initially hostile to a compromise that involved a lengthy suspension of charges, Fine Gael backbenchers softened their positions as many realised a failure to reach a deal would cause an election.

The emerging deal would see a commission of experts established to examine issues surrounding water charges, such as alternative charging systems. Irish Water, as an entity, would not be referred to the commission.

The outcome of the commission would then be referred to an Oireachtas committee. The committee’s findings would then be voted on by the Dáil, as had been proposed by Fianna Fáil, meaning the future of charges would have to decided on the floor of the House. It is understood there is a chance this could happen within one year.

Mr Martin has argued that the majority of TDs in the current Dáil favour the abolition or suspension of water charges.

The spread of responsibility (beyond FF and FG) to find a workable solution to the political quagmire Irish Water has become, this deal has the potential to de-toxify the issue and put in place the workable technocratic solutions necessary to end a long crisis?

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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