24 January 2014 No Comments by The Northern Standard

The contention generated by the new Irish Water utility reached a new boiling point among the members of Monaghan Co Council on Monday – leading to the venting of a great deal of verbal steam which spread out to include not just the vexed question of future water charges but also the loss of powers and responsibilities by local authorities, the Central Remedial Clinic pensions controversy and “laughing yoga” courses, among other topics.

The blue touch paper for the strong opinions expressed in the debate came in the form of a lengthy legal opinion from junior counsel over whether there were grounds for a legal challenge to Irish Water regarding the validity of their takeover of the water and sewerage infrastructure from the country’s local authorities.

Circulated at what was the Council’s adjourned budget meeting, the opinion indicated that the transfer of assets was in conformity with the relevant legislation, a finding that prompted Fine Gael’s Hugh McElvaney to opine that the cost of the legal advice – €1,018 including VAT – “could have been better spent somewhere else.”

Sinn Féin councillor Matt Carthy, who had proposed that the legal opinion be sought, said he would refute the suggestion that this was money badly spent. “Since we met last we have …

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