Opposition TDs stage walkout of 'sham debate' on water Bill

Almost all Opposition TDs have walked out of the Dáil after refusing to take part in the passage of the Water Services Bill.

The Government wants to push the legislation through by this evening, and the Opposition say that only a few hours have been allowed for debate.

Earlier during the debate, Independent TD Luke 'Ming' Flanagan produced a jar of what he described as "glorified piss" to Minister Fergus O'Dowd.

When the Government refused to allow for more time for the legislation to be passed, the Opposition led a walkout and held a joint press conference on the plinth.

"It's with great regret that we took a decision this morning to leave the House, and abandon what as, in essence, a sham debate in relation to the Water Services Bill," said Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

Sinn Fein's Caoimghín O'Caoláin said: "What's happening inside in the Dáil chamber at this moment in time represents an undermining of our roles and responsibilities as democratically elected representatives of the people."

Former Labour TD Roisín Shortall said: "What the Government is at is actually preparing the water services for privatisation down the road."

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