The ongoing saga in relation to water charges is now coming to a conclusion.
Much has been written and much has been spoken about water, the cost of water, water waste, leaks and how best to deal with water charges.
Some commentators and politicians have claimed they are experts in the area of water.
Through all this debate very little has been said about the real experts when it comes to water.
These experts are the volunteers up and down this country who took on the task of creating Group Water Schemes.
These people who spent years raising the necessary money to develop the schemes, they gave of their time freely to give leadership in their community.
They provide potable water for thousands of homes in rural Ireland.
They bought communities together to take ownership of the schemes.
In turn the members of each scheme paid for the water and were glad to do so.
We now have decided that people should not have to pay for water.
This decision has been made to give those people on public water supplies free water.
I understand that the Minister is to restore the operational grant back to its original levels and to retrospectively pay this to the Group Schemes.
However, in order for us to have equality, we need to address how those people on Group Water Schemes are to be treated.
I welcome the Ministers commitment to address this issue in order that we treat all our citizens equally.
In my constituency of Galway East, we have many people who rely on the Group Water Schemes for their water supply.
We need to give full recognition to those people who have paid for water all their lives.
If water is to be paid for out of general taxation nobody should pay twice.
Since the Group Water Schemes were first brought in being there have been many additional challenges, new regulations, new standards and additional responsibility.
I want to put it on the record of the house my sincere thanks to all those volunteers who worked diligently and quietly on behalf of this country.
I am aware following my representations to the Minister that these people will be respected.
I understand that the Minister will ensure that the people on Group Water Schemes will be treated equally and I look forward to his proposals in this regard.