Friday 24 March 2017

Mixed reaction to water proposal

Independent Alliance member John Halligan described Irish Water as a 'failed entity'. Photo: Collins Photos
Independent Alliance member John Halligan described Irish Water as a 'failed entity'. Photo: Collins Photos

Kevin Doyle and Wayne O'Connor

A merger of the property tax and household charges has received a lukewarm reaction from Independent TDs who have been negotiating with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil about the formation of a new government.

Independent Alliance member John Halligan described Irish Water as a "failed entity".

"I think Irish water is dead in the water," he said.

However, he said the merger of charges with the property tax is worth considering and sounded "reasonable".

Dublin Central TD Maureen O'Sullivan said she would need to see more detail about the proposed arrangement.

"I honestly don't know. I'm not totally sure that abolishing Irish Water is the answer. I don't know how much it would cost. It could be throwing good money after bad," she said.

Worried

However, Kerry Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae said he would be "very worried" about the proposal.

"I'd have grave concerns. It's not really the additional issue - it's trying to confuse people. To be honest it's political gobbledygook. It's a political way out."

Finian McGrath said the idea did not go far enough to satisfy him and he still believes charges should be scrapped altogether.

Meanwhile, Roscommon TD Michael Fitzmaurice questioned what would happen to people in rural areas on group water schemes. "I could see complications in it. It'll take a bit of teasing out," he said.

And support for the proposal, which is the norm in the UK and other European countries, is also building within Fine Gael.

Wicklow/East Carlow TD Andrew Doyle said he previously urged former environment minister Phil Hogan to pursue such an approach.

"I believed it could be done in a way to reflect the difference between houses with water and sewage," he said.

Irish Independent

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