Irish Water is "all bark now" says AAA TD Paul Murphy as bill defaulters wouldn't face jail until 2017
Irish Water is "all bark now” claims Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy as it emerges those who refuse to pay their water bills can not be brought to court until 2017.
New legislation published yesterday specifically rules out the previous threat of jail for anyone who refuses to pay the controversial charge.
“It takes the heat out of the Government and Irish Water because it proves their threats are all bark and no bite,” Mr Murphy told RTE’s Morning Ireland.
“Jailing those who refused to pay was the major stick they were planning to beat people with, now it will take two court cases before they can be threaten with that.
“And, really, just how many people can they take to court – not the hundreds of thousands who haven’t paid and wouldn’t pay.”
Under the Civil Debt (Procedures) Bill, anyone who owes more than €500 to services such as Irish Water can be forced to pay their debt through a salary or social welfare attachment order.
However, this can only be put in place after a court application, and after the debt reaches €500 – which means “no cases until 2017” said deputy Murphy, who pointed out that given the €260 annual water charge, it effectively bars any court cases until at least early 2017.
“[And] I’m quite confident we can defeat the water charges before any of these cases get to court,” he said.
“Even if we were to get to 2017 and the water charges remained, this bill wouldn’t threaten the campaign.
“It didn’t back in the 90s campaign against water charges, and it wouldn’t this time simply because they can’t take everyone to court for non-payment.”