Are Irish restaurants about to charge for tap water?
An increase in water charges would mean that the cost would have to be passed onto the consumer, according to a leading expert in the restaurant industry.
Speaking to Independent.ie, the CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins, said that the organisation believes that there is an imminent increase in water charges for businesses.
"The word we are getting is that water charges are going to go up when they start to look at the cost of providing water to businesses which we are not happy about".
He explained that there are "fifty or sixty" different rates for Water Charges, and that the Restaurants Association of Ireland believe the Government "want to bring everything across the country in line" to the one charge.
"They want to bring them all up to the highest rate... we want to bring them down to the lowest".
If the charges are levelled across the country at the highest rate, Cummins says, the cost will have to be passed onto the consumer.
"Part of our industry is that we need a lot of water to function... any potential cost increase will have to be passed onto the customer".
Cummins' clarified that while businesses were "already paying" for water, these water charges are "on top of that".
"Commercial rates are one element.. then water charges on top, then outdoors heating charges, which is essentially a chair tax... it all adds up".
He told Independent.ie that the organisation are seeing a worrying trend across the board.
"The cost of doing business is rising faster than the economic upturn... if your growth is 5%, your cost is normally double. That's what we've been seeing (around the country)".