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Tuesday 16 September 2014

'Extra charges make it difficult to pay the bills'

Michael Staines

Published 01/08/2014 | 02:30

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Caitriona Redmond with her two boys Eoin and Fionn
Water charges
Water charges

AFTER losing her job at the peak of the recession, faced with overwhelming bills, Caitriona Redmond and her family had to seriously adjust their household budget.

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Surviving solely on her husband John's income from his bus driving job, plus the governmental family income supplement, she penned a lifestyle book called, 'Wholesome: Feed your Family Well for Less'.

She runs an extremely tight ship when it comes to the household budget, feeding herself, her husband and three children – Rebecca (14) Eoin (5) and Fionn (2) – for €70 per week.

Now the 36-year-old is going to have to find an extra €278 a year for the new water charges – a prospect she said is filling her with dread.

"When you are on a low budget and you don't have a lot to spend on essentials like food for example, these extra charges make it increasingly difficult to pay bills," she said.

With grocery prices on the increase and a higher public service levy on energy bills due in September, Ms Redmond still can't say how she is going to cover the new charges for their home in Balbriggan, Co Dublin.

"Water charges aren't a lifestyle choice, they are a compulsory payment and there is no way of ducking out of it," she said.

Perspective

"None of it sounds particularly fair if I'm honest. I couldn't tell you how I'm going to make sure that it is paid but it just has to be so I have to find a way.

"I know we have to pay for water, it isn't free; but on the other hand if you put it into perspective with all the other charges and these taxes we are facing, it just feels increasingly difficult to make ends meet."

There are no governmental grants available for the installation of modern water conservation equipment in the home.

Ms Redmond said it is very important that these grants are introduced so that people can begin saving water rather than just paying for it.

"My biggest concern right now is my household expenses bill but long term we have to be able to invest in our water services and I do understand that," she said.

Irish Independent

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