€280,000 budget for 20-member water charges committee
The expert commission on water charges - which is set to deliver its report by the end of the month - has been given a budget of €280,000.
Housing and Planning Minister Simon Coveney disclosed the details during questions in the Dáil.
The commission's recommendations will be examined by a 20-strong Oireachtas committee, the composition of which was agreed by TDs and senators yesterday.
The committee will be made up of five Government TDs, four Fianna Fáil TDs, two Sinn Féin TDs, and five members of smaller parties or Independents.
Four senators will also be on the committee, which is set to sit for three months. One of these will be from Fine Gael, one from Fianna Fáil and two others due to be selected by the Seanad itself.
Members of the commission are due to be paid €3,000 each, while chairman Kevin Duffy is being paid €7,500. Mr Duffy is also the chairman of the Public Sector Pay Commission.
Sources in both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil said the composition of the committee was the subject of tenions in recent days.
Fianna Fáil's delegation on the committee will be led by the party's Housing spokesperson Barry Cowen.
Mr Coveney has already asked Fine Gael TDs to indicat e to him if they are interested in being on the committee.
It is widely expected within political circles that the commission will recommend the re-introduction of charges.
However, some sources say this may not take place until a period expires during which the country's water infrastructure can be brought up to scratch.