Sunday 4 December 2016

Households who paid their water bills could be refunded

Niall O'Connor and Kevin Doyle

Published 30/11/2016 | 20:43

Finance minister Michael Noonan. Photo: Tom Burke
Finance minister Michael Noonan. Photo: Tom Burke

Fine Gael TDs have demanded refunds for those who have paid their water bills.

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Finance Minister Michael Noonan told his party that tax revenues for November are €280m ahead of target - raising the prospect that refunds could be paid.

The issue of water dominated Wednesday's meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, which saw several TDs make impassioned pleas for refunds.

At one point, junior minister Catherine Byrne was said to have become close to tears as she demanded that refunds be paid.

Her Fine Gael colleague, Dublin Fingal Alan Farrell, warned the party will lose votes if it does not issue refunds.

He said the exchequer returns are €280m ahead of target and that the economy is going well.

But Mr Noonan warned that he does not want to see the issue of water become an election issue.

Cork South West TD Jim Daly said the report was like an "aeroplane" and had "exit routes" for everyone.

TDs leaned heavily towards issuing refunds in a move could force Fine Gael to review its policy entirely.

Senator Jerry Buttimer told the meeting that pursuing those who haven't paid won't work.

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