Wednesday 28 September 2016

Water charges billpayers deserve to get a refund

Published 28/04/2016 | 02:30

'The cost of refunds is not the problem of bill-payers' (stock photo)
'The cost of refunds is not the problem of bill-payers' (stock photo)

If suspending water charges is the price of power, it can only be assumed that the 900,000 or more people who have paid part or all of a bill can expect to have their money refunded.

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These families, many in the hard-pressed category, have complied with the law and paid the charge. For this, they have been repeatedly thanked by the outgoing government for doing their bit to help fund the necessary upgrades.

But now it appears their money is no longer needed, as the charges will be suspended for the foreseeable future. While the commission tasked with determining how Irish Water's funding requirements will be met is expected to examine the issue of refunds, the question should be put to bed today.

The money should be returned to people's bank accounts, or sent by cheque, without delay. It is manifestly unfair that this money should be retained by the State, when those who refused to pay have seen no drop in their disposable income.

The cost of refunds is not the problem of bill-payers. As Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael appear intent on using central taxation to fund the network, they too can be blamed for the cost of returning money to Irish Water customers.

Irish Independent

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