Thursday 22 February 2018

Now €100 water grant is in doubt

■ 340 water projects at risk ■ Subsidies for low incomes

Fine Gael is insisting water charges will neither be abandoned nor suspended. (stock photo)
Fine Gael is insisting water charges will neither be abandoned nor suspended. (stock photo)

Kevin Doyle and Paul Melia

The €100 water grant is now in doubt - as water charges are set to stay in place.

In the latest farcical water charges development, homeowners who have obeyed the law to pay their bills now face the prospect of paying even more next year.

Fianna Fáil had made scrapping water charges a key demand for supporting a government.

The resulting speculation over the future of charges prompted thousands of householders to cancel their water bill payments.

But now Fine Gael is insisting water charges will neither be abandoned nor suspended.

A compromise being examined is a new subsidy for pensioners and people on social welfare who have fixed incomes.

However, the future of the €100 water conservation grant, which was paid to 900,000 homeowners, is now up in the air. The payment has not been agreed for this year - or funding allocated.

But the backlash from billpayers continues. Irish Rural Link's Seamus Boland told the Irish Independent that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael were treating people who obey the law in a "cavalier way".

Meanwhile, the funding of 340 vital water and sewerage projects across the country, planned for upgrade by Irish Water, is also now at risk.

Irish Independent

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