Government criticised over water bill delay
The chairman of the Oireachtas Water Committee has voiced serious concern after it emerged the legislation that underpins the new charging regime has been delayed until the autumn.
Independent senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh last night said he is both "disappointed" and "surprised" that the Dáil has been unable to debate the new package before the summer recess as planned.
Mr Ó Céidigh backed a call from Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen for the bill to be prioritised.
While insisting that the legislation should not be rushed through without a proper debate, Mr Ó Céidigh said the delay means that plans to refund householders who have paid their bills to Irish Water are now unclear.
"The committee dealt with a huge body of work over a number of months. My understanding was that the plan was 'full steam ahead'," the Galway senator said.
"Quite frankly, I'm surprised and disappointed that there appears to be a delay and I don't think we fully know why that is," he added.
Government sources confirmed that the bill is now likely to be voted upon in the autumn due to the logjam of legislation facing the Oireachtas.