Irish Water faces 'logistical nightmare' over refunds
Irish Water is facing a logistical nightmare to meet the Taoiseach's target of ensuring almost one million households get their charges refunded by the end of the year.
Leo Varadkar has said the process of repaying families up to €325 will kick-start in the autumn. The €170m needed for refunds will be taken from 2017 resources and will not impact on Budget 2018.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has been charged with overseeing the plan along with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, who has sought approval from the European Commission to make the one-off payment.
A spokesperson for Irish Water said: "Any decision in relation to refunds to domestic customers is a matter of Government policy. We will work with the Department of Housing, Community and Local Government to implement any change in Government policy once a decision is made."
However, sources say it will be difficult to get all the money paid back. Just 15pc of households paid by direct debit, while it is unclear how Irish Water will deal with cases where a customer has died.
In an interview with the 'Sunday Independent', Mr Varadkar said: "I anticipate that everybody will have their money back before the end of the year.
"Or almost everybody, I imagine there'll be somebody we can't find for some reason or who has left the country."