Wednesday 13 November 2019

Leo Varadkar: People will get water charges refunds 'within weeks'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar Photo: PA
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar Photo: PA Newsdesk Newsdesk

Almost one million households will be given water charge refunds within weeks, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has promised.

Households can expect to receive up to €325 from Irish Water in an attempt by the Government to end the saga surrounding the utility.

Mr Varadkar, who made the promise in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Independent, suggests the €170m needed will not come from money allocated for Budget 2018, and said payments will start before the Budget is announced.

"They'll get their money back. They'll be refunded this autumn. We're gearing up to do that," he said.

"There's a cost. There are logistical issues as to how it's going to be done by Irish Water. And it may also require legislation. But we intent to do it in the autumn. It's not going to be a Budget announcement."

Mr Varadkar added that he anticipates everyone will be refunded "before the end of the year."

He also said that he intended to re-evaluate property tax to reduce dramatic increases from 2019, suggesting that he is inclined to give local authorities more flexibility to vary the tax.

Mr Varadkar also defended himself against accusations that his leadership so far had been "more style than substance," saying that he was aware that some commentators were critical, but added that he will be making "significant decision" on the Budget, Brexit and Northern Ireland in the second half of the year.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on the front of 'Time' magazine
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on the front of 'Time' magazine

"And then perhaps people will be talking about the good substance as well as style," he said.

Read the full interview in today's Sunday Independent.

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