Tuesday 20 February 2018

Varadkar insists wasters will have to pay up

Paul Murphy says two out of five homes do not have a meter. Picture: Collins
Paul Murphy says two out of five homes do not have a meter. Picture: Collins

Cormac McQuinn and Alan O'Keeffe

Two out of five homes do not have water meters - which will make charges for excessive usage "unworkable", it has been claimed.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar insisted yesterday a payment system to hit water wasters would be introduced, saying "the detail of all of that will be in the legislation".

But TD Paul Murphy said reports of new water charges in July 2019 will concern people who thought water charges had gone away forever, after a movement of non-payment and protest.

"The political consequence of that was the election of a Dáil made up of a majority of TDs who promised to abolish water charges and Irish Water," he said.

"Another important obstacle is the absence of water meters in many working class communities across the country due to that protest movement. Two out of five homes do not have meters.

"The Government has conceded that, on the one hand, they cannot implement this charge without water meters, and on the other, that they will not attempt to introduce new meters in existing homes.

"That means this charge can be simply made unworkable."

He added that Fianna Fáil will have broken its election promise if it agrees to the proposals.

However, the Taoiseach said: "What is intended is to only levy water charges on households who are wasting water or not repairing leaks that should be repaired.

"So roughly 9pc of households in the country use more than 30pc of the water and they're the ones who are wasting the water and we need to do something about that.

"What we're going to do is monitor people's use through metering over the course of next year, give people six months notice to stop wasting water, to conserve, to repair any leaks that they may have, and only if they do not do so after six months notice will they have water charges imposed on them."

Irish Independent

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