Saturday 16 December 2017

Water bill payers should be refunded through tax credit - Fianna Fáil

Fianna Fáil environment spokesman Barry Cowen. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Fianna Fáil environment spokesman Barry Cowen. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

A new Fianna Fáil document on water charges suggests that bill payers should be refunded through a tax credit.

The document, entitled  'A fairer Way to a sustainable water infrastructure in the 21st century', was circulated to TDs and senators at lunchtime on Monday.

It was submitted to the new expert commission on water charges which is due to sit in the coming weeks.

The document, a copy of which has been obtained by, says all overdue bills are a "legal charge and should be paid".

Significantly, the party indicates that it is in favour of refunding those who have already paid their bills. This has been a contentious issue within political circles for many months.

"The expert water commission should provide examples of mechanisms to refund bill payers such as through a tax credit or give a clear outline of the feasibility of pursuing non-payment based on international best practise examples," the document says.

"The best method of what will happen to non-payers must be fully addressed by the Dáil committee."

Signed by the party's Environment spokesperson Barry Cowen, the submission says charges should be "ended and the revenue loss compensated by an increase in the exchequer subvention."

 "Irish Water should remain solely in public ownership," the party says.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said on Monday that Fianna Fáil's position on water charges represents a u-turn.

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