Tuesday 23 January 2018

Tanaiste: €248 water charge will be “very difficult” for households

Gilmore not ruling out lowering the charge

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has said the €248 average water charge will be “very difficult” for a lot of households.

The Labour Party leader did not rule out lowering the proposed charge when asked about reducing the bill for an average home.

Mr Gilmore said the Government will also have to address the situation facing households which will not have metering systems installed by the end of the year.

The Irish Independent revealed Environment Minister Phil Hogan proposed that a family of four would pay €248 a year when the new water charges come into place.

However, the Labour Party refused to sign off on the arrangement when it was brought before Cabinet.

Speaking at the launch of a social housing initiative, Mr Gilmore said the Government will have to address the circumstances of families for whom a bill of that amount will be “very difficult”.

“We have to address the ability to pay issues and we will address that,” he said.

“It’s a very big bill for families that are on low incomes, particularly pensioners.”

The lack of water meters in the majority of homes was also an issue the Tánaiste said needed to be discussed before his party could agree on water charges.

“The plan was we would have a water charge regime based on a metered system,” he said.

“We now know by the end of the year about three out of every four dwellings won’t be metered so we have to address that issue before we can settle on the level of what charges.”

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