Monday 18 December 2017

Water charges: Homeowners to learn bill amounts by May

Daniel McConnell, Political Correspondent

HOMEOWNERS will know how much they can expect to pay in water charges before the end of May, the Dail has heard.

Previous estimates suggest that homeowners would face average bills of up to €300 a year, but at Leaders' Questions, Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed that the business plan, which will include the "average charge per household", will be published before the local elections on May 23.

He rejected claims from Fianna Fáil leader, Micheal Martin, that the Government was "sitting" on the report until after the elections, to avoid any potential backlash from the public.

Mr Martin said the Government had had 18 months since Irish Water was established, but had failed to deliver "even basic information".

Mr Kenny said that the development of the plan is "not an easy thing to do" but the published plan will confirm the expected average charge, as well as the level of subvention Government will pay  to Irish Water.

Mr Kenny also rejected calls from Independent TD Seamus Healy to sack Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

Mr Healy attacked what he called the "ripping off" of the Irish people, referring to "Vulture Capitalist" Wilbur Ross' share sell off at Bank of Ireland, in which he made substantial profits.

He said because of Government policy of making it a pillar bank, the shares in Band of Ireland were guaranteed to rise, and Mr Ross has made a €2bn profit.

He said this fire sale policy has cost the taxpayer €2.7bn.

Mr Healy rose a separate share sell-off last December said because of Mr Noonan's failure, the taxpayer has suffered losses of €425 million because shares were sold too cheaply.

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