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Water charges will be delayed says Noonan

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Finance Minister Michael Noonan

Finance Minister Michael Noonan

Steve Humphreys

Finance Minister Michael Noonan

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan said water charges may not be introduced until the latter half of 2014 or even the following year.

Speaking at Dell's plant in Limerick today, Mr Noonan said discussions with the Troika and the pace of how long it takes to roll out the metering system will determine when people are charged for water usage.

"What is at issue is the timing of the introduction of the water charges.

"We thought that water charges would come in from January 1, 2014 but the progress of the roll out of the metering is a little slower than anticipated.

"As the Tanaiste said we will not be introducing water charges from January 1, 2014 but Brendan Howlin and myself will have to discuss with the Troika what the date of introduction will be.

"Whether that date will be at the back end of 2014 or whether it would extend into 2015, we are not quite sure yet.

"It depends first of all on the attitude of the Troika, but it also depends on the pace of the roll out of the metering by the new water board," Mr Noonan said.

Asked whether an introductory flat rate for water could be introduced, Mr Noonan said discussions with the Troika have yet to conclude on the issue.

"We are still involved on negotiating the detail. I am not too sure what the Troika will bring to the table by way of proposals on their side.

"On the water charges issue, part of the bailout programme negotiated between the Fianna Fáil-Green government and the Troika involved the introduction of water charges.

"The present government agrees there should be water charges because water is a very scarce resource internationally and in Ireland.

"The best way of controlling its usage is by charging so there will be water charges.

Mr Noonan also said John Moran - secretary general of the department of finance - is doing an excellent job.

Mr Moran is being asked to explain correspondence between him and two controversial British billionaires, David and Frederick Barclay.

"John Moran is a very innovative secretary of the department of finance and he is doing an excellent job and will continue, as far as I'm concerned to carry out the functions of secretary general of the department of finance.

Asked if Mr Moran had acted properly, Mr Noonan replied "absolutely".

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