Monday 20 November 2017

Paul Melia: Europe will ultimately decide if charges are gone for good

'Who doesn’t want clean and safe drinking water, and beaches where we can swim?' Photo: James Connolly
'Who doesn’t want clean and safe drinking water, and beaches where we can swim?' Photo: James Connolly
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Six years after Ireland agreed to introduce water charges and we're back to square one. We still don't know how to fund upgrades and day-to-day operations. We have yet to discover exactly how much water we consume on a daily basis and all the time we continue to discharge raw sewage into our bathing waters.

It's a pretty shoddy return after spending millions of euro creating a national utility to operate the network, and employing a regulator who was repeatedly barred from getting on with its job due to u-turns and changes in policy from the Fine Gael/Labour coalition.

And the report of the Expert Commission points out as much. It helpfully gives a potted history of what happened since 2010, the year Fianna Fáil and the Green Party agreed to a bailout and the introduction of charges.

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