Saturday 21 April 2018

We must stop playing protest politics with water charges

Labour Party TD Willie Penrose Photo: Tom Burke
Labour Party TD Willie Penrose Photo: Tom Burke

Jan O'Sullivan

A year on from the last election, the issue of water charges continues to cause division and bitter debate in Leinster House. But in truth, there is little left for us to be arguing over. If Fianna Fáil could decide where they stand, we could end this.

Last May, the Labour Party published a Bill that would have provided refunds to those who had paid their water charges. We believed then, as we believe now, that those who obey the law cannot be left worse off than those who don't.

In a separate piece of legislation that we also published in May 2016, we proposed that there should be a referendum to enshrine public ownership of public water supply and waste water treatment infrastructure in our constitution. This was designed to get us past the real concerns of people that Irish Water would be sold off in the future.

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