Joe Behan - Independent Councillor - Wicklow County Council

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Water Charges Alive and Kicking

Archive Statements > 2017 - April-June

Irish Water and Water Charges are Alive and Kicking
13th April 2017

The people have been sold a lie in the past weeks when they were told that water charges were being abolished. They are not.

The deal agreed by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil allows for the continued imposition of charges once a certain amount of water has been used. It also provides for mandatory installation of water meters in all new houses in the country. There is also no agreement between the two parties on how money already paid by customers will be refunded and when.

It is stated that the charges will only kick in after a household uses 1.7 times the average daily amount. However, this measure will punish and penalise larger families and those people with medical conditions which require the use of large amounts of water. The Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil deal mentions some allowances for large families and those with medical conditions. However, the reality is that large families and ill people will have to beg for these allowances and there is no guarantee that they will succeed. This is discrimination pure and simple and should be condemned by all fair minded people.

I further believe that the FF/FG deal keeps the door open to a gradual reduction over time in the maximum daily use figure and a gradual demand for payment for more and more households. Many people remember the reduction in car tax to £5 in 1977 which increased dramatically within a few short years. This is what happens when a charge remains in existence legally and no doubt it will happen again with water charges.

Furthermore, what happened to the promise to abolish Irish Water? A clear majority in the Dáil were elected to get rid of Irish Water but sadly, after a whole year of bluff and bluster, we see that this bureaucratic monster has also been established as a permanent fixture. The news that senior management in Irish Water have recently been awarded bonuses of at least €5,000 per annum adds insult to injury. This equals what many people have to live on for a whole year and shows the warped sense of priorities this Government has. Instead of spending money on fixing leaky pipes, scarce resources are being used to boost the generous income of Irish Water management.

The reality is that despite all the promises, we are stuck with water charges and Irish Water. The Government and main Opposition party have combined forces, yet again, to deliver a double whammy to the people of this country.

Cllr. Joe Behan


Serving the people of County Wicklow since 1985 |

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