Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said a Standing Charge for households sought by Irish Water was unacceptable and asked the Taoiseach to tell the Dáil when people would have a clear idea about how much they will have to pay in water charges.
Saying that ever-escalating costs at Irish Water completely undermined the claims by Minister Phil Hogan that Irish Water would lead to savings of €2 billion for the taxpayer, he added that it was clear that Water Charges were a prelude to the privatisation of what should be a public service.
Speaking during Leaders Questions in the Dail Mr Adams has said Irish Water was seeking to impose a standing charge of one-third of its water bill, just for supplying water to the taps in citizens’ homes.
“This rate of 33% for a standing charge is very high compared to charges in other states, some of which have a rate as low as 10%.
“What is now very obvious, and what this development underlines, is that despite all the propaganda from the Government on the issue, the introduction of water charges is entirely a revenue raising exercise - a new tax, and nothing less.
Householders will have seen estimates that the average water bill is expected to be around €300 per year.
That is €300 on top of all the other taxes and charges faced by struggling families in this state.
These are struggling families who have already been deeply angered at the fact that Irish Water gave €85 million of their money to consultants.
“Citizens have been told from the start by your Government that for reasons of water conservation, most of the water bill should be based on the amount of water used as this is an incentive to control water use.
“But the higher the standing charge, the worse for water conservation, and the worse for the householder.
He said the Standing Charge sought by Irish Water was unacceptable and asked the Taoiseach to tell the Dáil when householders will have a clear idea about how much they will have to pay in water charges.”
Mr Adams said Sinn Féin had consistently and resolutely opposed the introduction of water metering and domestic water charges and had blocked such charges in the North.
“From an initial claim that Irish Water would lead to savings to the taxpayer, citizens have watched as the costs of establishing the company have escalated and the likely costs for householders has increased to alarming levels.
“No evidence whatsoever has been provided to show that the problems with water supply in this state, including wastage, could not have been better addressed by retaining responsibility for the service in the hands of democratically elected local authorities”
The Sinn Féin Leader said the ever-escalating costs of Irish Water have completely undermined the claims of Minister for Environment and Local Government Phil Hogan that Irish Water would lead to savings of €2 billion for the taxpayer.
He said that although the government has repeatedly denied it, this was all a prelude to the privatisation of what should be a public service.