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Water poverty will be the next social crisis – Ó Snodaigh

3 May, 2011 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Responding to reports that a flat rate charge for water is to be introduced by the government, Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD who is the Spokesperson for the No Water Charges Campaign said that families cannot afford a further domestic bill and water poverty will be the next social crisis.

Mr. Ó Snodaigh said

"Domestic water charges were abolished in 1996 for a good reason. A flat rate charge for water is simply a tax by a different name. It is regressive in the extreme. It serves no environmental purpose and it will be resisted as it was in the early '90s.

"Both government parties were elected on a promise that they would not introduce a flat charge for water. Both parties said that a flat rate charge would be unfair. Not only is it unfair it is also unaffordable. The fact that 150,000 households are behind on their ESB Bills is evidence that families simply cannot afford another utility bill. If water charges are introduced the 'energy poor' will shortly be 'water poor' as well.

"Nor should metered charges be introduced. The government plan to install meters in every household at a cost of €1 billion by borrowing €500 million from the national pension reserve fund. It would take between 20 and 33 years for a return to be made on this investment. The water distribution network should be the priority focus rather than household meters or charges. Investment in active leak management and mains rehabilitation would more than pay for itself and indeed quickly generate savings."

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