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Proposed water charges totally unjust

29 June, 2004

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Heritage and Local Government Arthur Morgan T.D. today slammed the suggestion by the Institution of Engineers of Ireland that domestic water charges should be introduced saying that "the less well off would inevitably suffer".

Deputy Morgan said:

"Sinn Féin is totally opposed to the introduction of domestic water charges as there is overwhelming evidence that the less well-off would inevitably suffer disproportionately as a result of such stealth taxes. People are already paying for services such as water, sewerage and refuse collection through the general taxation system, which is the proper system for raising revenue.

"Cash-strapped local authorities would no doubt embrace proposals such as the introduction of water charges merely because they are now underfunded to the extent that they are unable to provide proper levels of service. The solution is to reform the funding of local government - not the introduction of further inequitable service charges.

"The water charges advocated by the Institution of Engineers of Ireland are nothing to do with improving water quality - nor are they designed to protect resources. These are nothing more than unconvincing excuses to impose further taxation by stealth. Sinn Féin will continue to resist vigorously all attempts to introduce these unjust service charges." ENDS

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