The poor will have just a trickle of water warns Stanley
Sinn Féin spokesperson on environment, community and local government, Brian Stanley TD, has today warned that: “Government proposals will have the poor reduced to a trickle of water.”
Responding to reports that the government has agreed new legislation that allows Irish Water to reduce water pressure to people’s homes, Brian Stanley said:
“The government’s Water Services (2) Bill allows for water pressure to be reduced to a trickle to householders who fail to pay their water rates. This is unacceptable. Water is a basic human right. To threaten families with reducing their water is bullyboy tactics. In a cynical move, the government are holding off on issuing bills till 2015, after next year’s local elections.
“We also understand that this Bill will transfer all water service assets from local authorities to Irish Water at no cost to Irish Water. This is despite the public having paid for these assets in their taxes. This asset stripping is setting the scene for the full privatisation of water.
“At a time when families are struggling they will be hit with another bill. In Denmark with a population similar to our own, water metering is in place and in 2007 the average cost was €715 per household. The current proposal to install water meters and charge household for water was dreamt up by Fianna Fail, and brought to life by Fine Gael and supported by the Labour Party.
“Sinn Féin supports the introduction of district metering as opposed to installing domestic water meters in every household. It is cheaper, more effective and already operates in successfully in Laois.
“Water charges will mean the public pay three times for the water they drink. Firstly in their general taxes, secondly through this new charge and finally they will pay through the National Pension Reserve Fund which is being used to fund the installation of water meters. Local Authority Professional Officers have given estimates of €1.2 billion to cover the cost of the installation. It is ordinary householders will be footing the bill.
“Sinn Féin is committed to opposing the installation of domestic water meters and the introduction of domestic water charges. We will continue to work with trade unions and residents to derail this process.”