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Hard-pressed families to be financially punished for neglect of water system by successive governments –Stanley

2 January, 2014 - by Brian Stanley TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community and Local Government, Brian Stanley TD has today said; "it is confirmed that householders will be financially punished for a leaking water system."

Responding to reports today that households will have to identify water leaks, Deputy Stanley said:

"Up to 40% of water is leaking out of pipes because consecutive governments have failed to upgrade an ageing and leaking water system. This is not the householders fault. It is outrageous that this government is forcing hard-pressed families to pay for the neglect of our water system by successive Fianna Fáil administrations.

"The government claim to be putting €30m aside for repairing water leaks. Households will only have a year to apply for financial assistance. This is a distraction from the critical and costly loss of water in the main system. The government should use the €500m set aside for installation water meters for upgrading the infrastructure and stopping leaks in the main water system.

"Sinn Féin welcomes Minister Hogan's comments that rain harvesting will be included in planning regulations. We have argued for this since the debate on Irish Water started. In our submission to the review of the water system we also called on the Minister to include dual flush systems in future planning regulations. This would reduce domestic water consumption by up to a third. Sinn Fein has also called for the expansion of district metering. This is far more cost effective than domestic metering and allows local authorities to identify and repair leaks quickly. It is already in place in some local authorities and should be expanded without delay.

"It is clear that the establishment of Irish Water has nothing to do with water conservation and everything to do with forcing households to pay for an essential service."

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