Government threatens bully boy tactics on those who can’t pay water charges- Eoin Ó Broin
Sinn Féin Clondalkin Councillor Eoin Ó Broin has accused the Government of ‘using bully boy tactics with those who can’t pay water charges’. He has called on Labour Minister Alan Kelly to ‘rethink plans to force landlords and Councils to deduct unpaid water charges from people’s deposits and rents and to withdraw the threat of attachment orders for those who own their own homes.’
Cllr Ó Broin said:
‘Last week the Government announced their new package of water charge proposals. While they may have temporarily reduced the cost they have also increased the enforcement powers.
‘Government is now threatening those who simply cannot afford to pay. It is adopting heavy handed tactics which will put even greater stress on hard pressed families.
‘In a memo released last week the Department of Environment outlined the new bully boy tactics. People unable to pay the charge will be hit with an annual fine of between €30 and €60.
‘If they own their own home the full bill will be subject to an attachment order meaning that if their home is sold or passed on to a family member the full arrears will be deducted by the State.
‘If they live in private rental accommodation the Government is threatening to have landlords deduct the arrears from the tenant’s deposit.
‘If they are Council tenants the Government plans to place a legal obligation on the Council to recoup the water charges directly via rent increases and repay it to Irish Water.
‘These measures are completely unacceptable. They will further increase financial hardship on many who are already at risk of poverty. In the case of private rental and Council tenants it may also jeopardise their tenancy and result in homelessness.
‘If the Government think that they can end the protest movement with such heavy handed tactics then they should think again.
‘In every community people are mobilised against the water charges. People will have an opportunity to voice their opposition to the latest proposals from Government at the mass rally at Leinster House at 1pm on December 10.
‘Those of us who want to see the water charges scrapped need to ensure that December 10th is even bigger than the mass mobilisations in October and November. People power can see off the unjust water tax.’