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Carthy tells European Parliament - "Irish Water Charges will be defeated"

12 January, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Speaking during topical speeches in the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg this evening Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, told the chamber that the Irish people had suffered enough hardship as a result of stealth charges and taxes. He predicted that the water charges in Ireland would be defeated.

Mr. Carthy said: "In order to force the Irish people to pay 43% of the cost of the European banking crisis Dublin governments have introduced several new stealth taxes and charges that have caused devastation and hardship to many families.

"These taxes have not led to improved services; they have each been unfair and have targeted those on lower incomes disproportionately.

"Well, now the Irish people have had enough. In their tens and hundreds of thousands, Irish communities have joined together and marched against the latest tax on their families.

"The Irish government calls it a water charge - the Irish people see it for what it is - another tax that, if introduced, will put many people over the edge and will further hamper our domestic economies.

“That, under pressure, the government has now introduced temporary caps prove that this charge has nothing to do with water conservation but is just another attack on Irish families' incomes.

"I want to take this opportunity to declare in the European Parliament, as it has been declared on streets of every Irish town - the water tax will be defeated and a new economic policy based on fairness and prosperity and against the austerity agenda will follow.”

Speaking after the plenary speeches, Carthy said that he believes that the proposed water charges scheme is not in keeping with the provisions of the EU Water Framework Directive and that he is awaiting responses from the European Commission on the issue.

“Article 9 of the European Water Framework Directive clearly states that any scheme for the recovery of water services costs must be based on the polluter pays principle and must contain an incentive for water conservation.

“The model proposed by the Irish Government - which introduces universal caps and grants not linked to water usage - undermines the environmental and water conservation principles which underpin the Directive.

“I have submitted a number of questions to the European Commission on this matter and I look forward to receiving their response in the very near future.”

“Sinn Féin remains opposed to the introduction of water charges, particularly as it is nothing other than a revenue raising exercise which will result in little to no investment in our water infrastructure, and we will continue to campaign against them in every forum available until they are successfully defeated.”

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