Water conservation grant in serious doubt as draft EU report dubs it an exchequer transfer
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the government’s plan on water charges is now in serious doubt following a report in the Irish Times this morning that the EU Commission has said the so called “Water Conservation Grant” amounts to “an Exchequer transfer to Irish Water”.
He said the €100 grant to each household could now unravel as he predicted when the plan was announced.
Deputy Doherty said:
“It was unbelievably arrogant or naïve of the government to expect the EU Commission to see the so called water conservation grant as anything other than an exchequer transfer.
“Calling it a water conservation grant was only likely to deepen the bureaucrats’ suspicions.
“In December last year I raised this precise issue during the debate on the new water regime.
“The whole revised package is now in serious doubt.
“If the government’s plans fail the market corporation in test in April, I believe that the government will then move to get rid of the water conservation grant altogether while pressing ahead with full water charges.
“The whole issue of Water Charges will not go away. The government can still abandon the concept of charging people for the water they drink and instead look at alternative models.
“I suspect the EU Commission’s concerns go even deeper than the grant. The message to Brussels should be that the Irish people have rejected water charges and that no tweaking of an accounting trick can change that.”