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Stanley claims Debt Bill is sign of desperation on water charges

3 July, 2015 - by Brian Stanley TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Environment Brian Stanley TD has claimed that the introduction by the Government of legislation to allow unpaid water charges to be taken from peoples earnings is a sign of desperation. He was speaking during a debate on the Civil Debt Bill which allows unpaid debts of between €500 and €4000 to be attached to a person’s wages or social welfare payment.

Deputy Stanley said:

“The one clear objective of this Bill is to frighten people into paying their water charges as Irish Water, along with other creditors as defined under the legislation, would be able to seek an attachment order for bills owed over €500. It is a clear indication that the Government is acting out of desperation.

“Neither Minister Kelly nor Irish Water will say how many people have paid their bills.  We can only assume that that is because the numbers who have paid and indeed registered is well below what they forecast, and well below what would be required if Irish Water is to become financially viable under the current pricing structure.

“As things stand, what they will take in this year’s water charges may not even be enough to cover the cost of collecting the money, let alone all the other consultancy and legal costs built up by Irish Water since it was established. And that is on top of the huge amount of money that Irish Water has been given from the Exchequer including almost €600 million in motor taxation that ought to be going to pay for road repairs and to local authorities whose overall budgets have been drastically reduced in the last five years.

“It is also a cynical move on the part of the Government and an admission that a huge proportion of the population has to be bullied and cajoled into paying what is clearly, even on the part of those who feel that they have no choice to pay, an unpopular measure.” 

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