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No surprises in water commission report but water charges must still go- Eoin Ó Broin TD

29 November, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on water Eoin Ó Broin TD has said there are no surprises in the recommendations of the expert water commission report published this evening. While welcoming some of the report’s recommendations the Dublin Mid-West TD rejected the proposal for a charge on so called ‘excessive’ waster describing it as ‘the thin edge of the wedge for across the board charges’.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“I welcome the reports call for a constitutional protection for the public ownership of water. I also welcome the Commission’s recognition that the best way to pay for general domestic water usage is through general taxation.

“The report also rightly recommends parity and fairness for those in group water schemes and those who have already paid their water charges. In Sinn Féin’s view this would be no domestic charges for those on group water schemes and refunds for those who have paid water charges to date.

“However Sinn Fein does not support the Commission proposal of a tariff for so called ‘excessive’ usage. This would be the thin edge of the wedge for across the board water charges in the future.

“Given their track record on domestic waste charges how could anyone trust Fianna Fail or Fine Gael not to increaser water charge in the future.

“The report also acknowledges that determining what is ‘excessive’ water usage would extremely difficult to calculate. I also suspect that the cost of administering and enforcing such a scheme would be greater than the revenue it would generate.

“The report did not have much to say on future investment in water and sanitation infrastructure and on the issue of conservation.  

“Sinn Féin believe that the best way of reducing waste would be for Government to proactively promote water conservation technologies for new builds and to provide financial support or tax incentives for retro fitting public and private buildings.  This should all be done alongside a comprehensive education campaign.

“I look forward to participating, along with my colleague Deputy Jonathan O'Brien, in the special Oireachtas committee on the future of water charges. However, nothing in this report changes our core view that domestic water charges should be abolished.”

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