Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Think twice before non-payment of Water Charges

5 February, 2007

Sinn Féin Assembly Election candidate Raymond McCartney and Party spokesperson on Regional Development clearly outlined his Party's position over non-payment of the controversial water charging system due to come into effect in April of this year.

Mr. McCartney has made his remarks so that the most vulnerable in our society would not be misled over non-payment of the charges.

Mr. McCartney said:

"Sinn Féin remains totally opposed to the planned 'phasing in' of a separate charge for water and sewerage services. We also believe that an essential public service such as the Water Service is something we all need to protect and retain."

The Sinn Féin spokesperson, who represented the Party on the Programme for Government Committee Sub Group examining Rates and Water Reform, made an
explicit call to households, particularly low-income homes, who will be hardest hit if the charges arrive as expected in April.

"The least well off in our society will feel a huge burden with the onset of water charging. Sinn Féin have been vociferous in our condemnation of the use of degrading terms such as 'rock bottom', used to categorise low-income households, by the new Water Debt recovery agency, Crystal Alliance.

"However, I am stating for the record, that the non-payment option, is a not an option worth taking for those already facing hardship and struggling to manage their homes and families from day-to-day. There may be widespread support for refusing to pay, but does anyone really believe that by taking such a stance, that the Debt Recovery company and indeed British Direct Rulers will not be able to heap on more misery and distress for families.

"Whatever the recovery process, it has the same impact, namely to tighten the noose around the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of our society, the poor."

The Sinn Féin spokesperson concluded:

"This issue perhaps is one of the best examples of the need for restored political accountability. Sinn Féin have called on all possible alternatives to water charging to be brought forward before an incoming Executive. We have given a public commitment to repeal the current legislation upon the return of a local Executive. This is what we will do to address this fiasco." ENDS

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