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Government’s argument for water charges “do not stand up”: Stanley

7 June, 2012 - by Brian Stanley TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community and Local Government, Brian Stanley TD has claimed the government's attempts to introduce water charges is ill thought out and doomed to failure.

Responding to the launch of the Report on Water Provision by the Joint Committee on Environment, Deputy Stanley said:

“Sinn Féin made a full and detailed submission to the consultation process. In our submission we clearly outlined the reasons why we opposed the installation of domestic water meters and the imposition of water charges.

“The government's arguments in favour of water rates simply do not stand up. The evidence indicates that the establishment of Irish Water and the introduction of water rates is more about privatisation than about conservation. Water meters and water charges does not encourage conservation.

“Sinn Féin is calling for the establishment of a National Water Sector Framework Team. This team would oversee governance of the water sector and capital investment for the sector. We support the introduction of district metering which is far more effective and cost effective than installing domestic water meters in every household.

“This allows for local authorities to monitor water usage and leakage at neighbourhood level. According to the Irish Academy of Engineers the cost of meter installation will be at least €500 million. This €500 million would fund the water conservation strategy for six years. It would be far more appropriate to invest the €500 million in water conservation rather than meter installation.

“Minister for Environment, Phil Hogan, has failed at every opportunity to outline how much it will cost to establish Irish Water. At a time when people are faced with extra charges, extra taxes and cuts to public services it is reckless in the extreme to give Minister Hogan a blank cheque to establish and run Irish Water. The minister must explain under what rainbow he hopes to find this funding.”

In conclusion, Deputy Stanley said, “the government attempts to impose water charges will be met with strong resistance from households and it is doomed to failure.”

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