Government refuses to poverty proof Water Services Bill
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community and Local Government, Brian Stanley TD has today slammed the government for imposing water rates on households currently living in poverty.
Speaking in Leinster House Stanley said;
“The government should be ashamed of itself. Government TDs voted against my amendment to poverty proof this bill and worse again the government refused to support my amendment to give waivers for those 200,000 households now living in poverty. The Water Services Bill allows for the establishment of Irish Water and the introduction of water rates. Irish Water is nothing but a Trojan horse for the privatisation of water services in this state.
“The Current cost of water provision is €1.2 billion per annum; this will significantly increase with the proposed installation of water meters.
“In their eagerness to establish Irish Water Minister O’Dowd was unable to inform the Dáil during today’s debate on the bill, how much the charges will be, how much it will cost to install water meters or even how much money Irish Water will require to function.
“Government TDs have just given Irish Water two cheques, one with €500m written on it and the other left blank. All costs will be met by the public water charges. This is a gamble the exchequer cannot afford to take during the current economic climate. At current costs the full water charge per household would be just under €700 per annum.
“Water charges will be met with stiff resistance. Sinn Féin will work with others to ensure this campaign is broad based, popular and ultimately successful.”