Stanley questions viability of Irish Water in Dáil
The Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment Brian Stanley TD has questioned the financial viability of Irish Water. He was speaking in the Dáil this morning in response to Minister Alan Kelly’s reply to a question Deputy Stanley had asked regarding the likely sums of money to be taken in from water charges in 2015.
Deputy Stanley said: “The Minister claims that domestic charges will bring in €271 million this year, with a further €229 million in commercial charges. The conservation grant will cost the exchequer €130 million, and the cost of collecting the charges will be €20 million.
“If those figures are correct and if we assume that at least 30% will not pay the charges then the net figure from domestic charges will only be €40 million or less in 2015. At that rate, it would take 19 years to recoup the costs of the installation of meters alone, apart from all the other costs accrued by Irish Water. This is voodoo economics.
“Nor do I share the Minister’s confidence that the EU will accept the Government’s proposals, as the indications from the leaked Commission report would strongly indicate that they consider the so-called water conservation grants, introduced in reaction to massive public opposition to the charges, to be unacceptable forms of state aid. Senior officials in the Commission have been quoted in recent days as saying that the conservation grants are a direct “exchequer transfer” to Irish water. If that is the case it will not meet the market capitalisation test.
“All of this underlines the fact that Irish Water is not viable in the manner which it was claimed it would be when it was being set up, and when the charges were introduced as part of the 2013 Water Services Bill. In the light of that, I would urge that the Government abandon it and come up with an acceptable and financially viable alternative to this monstrosity.”