Annual average water charge to be €240
Taoiseach tells Dáil that Cabinet has not signed off on any figures on water charges
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Government would continue to discuss over the next two weeks the issues outlined by Mr Hogan. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Householders are facing an average annual water charge of €240, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.
He told the Dáil that the Cabinet, which met earlier yesterday, had not signed off on any figures.
He said there had been intensive engagement between the Department of the Environment and the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in recent weeks to understand the statistical rules applying here in the context of how Eurostat conducted its business.
Mr Kenny said the Cabinet had noted the official advice from Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan that the taxpayers’ subvention for Irish Water, consistent with it being classified as a commercial State company, could not exceed €537 million next year and in 2016.
“That equates to an annual average metered charge of €240 ,’’ he added.
He said the Government, “comprised of the two parties, Fine Gael and Labour, are united in the objective of making the Government’s priority . . . that water charges would be fair, affordable and as equitable as possible’’. That discussion had been started at the morning’s Cabinet meeting, he added.
Continue to discuss issues
The Taoiseach said the Government would continue to discuss over the next two weeks the issues outlined by Mr Hogan, adding that it wanted to get the scheme as right as was possible.
Mr Kenny said the average installation of meters was running at 27,000 monthly and 400,000 households would be metered by the end of the year.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the Taoiseach had failed to mention anything in the Dáil on Tuesday about a draft memo going to Government for a special meeting on water charges, the details of which were covered extensively in the newspapers.
Mr Kenny accused Mr Martin of leading “opportunistic hypocrites’’, adding that the Fianna Fáil programme had proposed an average charge of €400 for water.
Anything but clear
Mr Martin said the Taoiseach and the Government had been anything but clear on the issue. The memo coming before Cabinet had been circulated to the media and should be published in deference to the Dáil and the public.
“The public are being treated with absolute contempt in relation to this,’’ he added. People were concerned about what bill they would receive, said Mr Martin.
“The Government’s water charge, borrowed from Fianna Fáil and opposed previously by the Labour Party, is another tax on top of all the other taxes and stealth charges faced by struggling families who have already been hit,’’ he added.
Independent TD Stephen Donnelly, on behalf of the technical group, said Irish Water had yet to produce a business plan.
“We have to rely on what we hear from the Cabinet,’’ he added.