Water charges criticised by Opposition

Age Action gives ‘guarded welcome’ to announcement of measures to protect the elderly

 Fianna Fáil spokesman on jobs and enterprise Dara Calleary speaking on the Government’s water charges announcement. Photograph: Eric Luke

Fianna Fáil spokesman on jobs and enterprise Dara Calleary speaking on the Government’s water charges announcement. Photograph: Eric Luke

Wed, May 7, 2014, 01:00


Opposition parties last night said “serious questions remain” over the Government’s water charges regime.

Speaking after the announcement by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan that the average household will pay €240 a year, Fianna Fáil enterprise spokesman Dara Calleary said there were “still no specifics”.

“Labour in particular has been doing its utmost to avoid telling households how much they will have to pay for their water ahead of the local and European elections,” he said.

“We still do not have a specific figure for what people will pay. All the Government has been able to produce are average costs.

“Minister Hogan has not outlined any major investment in the water network. He gave no guarantee that families who fork out hundreds of euro a year for their water will get a decent quality service.”

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said this was the latest in a series of taxes which would impact most on low and middle-income families.

“At least a million households will be forced to pay this water tax despite having no meter,” he said. “This Government is far removed from the reality faced by hardworking families and vulnerable citizens.”

Age Action gave a “guarded welcome” to the plans for water charges and the “measures to protect older people” agreed at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. “As with any national scheme, the devil will be in the detail and we need to see how these charges will pan out,” spokesman Eamon Timmins said.

Trade union Unite released a statement in which it claimed the charges could cost up to 3,000 jobs. Regional secretary Jimmy Kelly said they would “suck more money out of the economy”.