Taoiseach repeats meters stance

Mon, Apr 16, 2012, 01:00

Taoiseach Enda Kenny today repeated that while there would be no charge for the installation of water meters, somebody would have to pay for them.

"The Government has set up an implementation group, which will report to the Minister for the Environment in respect of the nature and range of what is involved here," he said amid heckling at a Border Midlands and West event in Roscommon

"Obviously when you provide water meters somebody has to pay for them. We've made absolutely no decision about this. Any charge will . . . be the absolute minimum because of the difficulties that are involved here," Mr Kenny said.

The Taoiseach said some 2,000 jobs would be created through the installation of water meters in the State, and that the Government would consider setting up a single State water agency in discussions tomorrow.

Speaking on RTÉ radio, Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton said the Government was awaiting proposals on metering from the Department of the Environment.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said no formal decision had been taken yet over who would take over the running of the State's water and that it would be "premature" to be speculating what costs would be for consumers.

"I see meters as the friend of the householder and friend of business as they'll prevent people from paying for water that's wasted," he told RTÉ.

In a statement, Fianna Fáil Environment spokesman Niall Collins said the water meters issue was emerging as the "latest fiasco" at the Department of the Environment.

"The notion that the Government would force households to pay hundreds of euro up-front for the privilege of then charging them further for their water use is ludicrous," he said.

"The lack of any clear answer from Ministers over the last 24 hours on the question of whether or not households will be asked to pay for a water meter proves one thing. This Government has no meaningful strategy on water reform."

Mr Kenny’s comments have contradicted statements made yesterday by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and the Department of the Environment.

A spokesman for the Department of the Environment last night said both the cost of buying and installing water meters would be passed on to the households and not paid for by the exchequer.

Speaking on RTÉ radio yesterday, Mr Gilmore commented: “No decision has yet been made on how water meters are to be paid for.”

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