Fine Gael unlikely to support report on water charges

Party fails in effort to charge for excessive use while meters not a requirement for all new builds

The limit of normal usage will be 70 per cent above 133l per person per day.

The limit of normal usage will be 70 per cent above 133l per person per day.

 

Fine Gael has confirmed it is unlikely to support the final report of the Oireachtas committee on water charges.

This follows the party’s failure to change several of the key recommendations contained in the report.

The party lost a number of attempts to introduce a charge for excessive use of water.

Instead the committee agreed it understands average usage is 133 litres per person per day. The limit of normal usage will be 70 per cent above that (226.1 litres).

All references to excessive usage were removed from the report.

Householders will be notified if they are going above the normal limit and will have six months to address waste of water. Leaks will be fixed by the State or an exemption can be sought.

An “approach based on incentives and penalties” will apply thereafter.

On the issue of refunds the committee agreed the water conservation grant should be deducted from any refunds given to householders.

The committee agreed to allow for meters to be installed in apartment blocks.

However, the requirement for the installation of meters in all new builds was removed after a vote.

Fine Gael and Labour lost that vote.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael had agreed to the measure but Fianna Fáil opposed it in the vote.

Criticised

In a statement Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen strongly criticised Fine Gael.

Mr Cowen said: “Attempts to claim that there was no deal are undermined by the fact that the Fine Gael Minister responsible for water rushed to claim credit for its negotiation last Thursday on social media when he congratulated the Fine Gael negotiating team and described it as ‘an outcome we can stand over and support’.

“These dishonest claims of no deal are also undermined by the fact that the details of the deal were widely leaked to the media and no one from Fine Gael expressed an objection.”

Legal advice to the Oireachtas committee suggested the current draft would suffice.

The meeting heard it was the role of legislators to ensure the recommendations meet European law.