Legislation on water charges will be ready within six weeks

Coveney confirms method of refunding people will not be finalised for some time

The Oireachtas committee has proposed a levy for householders who use excessive water. However the size of the fine and the method of collecting such monies has yet to be agreed between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil

The Oireachtas committee has proposed a levy for householders who use excessive water. However the size of the fine and the method of collecting such monies has yet to be agreed between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil

 

Legislation to abolish domestic water charges will be ready within six weeks, but details of refunds will not be outlined at that point.

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney said his department was preparing the draft heads of a Bill to implement the recommendations made by the Oireachtas committee on water.

However, he confirmed the method of repaying the hundreds of thousands of people would not be finalised for some time.

The Minister said this was not a decision solely for him but required the support and advice of the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and the Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe.

The finer details of the legislation are expected to reignite the argument between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

The Oireachtas committee has proposed a levy for householders who excessively use water. However the size of the fine and the method of collecting such monies has yet to be agreed between the two parties.

Mr Coveney said: “It will take us another six weeks or so, but certainly before the summer break I would like to be able to bring forward legislation that puts into place what has been agreed in principle anyway in the Oireachtas committee on water so we can turn that policy agreement into legislation. But it does take time to get right.”

Leadership campaign

The Minister declined to comment on reports in The Irish Times that he had recruited the support of Minister for Health Simon Harris for his leadership campaign.

Mr Coveney said he could neither confirm nor deny Mr Harris’s attendance at crucial strategy meetings. “When I talk to people, most of those conversations are private conversations, and that is the way they will remain.”

The Minister insisted he has no knowledge of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s plans for departing his position.

Mr Kenny is to travel to Canada next week, and is expected to make an announcement on his return.

Mr Coveney said he believed a leadership transition would be facilitated before the summer break, but added “that is me just guessing”.

“The Taoiseach has made it quite clear that he is going to facilitate the process but I don’t know when that is going to happen, but I trust him to make the right judgment call on that.”