Irish Water ‘the only model in town’, says Minister

Alan Kelly says no one would face penalties if they did not register by the deadline

 

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has said Irish Water was “the only model in town” .

He said no one would face penalties if they did not register with Irish Water by the deadline, but they could get a bill that didn’t reflect their household size. “People should register by tonight to make sure they’re getting their 21,000 litres per child for example, but if they don’t they can still register tomorrow.

“They can still register next week as well and once they register as well they can still get their €100 water conservation grant,” he said speaking at Arrabawn Co-op in Nenagh, where a €35 million investment in dairy sector was announced.

Asked about the weekend protests, he said: “I respect everyone’s right to protest. I’ve done enough of it myself. I expect I’ll probably be doing it again into the future.

“But no, this is the model that is going to work. We have to invest at a level that we’ve never invested at before. Irish Water is a necessity. I’ve always said that there were errors made in relation to the set up of Irish Water but setting up Irish Water wasn’t one of them.”

He said investing in the water infrastructure was critical to attract investment in sectors ranging from agriculture to pharmaceuticals to information technology. “We need it for the tourism industry and we need it for domestic reasons and we simply will not have it if we don’t go down this road because Irish Water needs to be able to borrow to be able to invest €400 million plus per year in the water infrastructure of this country.

He said he had been listening to Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald talking about how her party would fund Irish Water.

“She simply didn’t know. She didn’t know how she would do it. So it just goes to show that this is the only model in town. Irish Water and the way it is constituted and set up for the future is there to ensure that we have a water supply for the people of Ireland. ”

He also said he hoped to publish legislation this month addressing penalties for people who do not pay their water charges.

“Everyone has a role to play in society. Everyone has a role to play in contributing to the requirement to invest in Irish Water, and water, into the future so we’ll be looking at that and that will be published I would hope, this month.”