EU to Ireland: You cannot go back on water charges

Commissioner Karmenu Vella tells MEP country must not back out of commitment

The European Commission has insisted Ireland cannot abolish water charges without breaching European law.

In a written response to MEP Marian Harkin, the Commission said Ireland had committed to water charges in 2010 and it could not revert on that.

Environemnt Commissioner Karmenu Vella said the river basin management plan submitted by Ireland in July 2010 pledged to apply the Water Framework Directive in full.

Mr Vella said: “Ireland adopted its river basin management plans in July 2010.


“There is no record of a decision in those plans not to apply the provisions of Article 9(1).

“On the contrary, in the said plans, Ireland made a clear commitment to set up water charges to comply with the provisions of Article 9(1).

“Ireland subsequently applied water charges and the Commission considers that the Directive does not provide for a situation whereby it can revert to any previous practice.”

Mr Vella’s response indicates an extension of the derogation offered to Ireland should have been sought in 2010 when the plans were submitted by the then-government.

However it was not and therefore the flexibility offered to Ireland no longer applies.