Less than half of households intend to pay water charge

Poll shows majority of people felt protest against Burton was not peaceful

Less than half of households intend to pay the water charge, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.

When asked if their households intended to pay the charge, 48 per cent said Yes and 33 per cent said No, with 11 per cent undecided and 8 per cent saying the issue did not apply to them.

The poll also shows that the Government’s decision to cap the charges has encouraged some who did not intend to pay to change their minds.

The survey was undertaken on Monday and Tuesday this week among a representative sample of 1,200 voters aged 18 and over, in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all constituencies. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 per cent.


The poll shows a potentially high compliance rate among better-off voters while the strongest opposition comes from the other end of the social scale.

A majority of people who own their houses are willing to pay. This is in contrast to those living in accommodation rented from local authorities or private landlords, with a majority saying they will not pay the charge.

Most compliant

Older people are more likely to pay the water charge, with the oldest category, over-65s, the most compliant.

Those at the other end of the age spectrum are least likely to pay.

When voters were asked whether they thought the protest against Joan Burton in Jobstown, Tallaght, in December was peaceful or not, a substantial majority said it was not peaceful.

Just 24 per cent of respondents said the protest was peaceful while 60 per cent said that it was not. Eleven per cent had no opinion while 5 per cent were unaware of the protest.

The poll also showed that the controversy surrounding Maíria Cahill has had some impact on the ability of Sinn Féin to attract support, but a majority of people say it will not affect their voting behaviour.


Asked if they are more or less likely to vote for Sinn Féin in the light of the controversy, 3 per cent said they were more likely to vote for the party, 32 per cent said less likely, 59 per cent said it would make no difference and 6 per cent had no opinion.

Farmers were the most inclined to say the episode would make them less likely to vote for Sinn Féin, followed by the better-off AB and C1 social categories.

The poorest DE category was least influenced by the controversy.

Marginally more women than men said they were less likely to vote for Sinn Féin, but a majority said it would make no difference

The poll also shows the Cahill controversy has had a greater impact on potential Sinn Féin voters than the arrest of Gerry Adams in May in connection with the abduction and murder of Jean McConville.

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins is a columnist with and former political editor of The Irish Times