Taoiseach criticised over records of water charge payments

Socialist TD says he has been asking the same question for two months without success

 

Irish Water will today reveal how many people have paid their water charges, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil.

Socialist TD Paul Murphy said he and party colleague Ruth Coppinger had made six efforts in the past two months to have the question answered, without success.

He said “we return again, more than two months later, to ask two simple questions”.

Mr Murphy asked if the Cabinet had discussed the levels of payment of the water charges and if Mr Kenny would “please provide information about how many people have paid and how many have not”.

In a single-sentence reply during Leaders’ Questions, the Taoiseach said: “I understand that Irish Water will provide that information to everyone tomorrow.”

Mr Murphy pointed to remarks by the Taoiseach two months ago that he should “toddle along” to a briefing at which Irish Water would give him that information, but they did not.

And he said Mr Kenny had said he supported the idea that Dáil questions should be answered as fully and completely as possible.

The Dublin South-West TD, elected on a campaign of opposition to the water charges, said he then submitted an FOI request but it was rejected “on the grounds of commercial sensitivity by Irish Water, which is a monopoly”.

Out of order A question to Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly was ruled out of order.

Mr Murphy said a guess was of a very low level of payment, “especially given that 30 per cent of people have still not registered” despite the €100 conservation grant.

When he asked the Taoiseach to answer the question in the Dáil, Mr Kenny said Irish Water had responsibility for this and he expected them to make the information available today.