Irish Water and refunding the water charges
Sir, – Given the homelessness crisis, would it not be possible for residents due refunds to opt to place them in a 10-year social housing bond, with the money available to those councils able to build houses swiftly? After all, we’ve managed without the money for a year. – Yours, etc,
A chara, – When Irish Water writes or e-mails all who are owed refunds, it should include among the options a waiver on the refund on the condition that it is transferred to a fund to house the homeless. The administration of this fund should be given to a reputable homeless charity, not absorbed into exchequer funds, to ensure that it becomes an extra resource.
Furthermore, as the Government will be reimbursing Irish Water for the administrative costs of refunds, the substantial amount of money saved due to people opting for the homeless donation should also be lodged to this fund.
I appreciate that some people may really need the money, but I suggest that for most people it would be a nice but not essential windfall and, given the generosity of the Irish people and the scandal of homelessness, I am confident that, given an opportunity by Irish Water, the majority of people would forego a refund, provided that there is a clear and transparent plan to use the money to help house homeless people.
Then at least some good would come out of the incredible mess of water charges. – Yours, etc,
Clontarf, Dublin 3.
Sir, – Cabinet has announced a refund scheme for the customers of Irish Water. This after years of wasted expenditure on metering, advertising, billing systems, customer care, accounts departments, and the setting up of a €19 million conservation grant, which was issued to people whether they paid their water charges or not and whether they conserved water or not. And never mind the wasted political capital and public goodwill during a time of recovery.
You’d think we’d have learned a lesson by now. Instead Cabinet has instructed Irish Water to launch an advertising campaign and to post cheques to people’s homes. Why in 2017 could they not automatically refund the charges by bank transfer, or by credit or debit card refund, and call customers to confirm their details, if needed? – Yours, etc,
EOGHAN Ó BRAONÁIN,
Sir, – The cost of water charge refunds arises because of government inability to uphold the law. I presume that the water conservation grant will now be repayable by all who availed of it? If not, the issue of water charges will go down as inequity in pursuit of equity! – Yours, etc,
A chara, – I suggest that Irish Water should set up a website where customers can declare that they do not wish to receive a refund and instead use the money to reinvest in our water infrastructure. Mine will be the first name on the list. – Is mise,
GARETH T CLIFFORD,
Stillorgan, Co Dublin.
Sir, – I’m welling up and turning on the waterworks! – Yours, etc,