Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment, Barry Cowen TD, has called on both Irish Water and the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), to appear before the Oireachtas Environment Committee to explain the reasoning behind the slashing of the water allowance for children by 44%.
He commented: “Since the very beginning, the set-up of Irish Water has been shrouded in secrecy. The establishment of this bonus driven super-quango was rushed through the Dáil without any scrutiny. It later transpired that an outlandish amount of €85 million will be spent on consultants by 2015. Yesterday the CER confirmed that families all over the country will pick up this tab with charging due to start today.
“During the summer, I repeatedly called for the CER to appear before the Environment Committee so it could be questioned about the submission it received from Irish Water and explain why it proposed to slash the water allowance for children by 44% from 38,000 litres per child to 21,000 litres. Along with this, Government promises of the average water bill for families of €240 have been rubbished and they now face much higher average costs.
“I am calling on both the CER and Irish Water to appear before the Environment Committee at the earliest opportunity to explain the process behind the setting of tariffs and the calculation of allowances. The public have been kept completely in the dark since the start as the Government sought to rush through the legislation. With Irish Water now confirming that tariffs and allowances will be under review for two year, both bodies now have an obligation to explain in full the reasoning behind the charging system.
“Today I have written to the Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Environment calling for a meeting to be convened to facilitate the appearance of the CER and Irish Water and I trust that both will fully co-operate with this request.”