Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment Barry Cowen has called on the Government to present detailed and specific figures on the costs associated with the administration of water charges.  Deputy Cowen said the Government is engaged in a “sham debate in the Dáil over water charges because information on costs is still not know or are being kept secret.”

Deputy Cowen said: “We had an outrageous situation in the Dáil last week where Minister Alan Kelly didn’t have basic information in relation to the costs associated with Irish Water and the water charges regime the Government is introducing.  The Government is trying to end the debate on water charges legislation in this Dáil in the coming week but this cannot be allowed to happen with an information vacuum on costs.

“We still don’t know for example how much the Government expects to make in net revenue from water charges in 2015 after the €100 conservation grant to be paid by the Department of Social Protection is taken into account.  Minister Alan Kelly did not put forward a credible case for Irish Water and water charges in the past week.  The Government is continually undermining the case for pressing ahead with this and it flies in the face of basic common sense to conclude the Dáil debate on these issues without all the necessary information.

“If the Government is serious about being open and transparent and if they have any shred of commitment to respecting debate they will bring the necessary financial information on the costs associated with the water charges regime before the Dáil and Seanad debates are concluded.”