Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen has said the latest twist in the water charges saga raises further concerns about the viability of Minister Phil Hogan’s plan.
Deputy Cowen was commenting on reports that the Government will wait until after water charges are imposed in 2015 before repairing major leaks affecting private properties.
“While it is certainly welcome that households will not be forced to pay the cost of these repairs in addition to paying water charges, I cannot understand why the government would wait until 2015 before beginning the necessary repair works,” Deputy Cowen said.
“I have been saying for some time that we need a full audit of the water supply system, with major leaks fixed and upgrades carried out, before water charges are imposed. We cannot expect homeowners to pay for a poor quality service. And we certainly cannot expect them to wait until after they are already paying for their water before the government gets around to fixing major leaks.
“Minister Hogan has moved the goal posts far too many times on this issue. He has been unable to stick to his own deadlines, he has consistently failed to be upfront with homeowners and his entire plan is still shrouded in mystery. We still have no idea how much these water ‘reform’ plans will cost. We have no detail on the state the water network and the extent of the repair work that’s needed. And we have no idea how much that repair work will cost.
“It’s clear that there are serious problems with the water network in many areas that cause severe disruption to supply at times. It is simply not good enough to introduce charges before these problems are fixed. If homeowners are to be charged for their water, they have a right to expect a good quality service and a decent supply network that is fit for purpose.”