Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment Barry Cowen wants to see households with contaminated water supplies exempted from water charges. His Water Service Amendment Bill 2014 will be debated during Private Members Business in the Dáil tomorrow. It contains a dispensation from water charges for homes with unsafe water supplies.
Deputy Cowen commented, “There are thousands of families and businesses across the country that are unable to drink their tap water and are facing water bills in a matter of months. It is a ludicrous situation for the Government to sit back and allow these people to be charged for a contaminated supply. Some homes have been subject to boil water notices for over a year, with cases of e-coli and lead pollution prevalent in certain parts of the country, yet under the current legislation these people are still expected to fork out hundreds of euro for a sub-standard and unsafe service. There is an onus on the Government to protect our water supply, not force households into paying for a dysfunctional service.
“This Bill provides the Government with an option to exclude these families from the impending water bills, which are due to kick in in January. Ministers and Government TDs who regularly speak of their concern for households facing boil notices and contaminated supplies, now have chance to do something about it. I’m urging the Government to support this Bill and waive water charges for all affected households. Now is the time for action rather than rhetoric.
“It’s difficult to understand how the Government overlooked the possibility of a dispensation for homes and businesses with a contaminated supply in their water services legislation. I hope Ministers will realise the scale and seriousness of this situation and accept the amendments contained in this Fianna Fáil Bill to ensure fairness in the water charging mechanism”.