Following agreement of a report from the Special Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning & Local Government Barry Cowen TD commented, “There has been much posturing and much debate on the issue of water over recent days and weeks.  However, when the smoke clears, the outcome of this process is clear – the hated water charges regime introduced by the last Government, and all the contradictions and unfairness attached to it, is now gone. I and my Party welcome that outcome.

“The report agreed today is essentially the same report that was agreed over a week ago and provides for a fair system where those who abuse our water service are financially penalised, but water charges for 92% of the population have been eliminated.  Those who are identified as using excess volumes of water will have the opportunity to address that and it is our belief that as behaviour changes, the number of households identified as wilfully abusing water will decrease further.

“Under the deal agreed today, excess use / wilful abuse of water will be set at 1.7 times the average daily use of each individual.  The expert and agreed view is that in Ireland, the average daily use of an individual is 133 litres.  Legislation will now be brought forward by the Government formalising the agreement reached here and Fianna Fáil will be making sure that the deal reached is fully reflected by strengthening the Water Services Act 2007. Now that that agreement has been reached it will give more time for the Dáil to prioritise Housing and other areas to improve people’s lives”.