The Government has finally admitted that it plans to introduce a flat rate water charge next year, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on the Environment Niall Collins TD. The Taoiseach admitted to the Dáil today that the Government’s planned utility charge for 2012 is in effect a flat rate water charge – something that the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan TD has denied until now.
Deputy Collins commented, “Finally we have a straight answer from the Taoiseach on the issue of a utility charge. In response to a question in the Dáil regarding the introduction of a flat rate utility charge next year, Enda Kenny said a flat rate water charge will be introduced next year.
“This is in direct contradiction to comments from his Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, who last week dismissed Fianna Fail’s calls for further clarity on the utility charge. I pressed the Minister on this issue in the Dáil last week, and he dismissed my questions by claiming that no decision had been made on the issue of water charges. He simply said that an interim household utility charge will be introduced in 2012 as part of the EU-IMF deal.
“Minister Hogan has tried to pretend that this utility charge would not amount to a flat rate water charge for households and businesses around the country. The reality has now been confirmed by the Taoiseach, who admitted today that these two charges are in effect two sides of the same coin.
“Minister Hogan must immediately stop his pretence that they are two different matters. He is trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes by distancing one charge from the other. The reality is that we are getting flat rate water charges next year despite continuous commitments from the Government that this would not happen.”