Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment, Barry Cowen TD, says the publication today of the proposed water charges for households throughout the country exposes the Government’s dishonesty on this water tax.
He commented: “From the very beginning the Taoiseach and the former Minister for the Environment deliberately kept families in the dark as to what they would have to pay in water charges.
“The Taoiseach told the Dáil that families would pay an average of €240 per family in water charges, today we learn that it will be €278, which is 20% higher than was promised. The Taoiseach also said children would not be charged for water and today we see this is not true. It exposes the deeply cynical approach of the Government, we were promised the full details before May’s local elections, but it has taken until the Dáil summer recess for the true cost of the charges to be disclosed.
“The charges announced today are only the beginning. The overall average cost per household for water is €594 per year, as the costs of providing water increases and the Government subsidy reduces, the Government will move towards full cost recovery and this will increase the charges further.
“There has also been an alarming lack of scrutiny of the package of charges from the very start. The CER has a poor track record in representing the best interests of the people. These proposed charges have been subject to no scrutiny; there is no detail on the calculation of allowances and the CER twice failed to produce these details before the Oireachtas despite promising to do so. Taxpayers’ money is being pumped into Irish Water and we have no idea how it is being used.
“The announcement today will do nothing to ease the concerns of the average householder. People on the household benefits package will be fearful that any free allowance they will receive will be eroded just like the Government has done so with their entitlements. The government are introducing a cap of €278 for those with severe illnesses -this is very unfair.
“The Government is buying itself six months before the full charges come in; it is time for the Government to be up front and let people know just how much they will be expected to pay once the full charges are introduced. The half-measures announced today only add to the deep public suspicion of the CER and the super-quango that is Irish Water.”