Fianna Fail Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen has said water charges cannot be introduced until Minister Phil Hogan can guarantee that the water supply system is fit for purpose.
Deputy Cowen has questioned why Irish Water still has not carried out a full nationwide audit of the water supply as promised two years ago.
“People cannot be expected to pay for a poor quality service that is clearly riddled with problems in certain areas. If we are to charge people for their water, they have a right to expect decent water quality and a standard of supply,” said Deputy Cowen.
“The severe problems with the water supply in Dublin city over Easter are further evidence of need to update the infrastructure in certain areas. We cannot expect Dubliners to pay hefty water bills when there are chronic leakages, problems with the city’s water treatment and severely depleted infrastructure. As it is, businesses in the city are already paying for their water and they are severely disrupted by regular problems with the supply. Unfortunately these problems are not new, and the failure of Minister Hogan’s Irish Water to address them is unacceptable.
“Minister Hogan plans to hit householders across the country with water charges from January. And yet, Irish Water still hasn’t carried out an audit of the water supply. No effort has been made to identify problems with the infrastructure and to fix those problems. And we have seen no real evidence of the much talked about national roll out of water metres.
“This is quickly becoming yet another fiasco at the hands of Phil Hogan. His failure to think things through before he acts has got him in trouble before, and has caused unnecessary distress to homeowners. What we need now is a guarantee from the Minister that the national water audit will be carried out without further delay and that the necessary upgrades will take place before water charges are introduced.”