The Minister for the Environment and Local Government Phil Hogan must come clean about stealth charges facing households next year, according to Fianna Fáil Environment spokesperson Niall Collins.
“Minister Hogan is either totally confused about his own plans regarding utility charges and funding for water meters next year, or else he is attempting to disguise the fact that he plans to hit households with a one-size-fits-all charges in a move akin to the reintroduction of domestic rates.
“The Minister has said that the roll out of water metres will begin next year, however he has failed to make any commitment that water charges will not be introduced until every household in the country has been provided with a metre. The roll out is likely to take years, and yet we have clear indications from the government that water charges under the guise of a utility charge are on the way next year.
“Minister Hogan is also in a state of confusion over how the metering process will be funded. Earlier this month, he clearly stated that the purpose of utility charges was to cover the cost of fitting meters around the country. However, today he has completely rowed back on this and said that that no decision has been made but that the charge may only partially fund the metre roll out.
“I am calling on the Minister to come clean on this issue once and for all and spell out exactly what charges households will be hit with under the Fine Gael/Labour Government. I am also asking the Labour TDs who have strongly opposed water charges until now to demand answers from their Environment Minister. Fine Gael and Labour both promised to be upfront with the people when in office, but just three months in, the reality is a Government of mixed messages and spin rather than substance.”