The Government has failed to provide any clarity on the charges households will be forced to pay for the installation of water meters and for their water use, according to Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Niall Collins TD.
Deputy Collins has said a lengthy statement issued by the Government this afternoon raises more questions than it answers about how the important issue of water reform is being handled by this Government. Deputy Collins has raised particular concerns about job security for the thousands of people currently employed in water and wastewater services.
Deputy Collins commented, “Far from easing the concerns that have erupted in the last 48 hours about how the Government is handling the massive issue of water reform, this latest statement raises even more concerns. One glaring issue that jumps out of this statement is what will happen to the thousands of people who are currently employed in water and wastewater services? Will their jobs be transferred to Irish Water under Board Gais?
“Meanwhile households are still in the dark about what this will mean for them. Minister Hogan is pushing ahead with forcing households connected to the public water supply to pay €40 a year for water meter installation on top of the charges for their water use. Whether the charge is upfront or by instalment, it is the same unfair and unacceptable principal of forcing people to pay for the privilege of charging them for their water.
“Minister Hogan has set an ambitious target of installing meters to 95% of homes by 2014 and yet he has kicked the most basic and fundamental decisions down the road. The only thing we have learned today is that Irish Water will be run by Bord Gais. Aside from this, the press release states that “the level of capital investment, the operational cost reductions to be achieved, the level of charges and the nature, the level and the duration of continuing Government funding will be determined as part of the regulatory and budgetary process.”
“Instead of learning from the Household Charge fiasco, the Government has again created total confusion over water charges and has once again has failed to communicate properly with the public. If Minister Hogan thinks the heavy-handed, bullish and evasive approach we saw in relation to the household charge and sceptic tank charges will work on this occasion, he is gravely mistaken.”