Fianna Fáil spokesperson on the Environment, Community & Local Government Niall Collins TD has called on the Labour Party to clarify its position on the flat rate utility charges which the Government plans to introduce next year.
Deputy Collins commented, “Less than 100 days in office, and rifts are already appearing in the Fine Gael/Labour coalition over a number of key issues. While anger mounts among Labour TDs over Minister Richard Bruton’s plans to cut Sunday and overtime rates for 200,000 workers, there is also growing unrest over indications from Fine Gael that householders will be slapped with flat rate water charges next year.
“Labour’s Tommy Broughan has said this week that the wage row is “a red line issue” for the Labour Party. I am asking Labour TDs if hitting households with flat rate utility charges, a move which is akin to the reintroduction of domestic rates, is also a red line issue for them?
“Last week the Taoiseach Enda Kenny indicated that the utility charge to be introduced next year is in effect a flat-rate water charge. In response to a question in the Dáil regarding the introduction of utility charges next year, Enda Kenny said a “flat rate water charge will be introduced next year”. That is despite Environment Minister Phil Hogan attempting to fudge this issue over the past number of weeks.
“Now that we finally have clear indications from the Government that flat rate water charges are on the way in the near future, it is up to the Labour TDs who have vehemently opposed such a move to stand up and be counted.”