Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment, Barry Cowen TD, has launched a Bill which exempts families from paying the new water charges if their home is subject to a boil water notice or faced with increased levels of lead in their water pipes.
Deputy Cowen said the Bill will offer some respite to thousands of families that are forced to purchase their drinking water because the water quality in their pipes is completely below standard.
“Thousands of families in Roscommon, for instance, have been subject to a boil water notice for over 12 months. It would be grossly unfair and wrong to charge these families for the use of water when they can’t even safely drink a glass of it.
“Over recent weeks we have heard that schools and homes have had water supplies contaminated by excessive levels of lead; this has the potential to affect 55,000 homes. How can families be expected to fork out hundreds of euro for their water when there is a threat of lead poisoning?
“Our Water Services (Exempt Charges) Amendment Bill 2014 takes into account homes that are subject to boil water notices as well as schools, homes and businesses with increased levels of lead in the water. In these instances, those affected will be exempt from paying water charges.
“People should not be forced to pay for a service which does not deliver.
The Government needs to ensure that schools, homes and businesses affected by poor water quality are protected and excused from forking out for water charges.
“I cannot understand why no allowance was catered for in the Government’s Bill for families and businesses that have poor water quality. This should have been a basic part of the Water Services legislation and I hope the Government will see common sense here by accepting my amendments and enacting a Bill that ensures fairness for those paying water charges.”