Government must clarify Water Charges – Feeley

Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has called on the Government to clarify the level of water charges that families will face in the coming year in the light of a Sunday Business Post (April 20, 2014) story suggesting that the annual charges could increase to over € 600. ‘At present Irish Water will receive a subsidy from Government of about € 537 million per annum with the remainder of its’ € 1.1 billion budget coming from domestic and commercial water rates. The Government has made it clear that the annual subsidy, much of this years already fritted away on consultants will only be in place short-term and thereafter that Irish Water will rely entirely on the money collected from families and business.’ Whilst Minister Hogan has confirmed that no final decision has been made on when the state subsidy will end he and others in Government have emphasised that Irish Water is a stand-alone organisation that will have to secure funding on the open market rather than from the State. ‘There are many issues that must be clarified urgently including how long the subsidy will be in place, what the actual rate of payment will be, what, if any regard will be given to those on low incomes, what volume of water will be included in the standing charge and what regard will be had to the contributions made by member of Group Water Schemes to the up-grade of their own Schemes in recent years. Government seem happy to allow confusion to reign but the public are entitled to clarity and deserve it now.’