Sinn Féin TD, Brian Stanley, party Spokesperson on the Environment, is claiming that the Government are cynically deferring the introduction of water charges until next year’s local elections are over.
Stanley said, “After Labour’s dismal performance in the Meath East by-election there is growing dissent in the party and a general fear of annihilation at the local elections in 2014. The introduction of water charges in advance of these elections would ensure melt down for the party.”
The Laois/Offaly TD said the Government now needs to be honest about the level of water charges while he claimed that Fianna Fáil ‘are talking out of both sides of their mouths on the issue’.
Deputy Stanley commented, “FF again confirmed over the last few days that, on the one hand, they support the introduction of water charges yet, astonishingly they hypocritically oppose Government for trying to introduce Fianna Fáil policy. People need to remember that it was Fianna Fáil who originally agreed with the Troika to the introduction of these charges for 2014 and subsequently Fine Gael and Labour failed to renegotiate the terms.”
He continued, “Fine Gael and Labour should be up front about the real cost of this new tax in the medium to long term. On average approximately €1.1 billion is spent annually on water services in the state, which equates to over €600 per household. On top of this Fine Gael and Labour intend taking €500 million from the National Pension Reserve Fund to fund the installation of water meters. This money will also need to be recouped through the water charges. Water metering won’t fund or fix the leaks in the mains infrastructure where 40% is currently leaking from the mains system.”
Deputy Stanley concluded, “Of course the Government won’t charge €600 initially but, like the home tax where they cynically introduced it firstly for a half year in 2013, they will try and dupe the people into believing that water charges won’t affect them greatly. They need to be honest with people as the new company, Irish Water, will operate commercially and within a few years will charge full costs. This will amount to triple taxation on already demoralised and over taxed households.”