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06 Jul 2022

Offaly TD demands equity for group water scheme users

"It is simply not good enough that low income households in rural Ireland continue to pay twice for water"

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Community and Rural Development, Carol Nolan TD, has called on the Government to implement the recommendation of the Committee Report on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services without delay.

Teachta Nolan was speaking during a debate on the Water Services Bill in the Dáil this week. The Offaly TD stated, “Both the Expert Commission on Domestic Public Water Service and the Joint Oireachtas Committee report made clear recommendations in relation to equity for group water scheme users. Unfortunately, the Water Services Bill does not address this recommendation and instead a working group will be established to examine the matter once the legislation is passed.

Teachta Nolan said she failed to understand the delay in addressing this recommendation as the government had had a year to address this matter which is a huge issue in rural communities that she represents.

“It is simply not good enough that low income households in rural Ireland continue to pay twice for water," she commented. “Group schemes receive an annual subsidy of only €70 per household but that does not cover the full cost of accessing water supply. Equity would require the state to cover the full cost of group water scheme users in accessing that water supply."

The Offaly TD noted that the Minister has stated that he can find the €170 million required for refunds and she added that addressing this issue would be a fraction of that cost, should the government choose to make it a priority.

“The data provided to the committee on this issue suggests that a relatively small amount of money would address this problem but it is important that the Government clearly commits to this recommendation in the report," she concluded.

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