Renua leader and Offaly County Councillor John Leahy
Renua Leader and Offaly County Councillor John Leahy is calling on Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil to clarify their positions with regard to water charges.
The Renua leader said, “We have heard Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil both stating that they want water charges scrapped. But when asked how they are going to fund water services, they both claim that they will do it through general taxation. They need to clarify who is going to pay when it comes to general taxation.”
Cllr Leahy said that talking about the rich paying was 'pure nonsense' because he said that while the rich may contribute, they won’t be left footing the whole bill.
He continued, “that brings us to who will pay and that is the low and middle income earners. The man who drives the bread van, the farmer, the shop worker, the factory worker etc., these are the very people who will end up paying under Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin’s proposals.”
Cllr Leahy believes this to be the case in the light of how the Universal Social Charge came into being.
He added, “In 2011 the dreaded USC came into being. While the rich contributed, it was low and middle income workers who ended up footing the bill and who continue to have their wage packets decimated. And why would anyone think it would be any different if water charges were scrapped and instead people paid for it through general taxation. While it has to be said that Fine Gael made a right mess of water charges, spending millions and millions of tax payer’s money on fat cat consultants, it has to be said that the concept of water charges is the fairest way of paying to upgrade our broken water service.”
The Renua leader was particularly scathing of Deputies, Carol Nolan and Barry Cowen.
“These deputies are meant to be representing a rural constituency and their position is to scrap water charges and pay for it through general taxation. Apart from the working people who will pay under such proposals, what about all those people who are in private water group schemes and who have private wells? The idea that these people will pay for other people’s water charges through their taxes is sickening. The time for populism is over. Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin need to clearly clarify where they will get the money if water charges are scrapped.”