McDonald Rejects Proposals For 'Excessive' Water Use Charge

Sinn Féin Vice President, Mary Lou McDonald, has rejected proposals by the Expert Commission to charge customers for 'excessive' waste usage.

Speaking in the Dáil during Leaders' Questions today, 30 November, Teachta McDonald said imposing a levy would "inevitably lead to the introduction of across the board water charges in the future".

In addition, she claimed the 'excessive' use charge is a revamp of an original Fianna Fáil-Green Party proposal brought forward in 2009.

"We do not support the Commission's proposal of a charge on so-called ‘excessive' use," she said.

"This is just a re-hash of the original Fianna Fáil-Green Party proposal devised in 2009, and would inevitably lead to the introduction of across the board water charges in the future; that's the reality.

"A low charge now to soften the blow, before hiking up charges in the future. Given Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil's track record on water charges, how could anyone trust them not to increase water charges?

"In any case, the report acknowledges that determining what ‘excessive' water usage is would be extremely difficult to calculate, and it's highly likely that the cost of administering and enforcing such a scheme would be greater than the revenue it might generate.

“So let's be clear; no water charges through the front door, or through the backdoor. That is what citizens have demanded."

However, Teachta McDonald welcomed aspects of the Expert Commission's report on the future of water charges, such as a call for constitutional protections to keep water services in public ownership.

"I also welcome the Commission's recognition that the best way to pay for general domestic water usage is through general taxation," she continued.

"The report also rightly recommends fair treatment for those in group water schemes and those who paid water charges. In Sinn Féin's view, this means no domestic charge for those on group water schemes or those with their own water source and involves refunding those who have paid water charges to date."


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