New water legislation must be fair to Rural Ireland - Farrell

Fine Gael councillor, Tom Farrell, has called for the people of rural Ireland currently on Group Water Schemes or private connections to be treated fairly in respect of any new water legislation introduced.

Addressing the chamber at Monday's meeting of the Municipal District, Cllr Farrell said it is very important that rural Ireland is not forgotten about as the Water Committee finalise its recommendations.

"A large part of Ireland pay for water already either via private well connection or Group Schemes," he said. "Those who suggest we pay for water through our General Taxation ignore this or else they are promoting inequality by asking Rural Ireland to pay twice, firstly by their connection and secondly by taxation. This is fundamentally unfair."

Mayor of Athlone, John Dolan, said he has his own well at a cost of €1,500 to €2,000 per annum. He said many people presume water is free, and would be shocked at the cost of it to some people.

Sinn Féin councillor, Paul Hogan, said discussions are currently ongoing in the Dáil about the possibility of a rebate scheme for rural dwellers, something he supports fully.

It was resolved that a letter will be sent to the Department for Housing, Planning and Local Government.

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