Fianna Fáil Deputy for Roscommon-Galway, Eugene Murphy, has welcomed the deal to end water charges following agreement of a report from the special Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services.
The agreement means that 92 per cent of households will not pay any charges and the remaining 8 per cent will have a chance to fix any leaks and reduce usage before being subject to fines for over-usage.
“Fianna Fáil has now closed off the possibility of water charges and we have secured in writing the deal which was originally agreed two weeks ago before the Fine Gael leadership race intervened,” Deputy Murphy said.
“Under the deal agreed, excess use or wilful abuse of water will be set at 1.7 times the average daily use of each individual. The expert and agreed view is that in Ireland the average daily use of an individual is 133 litres. It is important to point out that only a tiny fraction of the population will pay extra for water.
“They are households who are seen as water wasters and use more than 1.7 times the average amount. The regulator said the average use per household was 345 litres per day, based on an average household of 2.6 people, and this is a very generous allowance.”
Under the terms of the agreement households that use more than 589 litres of water a day (1.7 times the average amount ) will be the only ones who will be targeted for extra charges or levies. There will be allowances for bigger families and those in exceptional circumstances.
“Water charges failed and actually cost the State money,” Deputy Murphy added. “After a series of over 12 U-turns the Government actually lost money on domestic water tariffs, and in 2015 over 45 per cent of people did not pay water bills. Water services will be funded through exchequer funding and households who have paid their bills will be refunded.
“So many middle income earners have paid so much extra taxation over the past seven years in terms of the USC charge, property tax, and an increase in VAT, so exchequer funding can adequately pay for water services rather than imposing more charges on cash-strapped families.“