‘It’s another stealth tax’
MANY homeowners already trying to cope with property and septic tank charges don’t have the financial resources to pay water charges set for introduction in 2014.
Irish Water will collect fees for water for more than 1.3 million households, with the average bill amounting to €370 a year.
Gerry O’Neill, Sinn Féin representative for west Wicklow, describes the water charges as another form of ‘stealth tax’ and recalls a mass campaign against water charges in the 1980s.
‘I campaigned against the water charges in the 1980s which would have seen people living in west Wicklow charged for water, while houes-holders in Dublin receiving water from the same supply were exempt. This latest charge is just another form of taxation. People have paid increased VAT down through the years which should cover any need for a future water charge.’
He also has doubts over the reliability of meters considering how dated much of the systems are which supply households with water.
‘Water meters have already been fitted to commercial businesses and can prove to be very indiscriminate with their readings. The supplies are old and often involve leaky, lead piping. In some instances a business may only be getting 50 per cent of the water they are actually being charged for.’
Mr O’Neill would like to see the money being spent on the installation of water meters going toward supply improvement works or upgrades.
‘ The money saved could be put into proper connections and re-piping.’