‘It’s an­other stealth tax’

Bray People - - THE NOTEBOOK -

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.’

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