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Water charges will cost families more than €400 a year - Fianna Fáil

The party has launched a website claiming to give “the real cost of water charges”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyTIi7bYh6k

Source: Órla Ryan/TheJournal.ie

WATER CHARGES WILL cost families almost double the €240 government estimate, according to Barry Cowen.

Fianna Fái’s environment spokesperson has said that a family of five will face annual water charges of over €436, while a four-person household, where all residents are over 18 years of age, should expect charges of over €491 a year.

Cowen said Fine Gael and Labour had lied to the public about the issue.

“[The government] gave the impression that there was going to be an average charge of €240 and that unfortunately is far from being real and far from what is happening on the ground.”

Cowen was speaking at the launch of a new Fianna Fáil-backed website that tells the public “the real cost of water charges”.

He said the website was a “another step on our part in informing the public of the costs associated which haven’t been divulged in full by the government”.

Cowen remarked that the information the coalition had made public was dragged out of them “kicking and screaming”, and was false.

If you take a case of two adults, three children – one over 18 – you would see that the cost associated based on average consumption is almost €440. That’s a long way from €240. So in the absence of the government being upfront, being straight, being honest with the public as they had promised to be, it is incumbent on me and my party insofar as we can to inform the public of what is really happening.

He said that Taosieach Enda Kenny’s claim that the charges would be higher under Fianna Fáil was “simply untrue”.

“Our system would not have included the ridiculous costs associated with [Irish Water]” he said, adding that his party would have halved the rate of leaks, which stands at 40 per cent.

Cowen went on to describe Irish Water, the body overseeing water charges, as a “bonus-driven, super quango”.

Figures on the website state that a one-parent family with two children will pay more than €250 a year, while a two-person house with modest use of water that will pay approximately €205 a year.

Money Guide Ireland said these figures were based on “overly high usage assumptions” and has produced an alternative guide.

Party leadership

Cowen said he did not see any issue with his brother Brian, the former Taoiseach, campaigning with MEP Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher recently.

He said his brother was  a “long standing friend and colleague” of Gallagher’s and added that he would do the same for any Fianna Fáil candidate.

So does Cowen have any interest in following in his brother’s footsteps and becoming the leader of the party?

Not at all, for God’s sake. This is our first electoral test since the last election and that was a difficult one.

He stated that the party was focused on winning three seats in Friday’s European election.

You can’t expect overnight to be back in government and we don’t, of course. We want to regain the trust of the electorate and if we regain the trust of the electorate we have some hope of regaining the support of the electorate.

He said he could not answer why Sinn Féin have had a recent surge in popularity, saying this was a question for voters.

“I could give you a history of Sinn Féín and it wouldn’t make for happy reading but, I mean, they’re a political entity and they’re entitled to seek support in whatever fashion they want.”

Related: Guess who’s back? Brian Cowen hits the campaign trail in Tullamore

Read: Hogan: ‘Water pressure will be turned down to a trickle for people who don’t pay’

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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