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Labour minister brands fixed water charges as "ridiculous"

Junior Minister Joe Costello said his party has a problem with Fine Gael’s water charges proposals.

Minister of State Joe Costello
Minister of State Joe Costello
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE COALITION RIFT over the implementation of water charges has continued today with a Junior Minister calling the prosed fixed charge “ridiculous”.

Labour Minister Joe Costello said that his party “had a problem” with the memo presented to cabinet last week.

It stated that the government’s projected average annual water charge for a household is €240 or €248 for a household with two children, including a standing charge, leading to a heated exchange.

“There was no detail ion relation to the issues that the Labour Party had raised”, he told RTÉ’s Saturday with Claire Byrne, such as extra allowances for those with an illness that requires the use of extra water.

The Minister of State for Trade and Development stressed that the most desirable system of water charges would be based “on use above a free allowance”.

“We have to find out what the free allowance is going to be”, he said, “it should be taken into account”.

An actual specific amount is ridiculous at this point in time.

The Minister also touched on Budget 2015, noting that cutting down the deficit ratio and maintaining a stable economy are the government’s main objectives.

“We would love to be able to cut taxes, we would love to be able to increase wages, perhaps that’s the way forward,” he said, but that these can only be addressed in the run-up to the Budget.

Tánaiste: If there’s one thing I can’t be accused of, it’s making decisions that court popularity >

Labour: We have ‘substantive differences’ with Fine Gael over water charges >

Read: Taoiseach confirms water bills will be around €240, but nothing signed off on yet >

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Nicky Ryan

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