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'One daily shower and one daily flush for children': Micheál Martin demands water charges review

Joan Burton says she expects CER ruling will rule out water charges for contaminated water.

THERE WAS A robust exchange in the Dáil between the Tánaiste Joan Burton and Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin over water charges today.

“There is real anxiety and fear out there about water charges,” said Martin, adding that there is a lot of confusion.

Charges 

He criticised the Government for committing that the average household would pay €240, only to increase it to €278.

You committed that children would be free and now we know they won’t be. One daily shower and one daily toilet flush, that’s all they get.

Martin again asked why people with contaminated water would have to pay for it.

dgsdghsg Source: Oireachtas TV

‘Hyper-political’

Burton accused Martin of being “cynical” and “hyper-political” stating that the Taoiseach had made it clear yesterday that the Commission of Energy Regulation (CER) would be producing a ruling on the matter, which she anticipated would be done “very quickly” and “will mean people on boil water notice will not have to pay for the delivery of water services”.

Martin also criticised the Government for not drawing up a list of medical conditions that would be exempt from the water charges.

He called on the Tánaiste to review the structure.

Burton hit back at Fianna Fáil and said that they had rowed back from their water charges proposals, saying “you obviously changed your mind in terms of where you are at now”.

She said that she would “spell it out” for Martin, stating that anyone on the household benefit package would get €100 per year, and this was specifically for pensioners, people with disabilities, cares and people in receipt of the domiciliary benefit. She said this would amount to 410,000 households and cost €42 million.

Ireland’s recovery

Burton argued that investment in water services is vital for economic recovery, creating investment to Ireland as well as job recovery.

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said it was “perverse” for the Tánaiste to suggest that another tax for water is “somehow an assistance” to the lower income families who cannot afford to pay.

“It was not so long ago that the Labour Party had a conscience and stance on the issue,” said McDonald, adding that the party had come a long way from their thinking that charging for water was wrong.

Opinion: The ripple effect of commodifying water – from Dublin to Detroit>

Read: Households with undrinkable water could be in line for a bigger discount>

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