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Dublin: 12 °C Friday 6 December, 2019
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35% of people would pay water charges if they were brought in now

The results are based on an opinion poll carried out by Amarách Research for RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live/TheJournal.ie.

Water protest march through Dublin city in September 2016.
Water protest march through Dublin city in September 2016.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

35% OF PEOPLE have said they would pay water charges if they were brought in tomorrow.  

According to an opinion poll carried out by Amarách Research for RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live/TheJournal.ie, 55% of respondents agreed they would not pay for water charges if they were introduced in 2019. 

A further 10% of people said they didn’t know if they would pay the charges now. There was little difference between men and women, with 5% more women than men saying they wouldn’t pay the charges now. 

Different age groups disagreed on whether they would pay. 24% of those aged 18-24 said they would pay the charges, while nearly half of those aged 55 and up said they would be willing to pay.

In terms of geography, 31% of people from Dublin were in favour of paying the charges but in the rest of Leinster, this figure was 37%. 

Domestic water charges were introduced in Ireland in 2014 on a consumption-based charging system, but for many people in the country they were the norm until they were scrapped in 1997. 

The average charge per household would be around €240 a year, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan announced in May 2014. By October that year, opposition to the charges had grown and around 50,000 people marched against them in Dublin. 

In November, a large crowd gathered at the now-renowned Jobstown protest in which Joan Burton (Tánaiste at the time) was trapped in her car for over two hours by the protesters. 

That month, the new Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly said on RTÉ’s Six One news that legislation for the charges was “rushed through the Dáil” which shouldn’t have happened.

The charges were suspended in 2016 and a parliamentary committee further recommended that they be abolished. 

61% of people paid their water charges at the end of the third billing cycle (six-month period), Irish Water said in January 2016. 44% paid at the end of the first period and 55% at the end of the second. 

Recently, two large-scale boil water notices in the Greater Dublin Area were issued due to problems with heavy rain and the disinfection process for drinking water at the Leixlip Water Treatment Plant. 

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