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Opposition TDs criticise govt for keeping people in the dark over water charges

Fianna Fáil also raised concerns about job security for the thousands of people currently employed in water services.

Image: John Stillwell/PA Wire

OPPOSITION PARTIES HAVE criticised the government for not giving enough information to householders about how much they will face in water charges, which are due to be introduced by 2014.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams described water charges as an “unacceptable stealth charge” on households and criticised the underlying agenda of privatisation of state assets.

Fianna Fáil also raised concerns about job security for the thousands of people currently employed in water and wastewater services.

“Instead of learning from the household charge fiasco, the Government has again created total confusion over water charges and has once again failed to communicate with the public,” said Fianna Fáil environment spokesperson Niall Collins.

The government yesterday announced the establishment of a new State body called Irish Water which will oversee the delivery of water services in Ireland.

It was made clear yesterday that contrary to some reports, there will be no upfront charges when meters are installed. The exact rates householders have to pay for water will be determined by Irish Water and the energy regulator.

Niall Collins criticised the government for not addressing questions raised by yesterday’s announcement and said that householders are still unclear on exactly how much money they will have to pay.

Householders are still in the dark  about what this will mean for them. Minister Hogan is pushing ahead with forcing households connected to the public water supply to pay €40 a year for water meter installation on top of the charges for their water use. Whether the charge is upfront or by installment, it is the same unfair and unacceptable principal of forcing people to pay for the privilege of charging them for their water.

The government has said that around 2,000 long-term construction jobs will be set up as part of the development of the water infrastructure, but hasn’t ruled out staff reductions, which it says will be a matter for Irish Water.

17 questions (and answers) about those new water charges >

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