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Varadkar apologises over water charges confusion

The Transport Minister has apologised over the Government’s handling of the issue, adding that charges will not be applied for at least another two years.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE TRANSPORT MINISTER Leo Varadkar has apologised for confusion surrounding new domestic water charges, and has clarified that the charges will not be introduced for at least another two years.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, Varadkar admitted that the Government’s handling of the issue had been poor, and recognised that people were currently struggling with an increased cost of living.

Varadkar insisted that charges would not “come into play” for at least another two years, echoing an earlier statement by Environment Minister Phil Hogan’s insisting there will be no charge for the installation of the meter and the first bills for water services will be delivered in 2014.

Varadkar admitted that metering will not be able to be applied to about 20 per cent of older houses across the country. He said that, instead of installing meters in such buildings, an estimate would be calculated based on the size of the house and the number of people living in it.

Earlier in the week, estimates from the Department of the Environment showed that just 300,000 homes would not be fitted with water meters during the initial installation phase this year.

A spokesperson for the department told TheJournal.ie while several hundred thousand homes would not receive meters during the first phase of installation, that number would “come down significantly” over the next few years.

However, the spokesperson added that the installation of meters is ultimately a matter for Irish Water– the State body yet to be established to oversee the delivery of water services across Ireland.

Government insists only 300,000 homes won’t have meters>

Tánaiste defensive as government accused of being ‘outrageously deceptive’>

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