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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 19 February, 2019
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President Michael D Higgins has signed the Water Services Bill

Water charges are now the law of the land.

The President says he 'considered all aspects of the Bill'.
The President says he 'considered all aspects of the Bill'.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has signed the Water Services Bill 2014.

The President says he gave “careful consideration to all aspects of the Bill and the submissions he received” before rubberstamping the bill today,.

On Christmas Eve, 49 TDs and senators had written to the President asking him to refer the bill to the Council of State and the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality.

In a reply, the President said he would consider whether he felt any aspects of the bill were unconstitutional. The President said he did consider referring the bill to the Council of State but his signing today means he did not feel this was necessary.

Had President Higgins any questions about the bill’s constitutionality, he could have presented it to the Council of State and then onwards to the five-judge Supreme Court which would have had sixty days to respond.

President Higgins previously convened the Council of State when presented with the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill in 2013.

There had been suggestions that those opposed to the bill would request the President put the issue to a referendum but the Office of the President pointed out that it wouldn’t apply here as the Bill has already been passed through both the Dáil and Seanad.

This was repeated by the President in a statement today.

Read: Senators start campaign to have a referendum on the Water Services Bill >

Read: Amid claims of drunkenness, the Seanad has voted to pass the Water Services Bill >

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Rónán Duffy

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