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You'll be charged for your water from October 2014 (if the Troika agree)

Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin want Troika approval to start charging from October 2014, with the first bills in 2015.

IRELAND WILL ASK the visiting Troika inspection team for approval to delay the introduction of water charges until October 2014 – with the first bills not due to arrive in homes until 2015.

Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin will ask the inspectors from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund – who arrived in Dublin this week for their latest quarterly inspection – for permission to push back the rollout.

Ireland’s plans would see the charges take legal effect from October 2014, with customers charged at the end of every quarter – meaning the first bills would not arrive in homes until January 2015.

Enda Kenny revealed the plans in the Dáil this morning, saying the plans would depend on the ministers “making that case to the Troika”.

The disclosure comes only days after the latest European Commission report on Ireland’s bailout progress said the “course now appears firmly set” to introduce water charges in “early 2014″.

That report noted, however, that there was still “significant uncertainty” about the water charges regime, given that the authorities had not yet decided when they cut off financial support for Irish Water, the body set up to collect the charges.

It also noted that the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) had not yet been given the legal power to regulate water supply, which Kenny today said would be contained in legislation brought forward this autumn.

Kenny’s comments did not indicate whether Ireland would still ask the CER to undertake a public consultation to decide how much it should charge for water, a pledge which the Troika update said was to begin by June and be concluded by December.

In the Dáil, Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin – who had asked when the CER would be given legal responsibility for water – noted that the delay of the water charges would mean the first charges would not come until after the local elections in May 2014.

Read: Gilmore: Water charges will not be introduced next January

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Gavan Reilly

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