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Nothing left to give back: Coveney says water charges money already spent

A member of the water committee said that people who have paid for water shouldn’t be given their money back, as that would make them feel like fools.

Image: RollingNews.ie

THE GOVERNMENT HAS retreated from the idea of simply returning the money that was paid for water, because that money has already been spent.

The government is at a standstill over how to fund Irish Water after mass protests and a boycott of the charges imposed for water usage.

A recent FactCheck by TheJournal.ie found that although the claim that around 73% of those subject to water charges did not pay them is unproven, the number is likely to be quite close to that mark.

Speaking at a launch in Sligo last night, Minister for Planning, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney told Ocean FM:

All of that money [from water charges] has gone into water infrastructure and fixing water infrastructure.

“People who paid their water charges did the right thing, and we should not make a fool of them in anyway by simpling ignoring the fact that lots of people didn’t pay while they did pay.

“So we have to find a solution that treats people who did pay their water charges equally to those who didn’t. The work of the committee now needs to find a way of doing that.”

Kate O’Connell (Fine Gael), a member of the water committee spoke on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke this morning and said that she believed that the people who have paid for water shouldn’t be given their money back, as that would make them feel like fools for paying in the first place.

If I went out and I paid for a glass of wine, and I drank it and I went back the next day and asked for my money back, who would refund me?

She also said that water meterage was about finding out where leaks are in order to fix them, not about measuring how much each households use.

Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh, Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Water said earlier this morning:

“I am looking for a solution. I don’t have any history in this area. I will hope the committee will have the openness and focus, and from the ten or eleven members I’ve met, they’ve shown a significant integrity and honesty and openness.

The commission was to present its recommendations to the Special Oireachtas Committee by end of November of this year.

The Committee is to deliberate the findings and to report back to the Oireachtas where a vote will be held on their recommendations by end March 2017.

Read: FactCheck: How many people boycotted water charges?

Read: Poll: Should people who paid their water charges get their money back?

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