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"Massive non-payment of this charge is vital if we want to stop this beast"

Ruth Coppinger was speaking after yesterday’s impressive protest turnout.

Socialist TD Ruth Coppinger is advising those on the fence not to pay.
Socialist TD Ruth Coppinger is advising those on the fence not to pay.
Image: RTÉ screengrab

Updated 8.24 pm

SOCIALIST TD RUTH Coppinger has told people that deciding not to pay their water charge bill will help bring down Irish Water.

Speaking to RTÉ’s The Week in Politics after yesterday’s impressive protest turnout, Coppinger says that water charges are a “live issue”.

“In two weeks this will be an issue for everybody because 2 million bills will start coming in,” she said.

The Dublin West TD says protests show the issue hasn’t gone away but that, if people want to bring down Irish Water, widespread non-payment will make the utility financially unviable.

“Massive non-payment of this charge is vital if we want to stop this beast,” she argued, making a direct plea to people who are on the fence about paying.

“You can boycott the water charges for the next four bills, there is no penalty for that, so tactically you can make that decision.”

Water charge rules announced last year outlined that late payment penalties will be added to bills three months following a year of non-payment.

Speaking on the same programme, Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell says he doesn’t feel bringing down a utility by not paying bills is the right way to object to a political decision.

“Destabilising a utility like Irish Water, I don’t think that’s the right way to go about it at all,” he said. ”The government have made it clear that those who can’t pay will be distinguished from those who don’t pay.”

“There has been 50 years of failure of government to invest in the the water infrastructure,” he added.

af Alan Farrell TD say not paying isn't the way to express opposition.

Yesterday’s march comes as as it was revealed today that no minutes were kept of a series of meetings involving Irish Water officials.

The meetings without a written record include meetings between Irish Water managing director John Tierney and former ministers Pat Rabbitte and Phil Hogan.

A hour-long meeting with the garda commissioner also had no minutes taken.

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Pictures form yesterdays protests showed the prevalence of Greek flags and Coppinger says that there is a “kinship” among protesters across Europe.

“The Greek people have voted in the millions for an alternative to austerity and now unelected European bureaucrats in the banking system have effectively given two fingers to that vote, ” she claimed.

Farrell argued that the problems of Greece are not down to bureaucrats but stem in part from the country’s inability to collection taxation.

“I think it’s very clear that if the Greek government are to fulfill their mandate, their decision is to default or leave the European Union,” he added.

First published 1.59 pm

Read: What happens if I don’t pay my bill, and other questions for Irish Water  >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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