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The Tánaiste and Joan Burton were in Temple Bar as Labour MEP Emer Costello handed in her nomination papers. Hugh O'Connell/

Gilmore: I find it hard to understand why people are blocking Irish Water from installing meters

The Tánaiste also said he would not be bound by any timetable on the Cabinet agreeing on how much people will have to pay.

TÁNAISTE EAMON GILMORE has said that he finds it hard to understand why Irish Water workers are being blocked from installing meters on some estates in Cork and Dublin this week.

Gilmore said he would have thought that people interested in getting their water bills to “as low a level as possible” would instead allow the installation of meters.

Protesters in Raheny are promising more upheaval for workers attempting to meter households in the Dublin suburb.

But the Tánaiste cannot understand the protests, saying: “Well I find them hard to understand because in fact the water meters are being installed to enable households to reduce what they will have to pay.”

He said that the whole basis of charging for water was that it would be based on metering and that households could conserve water and reduce their bills.

“I would have thought t hat people who are interested in getting the water charges to as low a level as possible – as we are – would be in favour of having meters,” he said.

When it was put to the Tánaiste that the protesters are likely to be against the principle of charging for water – as he once was – he insisted that water has to be paid for.

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He said: “We all know that water has to be paid for and we want to ensure that we have a safe, clean, reliable supply of water for the next two decades or more.”

Gilmore was also asked about when voters can be expected to know how much they will pay and declined to say whether this would be before the local and European elections on 23 May.

He insisted: “I think it’s important that we get it right and we have been very clear that there are a number of issues that have to be resolved.

He added that he would not be bound by any timetable or a deadline which appears to have been set by the Environment Minister Phil Hogan of agreeing the matter at next week’s Cabinet meeting.

“Were going to insist on getting it right. We’re not going to be bound by any timetable. It’s a question of getting right and we have to ensure that we deal with the issue of households that won’t be metered, deal with the issue of ability to pay,” he said.

Gilmore also said that he would still like to get the matter dealt with “quickly” adding that it “should have been dealt with months ago”.

Read: Protesters have ‘all the time in the world’ to stop water meter work today

Read: Cork residents halt meter installation as stand-off with Irish Water continues

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