Water charges will lead to ‘water poverty’ - Colr. McLaughlin

Councillor Ciaran McLaughlin has stated the government’s introduction of measures to give effect to water charges could lead to water poverty in Donegal

The Buncrana councillor said his party was so concerned about the impact of these charges they had submitted amendments to delay introduction of water charges subject to a poverty impact analysis, to seek an alternative to the Irish water body, to exempt certain categories of people on low incomes from payment of water charges,and to stop the introduction of water charges.

The Buncrana Town Councillor said: “Most householders simply cannot afford a further utility bill.

“This is a further imposition on low and middle income earners, following on from the household charge, increases in VAT, the Universal Social Charge and the health levy - all the while the wealthiest in society are not being asked to pay their way.

“There are currently considerable incidence of fuel poverty,and energy poverty. If water charges aren’t stopped many will soon be water poor as well, and this will take its toll on people’s welfare and health.

He went on: “Domestic users already pay for their water in this state; it is paid for through central taxation.The introduction of separate water charges is an attempt to get the public to pay for their water twice, once in their taxes and at a second time through the water meter.

“Water metering does not reduce water consumption.In England,where water metering has been in place for many years,consumption is at 158 litres per head per day,while in Dublin the Dublin Water Supply Report of 2008 showed consumption is at 148 litres per head per day.Colr Mc Laughlin concluded: “While Fianna Fail has expressed its opposition to the provisions of the bill,the reality is they signed up to water charges in the 2010 programme for National Recovery.

“These parties are wedded to the politics of privatisation,and of indirect, flat rate taxes. We, in Sinn Fein, are totally opposed to water charges, and will be opposing the introduction of such charges,”