‘We are all being charged three times’

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A Buncrana councillor has alleged that we are all being charged three times for water services but the government will not be sending out any bills until after the Local Government elections to ‘save the skins’ of Fine Gael and Labour councillors.

Speaking this week Councillor Ciaran McLaughlin said his party had opposed the property tax on the basis that it constituted another tax to raise revenue for the state, rather than a fund to pay for local government services.

He went on; “When the Local Property Tax (LPT) was passed, it was stated that it would go to provide for the upkeep of ‘parks, libraries, footpaths and public lighting.’

“That was stated at the time publically to get people to pay.

“It has now been shown, through the department’s own estimates that it will partly go to subventing a company that will itself be imposing an added financial burden on households by charging for water.”

Councillor McLaughlin explained that according to the estimates the property tax will bring in €550 million in 2014.

That will be collected into the Local government fund which will be raided to the tune of €490 million to pay for irish water.

That constitutes 28% of the funding that was meant to go to support local services such as roads and transport, both of which will now receive less in total than irish water.

He went on: “Not only does this contradict earlier claims regarding the uses of the property tax, it also proves that the department official who before Christmas stated that no part of the LPT would be used to set up irish water was being less than forthcoming with the facts.

“This only adds further to the murky waters that surround the establishment of this company.”

Councillor McLaughlin concluded that people were not full aware of just exactly what all this will mean for them.

“This will mean people will pay three times for their water.

“Firstly in general taxation, then through the public funds being invested in Irish Water and thirdly through water meter charges”.

“From October this year people will be billed for their water.

“They will be receiving their first water bills in January.

“By holding the bills over to the next year this is a deliberate attempt by the government to postpone posting the bills through already hard pressed taxpayers doors until after the local elections to try and save the skins of local Fine Gael and Labour government councillors