Excess Charges Plans May Spark Renewed Water Protests

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Spin over water charges not going to wash

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett has said that the spin surrounding the introduction of ‘excessive use charges’ is “not going to wash” and the public are fully aware that this is the latest attempt to keep the door open to the full reinstatement of water charges and to eventually privatise the water system.

He said that if ordinary people are targeted and expected to pay beyond what they already pay in general taxation for widespread leaks and damaged infrastructure it would spark renewed protests.

He said that if the government and Irish Water was so concerned about water conservation then the first thing they would have done is fix the antiquated pipes from the Victorian era which leak approximately 40% of water in to the ground before it has a chance to reach households.

He said: “Of course we need to encourage water conservation but the government are continually trying to put the emphasis on individuals rather than addressing the fundamental problem which is the antiquated and crumbling pipe system that we have from the Victorian era. The real water wasters are successive governments who have failed to invest in upgrading our decrepit water infrastructure which has led to these pipes leaking around 40% of water into the ground before it gets to our taps.

“It is so obvious that this is an attempt by the government to keep the door open to a full scale restoration of household water charges at some point in the future which would lead, eventually, to the privatisation of the system. They should realise that they were roundly beaten the last time. The government should be warned that any attempt to resurrect domestic water charges, by hook or by crook, could revive the movement against water charges which forced the government to back down the last time.

“People in this country already pay for water through general taxation, why should ordinary people who are already hard pressed be forced to pay twice for something?”