Labour welcomes delay of water charges

Labour welcomes delay of water charges

Cllr Niall McNelis

Labour councillors have welcomed the announcement earlier this week by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore that water charges will not be introduced next year.

Chairperson of the Labour Councillors Association, Niall McNelis said: “Labour councillors met in Gorey last week, and at that meeting, we made the point that thanks to the introduction of the local property tax, people were already facing major increases in taxation this year and next.

“There has been a long standing commitment to link water charges, to consumption levels as required by EU law. As a party it has always been our belief that there should also be a free basic allocation per household, above which people could then be charged.

“Our current problem has a risen largely as a result of massive under-investment in water infrastructure during the Celtic Tiger years. That was precisely when funds should have been allocated to improve supply and replacement of damaged water distribution infrastructure but it never happened. Unfortunately, we are playing catch-up and now have to spend money in this area, but taxation for that purpose has to be linked to need and consumption levels.

“Given the lead in time before an effective water metering system could be rolled out, there is no justification for water taxes before 2015.”

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