Domestic water charges could be reintroduced at a later stage due to the wording of the latest proposals, according to the local Sinn Féin TD.
Deputy Brian Stanley said that the Fianna Fáil / Fine Gael “back room deal on domestic water” leaves the door open for the introduction of charges down the road.
“This latest Fianna Fáil U-turn leaves us with the likelihood of water charges being re-introduced further down the line. The excess limit will be lowered and then the allowance will be reduced which effectively will mean water bills by the back door.
“Despite all their promises they caved in to Fine Gael pressure in order to protect and maintain their dual status of Government prop and faux opposition party and to avoid an election,” he said.
Deputy Stanley said he introduced a bill to hold a referendum to stop the privatisation of water services and it was rejected at the time, “but FF/FG now accept this in yet another about-face”.
While the water metering programme is also scrapped, the Government wasted €470 million installing meters with only 58% of households done, he said.
“This fiasco is further proof that Fianna Fáil can’t be trusted. In 2010 Fianna Fáil agreed with the Troika that water charges should be introduced.
“Their 2014 election promise was to abolish Irish Water which they abandoned, and their new metering policy is a platform for future privatisation of water services,” Deputy Stanley said.
“The mass movement in Ireland against water charges sent a clear message to Government that water charges will not be tolerated and any attempt to introduce them by stealth will be answered through the ballot box at the next election,” he said.
The proposals published recently include provision for charging for ‘excessive usage’ and ‘levies’ which those opposed to water charges say leaves the door open for a reintroduction of bills at a later date.