Friday, 29 November 2013

Free Water for everyone

I welcome the announcement last night by Minister Joe Costelloe TD, at a public meeting in Cabra, that there will be “free water for everyone” when domestic water meters are introduced. Minister Costelloe advised residents, who are concerned over increased charges for less services, that they need not worry about charges for water when the domestic meters are installed because “a political decision has been taken by the government that there will be free water for everyone”. This is very welcome news to all hard-pressed homeowners and I welcome this announcement.

I am concerned however that this announcement might end up being another Labour “promise” that is broken as quick as it is made. Everyone knows that currently commercial water users pay not only for water usage but also for the meter. Can it really be that the Government is going to charge homeowners nothing for installing water meters and supplying water ? It begs the question what is the point of setting up Irish Water? Of transitioning water services from Dublin City Council to Irish Water ?

Myself and my colleagues are concerned that while Minister Costelloe is promising free water for everyone Minister Hogan is still pressing ahead with his crazy plan to transfer water services from Dublin City Council to Irish water on January 1, 2014. This is less than five weeks away and the City Manager has told Councillors that he is extremely concerned that key issues to do with the proposed transition remain uncertain. As a consequence of this uncertainty the City Council is now facing an unprecedented financial crises. The City Council is unable to finalise its €800million budget for 2014 because the Minister has failed to tell the City Council how much funding, if any, it will have next year.

I call on Minister Hogan to stop hiding from this issue and tell Dublin City Council how much funding it will have in 2014 so that we can keep the city open for business over the Christmas and into the New year. Mary