Kirk fights meter cost

Fianna Fáil deputy Seamus Kirk has described as ‘ludicrous’ the Government’s plans to charge households for the installation of water meters. Deputy Kirk has vowed to oppose any attempts to push the cost of installing water meters directly onto households in mid-Louth and across the county.

Fianna Fáil deputy Seamus Kirk has described as ‘ludicrous’ the Government’s plans to charge households for the installation of water meters. Deputy Kirk has vowed to oppose any attempts to push the cost of installing water meters directly onto households in mid-Louth and across the county.

“The notion that the Government would force households to pay for the privilege of charging them further for their water use is ludicrous,” said Deputy Kirk.

“First it was reported at that households would be asked to pay e300 up front for their water meters. This was simultaneously confirmed and denied at the highest levels of Government. Now we hear that instead of an upfront charge, households will have to pay the cost of installation over a 20 year period at more than double the cost.

“If Fine Gael and Labour think that this will somehow soften the blow, they are gravely mistaken. Whether it is an upfront cost or an annual cost over 20 years, households here in Co Louth cannot be expected to pay for water meters to be installed in their homes so that they can then be charged for their water use.

“The lack of any clear answer from ministers this week on whether households will have to pay for water meters to be installed proves that the Government has no meaningful strategy on water reform. Already we are seeing worrying similarities with the communications disaster that surrounded the household charge. This is the absolute wrong way to begin a debate on such an important issue, and it does not bode well the future.

“The provision of water and wastewater services and how they are paid for is a massive issue. The conflicting messages from the Government this week are causing real concern for families in Louth who are already seriously struggling to pay their household bills. The Government must take control of it immediately and be honest with people about what is coming down the line. If this is not handled properly, the government will face a greater crisis,” he said.