A large protest rally is expected in Buncrana this Sunday against the proposed water charges.
The protest has been organised by Sinn Fein and members of the public have been invited to voice their protests.
Local SF Chairman, Ciaran McLaughlin said local party members will hold a number of protests against the imposition of water charges this Sunday 28th September at the Eddie Fullerton Dam, Illies at 2pm and later at the Market Square, Buncrana at 3pm.
Mr McLaughlin said “Sinn Féin will continue to campaign against water charges and stand with those who oppose this unfair tax.
“We opposed the establishment of Irish Water/ Uisce Eireann. We believe the money currently being spent on installing water meters should be re-directed into improving the antiquated water infrastructure, which is losing up to 40% of water in Donegal as a result of leaks”.
“Water is a basic human right. Charging twice for water is wrong and Sinn Féin will resist it in Donegal and the rest of the 26 Counties as we did in the north. This is an issue which we will continue to be vocal on in local councils and in the Dáil.
He added that sadly, this Government have thrown huge amounts of public money at Irish Water. They have received:
· €450 million from the National Pension Reserve Fund to install meters
· €600 million from the motor tax fund
· €240 million from the last budget
· €400 million from the Local Property Tax
· Tens of millions of euro of public money spent on private consultants
He continued “Fine Gael and Labour don’t have a clue. They have no idea what it is like for the vast majority of families out there who are struggling to survive. Many are living on less than €10 a week after bills are paid, they cannot afford to pay hundreds of euro a year for water.
“Sinn Féin has made our position clear. We are opposed to water charges and we will reverse them in government. We have a strong track record on this issue. It was Sinn Féin Minister Conor Murphy who blocked domestic water charges in the North.
“There is no acceptable reason for water charges. The government has a choice. They can either continue to help those at the top or they can ease the burden on struggling families. Sinn Féin has produced detailed costed proposals to prove there is an alternative to water charges.”
Meanwhile Donegal Sinn Féin TDs Pearse Doherty and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn have stated that Sinn Féin in government will scrap water charges.
They added that the public already pay for water through general taxation and that it is deeply unfair to heap the charge onto the shoulders of ordinary people who have borne the cost of austerity.
They were speaking after the launch of Sinn Fein’s vision for water services today.
The two local Deputies said “Sinn Féin in government will reverse water charges. These charges will only cause further hardship for families already struggling to make ends meet.
“Bills for domestic water use will be issued from January in respect of the last quarter of this year. Effectively, the government will start double-charging households for water from the start of next month.
“The average charge will be around €280. It beggars belief that this Government thinks that people can absorb yet another stealth tax for what is an essential service.
“Water should be paid for through exchequer funding, non-domestic water charges, and the Local Government Fund. Sinn Fein would stop the roll-out of metering and invest in our water infrastructure by redirecting €539m from the national pension reserve fund towards a capital investment programme. This would include fixing the massive leakage problem and interruption to supply across the state”.