DONEGAL TD Padraig Mac Lochlainn has hit out at people misrepresenting his party’s position on water charges.
The Sinn Fein Deputy was speaking as an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 people brought Dublin to a standstill on Saturday in protest at the water tax.
While some platform speakers called for people not to pay the charges, Deputy Mac Lochlainn said the Right2Water protest’s official position is that each householder should make their own decision.
He also said he would not be returning the Irish Water forms to the company.
“There has been some confusion around Sinn Féin’s position on water charges over recent days. It has also been misrepresented by those yet again seeking division and short term political gain for themselves,” said Deputy Mac Lochlainn.
He insisted: “Be very clear though. Those families who choose not to pay or those who simply cannot pay will have the full solidarity and support of Sinn Féin.”
Sinn Fein says it will axe water charges if it gets into government in 2016.
In an online debate, Deputy Mac Lochlainn said he and his family had decided not to return the Irish Water forms which must be returned by the end of this month.
“It’s not the individual person but the family that must make that financial decision. Many families will reluctantly decide to pay voluntarily in order to avoid hundreds of euro more of a bill because they were stung before on the household charge and property tax protest,” he said.
“Our household has decided not to return the form and not to pay voluntarily. But it shouldn’t be divide and conquer.
“Just because some families reluctantly pay does not mean that they are not opposed to the water charges and are excluded from joining protests like the one yesterday.
“Many people who travelled to the protest yesterday may reluctantly pay.”