Sinn Féin’s Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has expressed his concerns that the government’s issuing of €100 rebates on water charges could see the funding model for Irish Water failing to meet EU rules for market competition.
The TD for Donegal South-West has said that such a situation would mean that the €100 rebate on water charges could be removed at any time.
Deputy Doherty said: “I believe that, with the €100 conservation grant, the government is skating on thin ice as regards meeting Eurostat rules on market competition.
“Earlier this year, I queried the government’s classification of a €240m investment in Irish Water as a capital investment which would have allowed this money to be kept off balance sheet. The government repeatedly assured me that they were confident Eurostat would accept their classification. Only two days ago, Minister Noonan confirmed to me that he had failed and that that investment was back on the State’s books.
“The government has failed once already to convince Eurostat on Irish Water. Another failure on this issue will mean the carrot of the €100 rebate will be at risk and could be removed at any time.
“This is a genuine fear. It shows that, in its scrambling to come up with an idea to entice people into supporting Irish Water, the government may have created an even bigger mess.
“Ultimately this scrambling will not convince people. The demand for the abolition of water charges has not been diluted. Nothing announced this week will change minds. The government must stop saying that it is listening and instead show it’s actually listening by scrapping water charges.”