Meters or no meters, there will be water charges in 2014 the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan has vowed.
The Minister was responding to a question from Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen during Question Time. When pressed on the subject further by Deputy Cowen and Deputy Joe Higgins, the Minister added “as the Deputy knows from the troika agreement, water charges are to be introduced in 2014. That is what the previous Government negotiated.”
“We have abandoned our economic sovereignty thanks to the policies pursued by our predecessors and we are doing our best to sort it out,” he said. “An independent assessment was carried out by PwC on behalf of the Department to establish which semi-State body would be appropriate... Its independent recommendation, which was subsequently approved by the Government, was that Bord Gais Éireann had the best synergy to deal with the issues because it was already involved in dealing with utility customers.” In addition to this, he said, procurement documentation is being drawn up and it must be done in a way that is legal and according to EU tendering arrangements.
Deputy Higgins urged that the Minister “fix the leaks in the State” as he felt it was a better option than to “waste money” on meters. The Minister replied that they would address the issue of leaks.