herald

Friday 24 May 2019

Half a million still not signed up for revised water bills

Protesters march against water charges in Dublin earlier this month. Photo: PA
Protesters march against water charges in Dublin earlier this month. Photo: PA

More than half a million homes still haven't registered for water bills despite becoming liable for charges from tomorrow, January 1.

Just 120,000 people registered themselves for the charges since the Government's dramatic climbdown on November 19 when it significantly reduced the size of water bills to be paid by the public.

Around 1.5m homes are believed to be liable to pay Irish Water for their supply. To date, around 950,000 have registered by returning their application packs.

By the end of the first seven days of November, when higher charges were still being proposed, 828,000 homes had registered.

By December 15, the numbers registered had risen to 950,000.

That represented an average daily increase since November 7 of 3,200.

An Irish Water spokesman said 25,800 people returned their registration packs to the company between November 22 and November 26, an average of 5,000 per day.

The lower charges are €160 for a home with one adult and €260 for a home with two or more adults. Water services for children remain free. A water conservation grant of €100 a year is available for those who apply.

Householders are requested to apply for the grant by the closing date of February 2. The first bills, covering the January to March period, will be posted in early April.

Blame

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he will not lay the blame on any one individual for the water charges fiasco.

Mr Kenny insisted the Government "collectively" made the decisions and he would not single out ministers or officials for the series of mistakes.

Government TDs claim controversies surrounding Irish Water and water charges were to blame for the dramatic slump in Government support.

Earlier this month, Environment Minister Alan Kelly criticised his predecessor Phil Hogan over his handling of the setting up of Irish Water.

Fine Gael sources claimed many of the controversies unfolded after Mr Hogan left the post.

"Ah, I don't lay blame," Mr Kenny said when asked about it.

"Collectively the Government made the decision to set up Irish Water ... discussed what was the best thing to do, how are you going to deal with all of these inefficiencies and lack of investment and all of that and the decision was to set up Irish Water."

Mr Kenny said it is "clear" that mistakes were made.

hnews@herald.ie

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