Belfast Telegraph

Irish water charges: Homes to be capped at €160 from next April

Irish homes will begin to get water bills capped at 160 euro from next April, the Dublin Government has confirmed.

After months of confusion and increasingly heated street demonstrations over the latest austerity tax, the Republic's Environment Minister Alan Kelly admitted mistakes in its calamitous introduction.

"We, as a Government, have made mistakes but now we face a critical choice," he said.

"Put simply, we now have a choice that is based on either short-term emotion and anger or long-term prudence and common sense.

"Anger is never a good starting point for a key decision."

Under the controversial scheme, householders will be liable for charges of 160 euro for single-adult homes and 260 euro for all other homes.

But water conservation grants of 100 euro a year mean the effective costs will be 60 euro and 160 euro respectively, Mr Kelly confirmed.

The charges, liable from January 1, will remain the same for four years.

Following angry protests targeting senior Government ministers in recent days, a national demonstration against the "tap tax" is being planned for December 10.

Irish police are investigating a bomb threat to the Environment Minister's office as tensions heighten over the introduction of water charges.

A woman caller phoned Environment Minister Alan Kelly's constituency office in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, at around 9am this morning to deliver the "menacing and threatening" warning, his spokesman said.

The caller warned the female staff member: "We'll bomb you f******."

The minister's spokesman said the staff member was left shaken by the experience and contacted the Garda to make a formal complaint.

Two detectives have taken a statement and the incident is being investigated.

The woman called did not claim to represent any group or organisation but made clear the threat was linked to the  levy for water.

A Garda spokesman said it would not discuss the individual security arrangements of an elected representative but confirmed an incident was being investigated.

A Government spokesman said the previous environment minister had received a bullet in the post and threats to burn his house down over a previously introduced levy, the household charges.

The torching of two Cork County Council water services vans in Bantry, west Cork, over the weekend is being linked by some to the growing fall-out over water charges.

Tanaiste (deputy prime minister) Joan Burton was trapped in her ministerial car for around two hours on Saturday when she came under siege from anti-water charge protesters in Jobstown, west Dublin.

The Labour leader had been speaking at a graduation ceremony and was surrounded by demonstrators as she attempted to leave.

Two teenagers were arrested at the scene. One was released without charge while the other was charged with public order offences.

Mounting protests - including the taking to the streets by 150,000 people around the country earlier this month - reflect widespread anger at the latest austerity measure imposed on Irish citizens.

Full details of water charges changes

New capped annual charges:

Cost to single adult households will be €60 and for other households it will be no more than €160.

There will be specific legislative provision to allow for capped charges to continue to be set from 2019 onwards.

€100 grant:

All eligible households will receive a Water Conservation Grant of €100 per year; This means that the net cost to single adult households will be €60; For other households it will be no more than €160.

Pay half if only getting water in or out:

Households with either a water supply only or sewage only service will pay 50pc of the new rates;

Metered usage:

Metered usage can bring charges below the relevant cap. The children’s allowance remains at 21,000 litres per annum and will apply to all persons resident in a property aged under 18 irrespective of whether the child qualifies for Child Benefit, meaning children will continue to go free;

Metered Bills:

For metered bills, the charge for water in/out is reduced to €3.70 per 1,000 litres - almost 25% lower than the previous subsidised rate;

Self-declaration:

The system is based on self-declaration and appropriate audit.

PPS numbers:

PPS Numbers will not be required for registration. 

Billing starts:

The starting date for domestic water charging is being pushed back to 1 January 2015, with first bills to issue from April 2015;

Unfit water:

In cases where water is unfit for human consumption, the affected customers will receive a 100% discount on the costs of their drinking water supply for the duration of the restriction. Therefore, customers will only be required to pay for the sewage treatment.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph