Donegal North East TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has called on the Government to clearly outline the true cost of water metering and water charges to households in Donegal and across the state.
The Sinn Féin TD was speaking after recent meetings with concerned water services staff in Donegal.
He said: “The government is committed to taking control of the water sector away from the 34 local authorities and handing it over to the newly established Irish Water company, operated by Bord Gáis. The cost of establishing and running this new company has never been made public because the government simply does not know how much it will cost.
“There is also no doubt that the quality of service to the public from our dedicated staff in Donegal County Council with their local knowledge and partnership with local communities will be seriously eroded by the handing over to this Dublin based private operation, Irish Water.
“Minister Phil Hogan has indicated that this is the biggest project since the establishment of the ESB and he wants to proceed without even knowing how much it will cost. According to the Local Authorities Professional Officers, this project will cost the tax payer €1.2 billion. The government are asking the public to write An Bord Gáis a blank cheque and the public will have to foot the bill.
“Sinn Féin opposes the establishment of Irish Water and the introduction of water metering.
“The government’s arguments in favour of water rates simply do not stand up. The evidence indicates that the establishment of Irish Water and the introduction of water rates is more about privatisation than about conservation. Water meters and water charges do not encourage conservation.
“What guarantees conservation is investing in the water sector, reducing the unacceptably high percentage of leaks and introducing water harvesting and dual flush systems as part of building regulations.
“Sinn Féin calls on the government to abandon its ill-fated plan to install domestic water meters and introduce water charges. The government should invest instead in upgrading our crumbling water system.”