South Monaghan Sinn Fein Councillor, Matt Carthy, has described the government proposal to bill households for the huge cost of installing water meters as ‘absolute lunacy’ and said that any attempt to enforce such a charge will be fiercely resisted.
Cllr. Carthy said “Fine Gael and Labour must be deluded if they cannot see that many ordinary families are already struggling to make ends meet. I am talking to people on a daily basis who are finding it difficult to meet mortgage payments, electricity and gas bills and the other costs associated with running a home. For those who have not already reached breaking point the very notion of an additional charge will be devastating.
“The news that the government wants to charge for the installation comes on top of mounting opposition to septic tank and household charges.
“The government should have learned by now that people cannot accept any more stealth charges. The reports this week show that Fine Gael TD’s have no idea of the hardship faced by their constituents. The suggestion that the householder will be forced to pay for the full cost of installing water meters is lunacy. This is before householders receive any bill for use of water and proves that this measure is more about collecting moneys to pay-off banks and bondholders that it is about water conservation.
“For the record Sinn Fein fully supports the upgrading of the water system. With leakages up to 40%, investment should be the priority.
Sinn Fein believes that water metering and water charges are wrong. They will do little to prevent the water crisis this country faces. What we require is investment and an all island approach to water conservation”.
Cllr. Carthy continued: “The installation of water metering is costly and hugely disruptive. Yet it will do nothing to improve our water system. Neighbourhood metering is a far more cost effective measure which should be rolled out across the board”.