Decision on water-charge refunds 'within three months'

The Government says a decision on whether to reimburse people who paid their water charges will have to be made by the Special Oireachtas Committee within three months.

The Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar says he is against repayment , while Finance Minister Michael Noonan said last night that tax revenues had increased and so made repayment affordable.

The Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald told the Dáil earlier that everyone must be treated fairly.

Former Junior Minister and chair of the Fine Gael parliamentary party Tom Hayes said fairness meant repaying those who had paid the charges 'in good faith'.

"People that paid their water charges in good faith because they knew it was the lie of the land at the time...should be treated fairly and equitably, and that means paying back those people who paid for water," he said.

"That money should be reimbursed to them. There's no other way out of this."

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