Simon Coveney has said the money paid in water charges has already been spent on water infrastructure.
The former Minister for the Environment was responding to renewed calls for the fees to be refunded while the Government decides on how to fund the service into the future.
It remains unclear whether people who did not pay the charges will face fines or prosecution.
Speaking to Ocean FM in Sligo last night, Minister Coveney was asked where the money that was paid has gone.
"All of that money has gone into water infrastructure," he said.
"People who paid their water charges did the right thing and we should not make a fool of them in any way by simply ignoring the fact that lots of people didn’t pay, while they did pay.
"For me, we have to find a solution that treats people who did pay their water charges in an equal way to those who didn’t."