Doubts over waste water fine proposal

Doubts over waste water fine proposal

The European Commissioner for the Environment Karmenu Vella has exhibited doubts that a proposal for waste water fines will comply with EU law.

The proposal to impose fines on people wasting water will be presented at the Dáil this Tuesday.

RTÉ's The Week in Politics have seen a letter where Mr Vella expressed his doubts to Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes.

The letter can be viewed here.

RTÉ reports that Mr Hayes called on the European Commission to set out its legal view on water charges to the Oireachtas Committee.

"I put the question to Commissioner Vella about whether Fianna Fáil’s submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Water proposing fines for 'wilful abuse of water' would ensure compliance with the EU Water Framework Directive," said Mr Hayes.

“On the basis of this letter from Commissioner Vella, it is my view that we need to have some form of water charges that applies the polluter pays principle but also provides a reliable revenue stream. There has been way too much politicking around water. We need to do what is right for the consumer and what is right for our water supply system."

Sinn Féin spokesperson on water Eoin Ó Broin has described the contents the letter as “extremely revealing”.

“Yet again Fine Gael and the European Commission are trying to influence the work of the Oireachtas Water Committee. Despite the fact that Minister Coveney set the Committee up to ‘take the heat’ out of the water debate, his party and their allies in the Commission are seeking to apply inappropriate pressure to shape the outcome of the Committee’s work," he said.

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