Water charges are “unlikely” to be returned, the leader of Fianna Fáil has declared, ahead of a special commission deciding on the future of water services and how they should be funded writes Juno McEnroe.
Micheál Martin also confirmed his party will not back Sinn Fein motion in the Dail next week to abolish water charges, even though Fianna Fáil wants to ultimately scrap bills for households.
He was speaking at the opening of the Fianna Fáil pre-Dail conference, which begins today in Carlow.
A government-appointed commission on water charges is due to produce a report on the future of managing services in November, after which an Oireachtas committee will examine the issue.
Mr Martin said that charges, currently frozen, were ultimately unlikely to be reintroduced down the line.
He said that no motion could scrap water charges and that only a Dail 'money' bill could abolish billing.
He said the supply and confidence deal with Fine Gael has “essentially got rid” of water charges.
“The only way that water charges can be reintroduced is via legislation by this Dail and that is unlikely given the configeration of parties within the Dail.
He accused Sinn Fein, who are set to introduce a bill to scrap charges in the Dail next week, of “playacting” in relation to their motion.