Tánaiste defends plans to deduct Irish Water bills from wages

Tánaiste defends plans to deduct Irish Water bills from wages

The Tánaiste is defending the Government's controversial new plans to deduct unpaid Irish Water bills from wages and welfare payments.

Joan Burton said the measure is long overdue, because it will stop people from going to jail for unpaid bills.

She said the rules are designed to make sure that people who refuse to pay water bills or other utilities cannot avoid the consequences.

"We know there are a lot of deputies in this house, and they earn, roughly, gross, over €80,000," she told the Dáil earlier.

"I think they're people that can afford to pay, but we know from the record of the House that they won't pay – they want everyone else to pay form them. That's not acceptable."

Opposition parties say the new rules will turn the Government and other agencies, like private landlords, into "pickpockets".

"It's sneaky, and it's a cowardly proposition in the face of mass public opposition to your water tax," Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald said earlier.

"That such a Thatcherite policy is being introduced by Labour Party ministers makes it all the more despicable," she said.


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