Taoiseach: 'I don't want to commit' to refunding water charges

Taoiseach: 'I don't want to commit' to refunding water charges

Taosieach Enda Kenny has said he "does not want to commit" to refunding water charges until after a special Oireachtas Committee looks into the issue, writes Elaine Loughlin, Irish Examiner Political Reporter in Palo Alto.

Fine Gael TDs and ministers are now split over whether to pay back the controversial water charges.

The Water Commission has this week recommended that generous allowances should be given to allow for normal household usage, which would be paid for by the State through general taxation.

However, an Oireachtas Committee will now examine the findings.

Speaking in Palo Alto, where he is due to visit multinationals Facebook and Apple, Mr Kenny said: "I think the first thing we have to do here is let the committee do its work.

"The Commission have reported so the committee will analyse the proposals and the findings and the recommendations and so on and it depends upon whether they come forward with a water charging regime and what that may be."

Taoiseach: 'I don't want to commit' to refunding water charges

He noted that this committee is not due to report back with its views and recommendations until next year and a vote would then take place in March.

"So it's too early to determine what the committee will do with the Commission report. And obviously the outcome of that will be important in the sense of what recommendations the committee will make in terms of a charging regime.

"So we'll let them do their work and see where the direction and the decision of the committee will be, which will come before the Dáil for a vote."

Asked whether he would rule out any refund Mr Kenny said: "I don't want to commit to anything now until such time as the committee is allowed to do its work."

After arriving in San Francisco yesterday Mr Kenny met with some of the relatives of the Berkeley balcony tragedy.

Speaking after the private meeting, the Taoiseach said: "I met with George and Jackie Donohoe who lost their daughter here and whose niece Olivia also died.

"We had a good conversation with them in respect of the Senate Bill 465 and what remains to be done and opportunities up ahead to make that more effective not just for California but eventually hopefully for other States as well."

It is understood that Mr Kenny met with around 30 relatives, friends and survivors of the tragedy in Government Buildings last week.

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