Taoiseach: Those who refuse to pay water bills are being unfair

Taoiseach: Those who refuse to pay water bills are being unfair

The Taoiseach has said that people who refuse to pay the Water Charge are not being fair to those who do.

Enda Kenny said he supports Environment Minister Alan Kelly's bid to ensure everyone pays their water bills, but again refused to say if people will be taken to court if they refuse to pay.

He said that it is not fair for some people to reject their bills if others are happy to pay them.

"They have a sense that this is an important element of our country moving forward," he said.

"And for those who decide that they won't pay, they're not being fair to those who understand that water is a precious commodity - to have high-quality water, to have proper sewage schemes, requires investment on a major scale and it cannot be done under the discredited system that we've had for the last 40 years."

Earlier today, Minister Kelly said that water charges would be deducted from people's salary or benefits if they do not pay voluntarily.

The Right2Water campaign said the Government is panicking in the wake of last Saturday’s massive demonstration in Dublin.

“If Irish Water itself is given powers to attach earnings, this would undermine the ‘market corporation rule’ and would effectively mean that Irish Water is on the Government books – which makes a nonsense of the stated reasons for establishing Irish Water in the first place,” a statement from the group read.

“If the legislation merely allows Irish Water to go to civil court, how does the Minister propose to enforce the distinction he drew last night between those who ‘can’t pay’ and those who ‘won’t pay’?

“And how can the Government continue touting these charges as ‘affordable’ if the Minister now says that provision will be made for those who can’t pay?

“Once again, the Government has been caught on the back foot not only by the massive numbers who came out on Saturday in opposition to water charges, but also by the realisation that they will be dealing with a high level of non-compliance.”

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