Varadkar: Irish people will respond to water metering very well

Varadkar: Irish people will respond to water metering very well

Health Minister Leo Varadkar has hinted that the Government could extend the period of the assessed charge for water metering.

The government's Economic Management Council meets today to discuss water charges, with the Coalition under pressure to extend a freeze on the assessed charge and provide relief for families with dependent children.

A series of protests against water charges are planned at a number of locations around the country this weekend.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar says there is scope to extend the period of the assessed charge.

"Look, there's a number of options under consideration," he said.

"The plan already is that people will pay the assessed charge, for the first couple of months, so you'll get a chance to see how much you're running up on your meter, a chance to see if there's any major leaks and so on, before the actual metering kicks in already, so that could potentially be extended.

"But I think it's important that we get the metering in a s a concept pretty soon and I actually think that Irish people will respond to metering very well."

However Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has admitted that mistakes were made in the establishment of Irish Water.

Minister Howlin said the coalition was under pressure from the Troika to implement charges and the result was that they didn't get it all right.

"We'd no option," he said. "We couldn't go in to the Troika and say 'we're not doing that."

"But we now have a little more breathing space to reflect on exactly how it's to be done, and certainly mistakes have been made, as have been acknowledged by a number of ministers."

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