Water charges 'will be collected'; Joan Burton expected to step down as Labour leader

Water charges 'will be collected'; Joan Burton expected to step down as Labour leader

Water charges will be suspended at the end of the current billing cycle, according to the government chief whip Regina Doherty.

Ms Doherty is encouraging people, including her new Cabinet colleague Finian McGrath, to pay their bills until then.

The Fine Gael deputy also said the programme for government will likely be revealed on Thursday with junior ministries announced next week.

She says those who do not pay their water charges are breaking the law and the money will be collected.

She said: "Effectively, even if it is suspended the law of the land still stands from the legislation that was passed 18 months ago.

"The charges are effectively legal and they will be collected regardless of whether somebody pays now or they pay later.

"So, I will obviously be advising people to adhere to the law of the land and to pay the outstanding bills that have been issued by Irish Water."

Members of the newly appointed Cabinet will take over their offices for the first time today.

Among those to get a promotion is Wicklow Fine Gael TD Simon Harris who, at the age of 29, has become the new Minister for Health.

However it is a different story for the Labour leader Joan Burton who is expected to stand down at the party's parliamentary meeting tomorrow.

Water charges 'will be collected'; Joan Burton expected to step down as Labour leader

Speculation is rife as to who will step up to the plate to take the position.

Pat Magner, Former Labour Party Strategist, said: "There are three people who have been in poll position and we know who they are.

"There is Alan Kelly, who is the deputy leader, Sean Sherlock, part of a new generation, and Brendan Howlin."

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