Child water allowance under threat, say parties

The water tax allowance of 38,000 litres per year for every child is under threat, opposition parties have warned.

Concern was heightened after the Taoiseach refused to confirm the amount that would be given to people under 18 when pressed on the issue in the Dáil.

The row followed calls by Irish Water to cut the allocation for children.

Enda Kenny insisted that the average water bill per household would remain at €240 per year, and that children would get a free allocation, but stopped short of saying it would be 38,000 litres. “It is a matter for the regulator to determine the allowance,” he said.

“The policy decision made by the Government is very clear and will not change.

“It is a policy direction to the regulator, which determines the final outcome in these cases. The average metered charge per year will be €240, with children’s usage free.

“The assessments for the use of water by children have certainly changed since the original assessments were carried out based on water usage in a different jurisdiction as we did not have water meters here at all.

“The public consultation did not result in any change of policy or direction from the Government to the regulator. The Government set the direction very clear and the regulator will make the final decision.

“Irish Water is entitled to make its case, but the Government direction or instruction has not and will not change,” he said.

Fianna Fáil queried whether the regulator would rein in Irish Water.

At Leaders’ Questions, Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín said: “There is widespread concern that the 38,000 litre per child free allowance may be ditched and the regulator still has not given full details of medical conditions that would allow certain users not to be charged for their supply.”


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