John Halligan vows not to pay water bill

John Halligan has confirmed he is not liable for water charges but would not pay if he was and remains “vehemently opposed” to them.

The Independent Alliance TD, who has been promised a junior ministry position, had been criticised for not paying the charges.

Fellow Independent Alliance TD and super junior minister Finian McGrath last week bowed to pressure when he decided to pay water charges.

Mr McGrath said he had received advice that there is no constitutional rule preventing him from being in Cabinet if he did not pay up.

However, after talking to supporters, he said he would pay the charge to avoid “distraction” from his role as junior minister with responsibility for disabilities.

Mr Halligan yesterday came under pressure to also pay up but he confirmed that he is not subject to water charges but remains against them and if he was liable he would not have paid them.

Labour’s Alan Kelly yesterday called on Enda Kenny to insist that Mr Halligan complies with the law by paying for his water.

“In the absence of such a guarantee, it would be completely unacceptable for the Taoiseach to appoint Deputy Halligan as a minister of state,” Mr Kelly said.

“The appointment to high office of somebody who has clearly flouted the law for cynical political gain would be a slap in the face to the hundreds of thousands of households who have paid for their water, and would do further damage to people’s trust in politics and politicians.”

He added that no one is entitled to “pick and choose which laws they observe”.

However, Mr Halligan clarified that he has not received a water bill as he does not own a registered property.

He said has been separated for the past 20 years and currently shares a home with another person who is the registered owner of the property.

However, he added that he remains “vehemently” against the charges.

“Because of my personal circumstances, there is no bill due in my name. But if there was one I probably still wouldn’t pay it,” he told the Irish Daily Mail.

Meanwhile, the Dáil is to discuss the issue of variable rate mortgages today.

Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesman Michael McGrath is to table a Dáil private members’ motion in a bid to tackle high variable interest rates.

Mr McGrath said: “While there has been some progress towards reducing variable rates, the reality is tens of thousands of mortgage holders are being charged excessive variable rates.”

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