Michael Noonan: Charges to stay for four years

The new water charges to be unfolded tomorrow by the Government will remain the same for up to four years, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said.

He said the new charges are ‘not a million miles’ from figures speculated in the media in recent days.

These figures put a €76 charge on one-adult households and under €200 on homes with two or more adults. Mr Noonan, who was confronted by about 80 water protesters when he arrived for an event at the Absolute Hotel in Limerick, said: “It (water charge) is built on two principles: one is the principle of affordability, in other words that the amounts of charge involved would be quite low and not a million miles from the figures quoted in the media.

“The other principle is it would give certainty. It just wouldn’t be something that would solve the problem for a short period of time, that this would stretch out for maybe four years as an arrangement and beyond that again, then the idea of flat charges will be preserved.

“We want the new arrangement to be affordable and to be seen to be affordable for ordinary people and it gives them certainty about their future bills,” he said. Mr Noonan said they govern for reasonable people, adding: “Reasonable people were upset by the manner in which this was handled and our objective is to resolve that problem.”

Mr Noonan said the anti- charges protest in Jobstown, Co Dublin, on Saturday, when the Tánaiste Joan Burton was trapped in her car for over two hours, went too far.

He added: “It was particularly disturbing that it was led by an elected member [Paul Murphy] who has the Dáil as a forum if he wants to make a point.”

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