We have to pay for water, says charges overview chief

Joe O’Toole, chairman of the water charges expert commission, says households should get a basic amount of water for domestic use free but additional usage should be paid for beyond that.

We have to pay for water, says charges overview chief

The former senator also told the Irish Examiner that, while he himself was personally “in favour of paying household charges”, the commission itself would listen to all viewpoints.

“In a caring society like our own, we should ensure that people would get enough water to live on adequately on the basis of not having to pay additional for that,” said Mr O’Toole.

“That is a community looking after itself. From that point on, of course people should pay. It has to be paid for. How it is paid for we haven’t deal with.

“I believe we need to be compassionate, I believe we need to be fair. I think we need to look at people and that we have a societal and community obligation to ensure that people don’t have to worry about paying for water to live on or water to wash themselves or to keep their house clean.”

The commission has five months to do a report on the future of charges as well as the funding of Irish Water, before an Oireachtas committee later reports and a Dail vote is eventually held.

Mr O’Toole also admitted it was unclear what would happen to the commission if a snap election was called.

“I can’t see how it could continue if there was an election,” he said.

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