Press Statement: Paul Murphy TD (Solidarity) 10 June 2019
€500 excessive usage water charges are Trojan Horse for future charges for all
Mass movement defeated water charges before and will defeat them again
“The news that Irish Water is seeking to charge households up to €500 for so-called ‘excessive water usage’ is the fruits of Fianna Fail’s betrayal of its election promise. We warned about and opposed this charge because we knew that it would function as a trojan horse for the full re-introduction of charges. This is illustrated by the fact that the legislation allows the government to reduce the ‘normal usage’ allowance over time.
“There is a world of difference between Irish Water’s plan for charges and their actual implementation. Water charges remain politically completely toxic. It is significant that these charges have been repeatedly delayed because the government did not want to try to implement them in advance of the recent elections. However, it won’t be any easier for them now with a general election looming. We should recall that implementing the water charges was a key reason for the almost total wipe-out of the Labour Party.
“The government would do well to reflect upon the mass movement of protest and non-payment which defeated their plans for regressive taxation and commodification of water before. If they do proceed with re-introducing charges, they will be met by the same level of opposition and will be defeated again. Those who refused to pay will not now accept them being brought in through the backdoor. What’s more, Irish Water would face an immense obstacle in the fact that 40% of homes in the state do not have meters and therefore effectively cannot be charged. The same opposition will meet any increase in carbon tax on working class people as well. Instead, people will demand that the corporations responsible for the pollution pay and the environmental measures which are necessary, including free public transport, massive public investment in green energy and democratic planning of the economy to ensure a just transition to a zero carbon economy, are made.”