Health Minister Leo Varadkar appeared on Tonight With Vincent Browne last night, along with Sinn Féin senator David Cullinane; Fianna Fáil TD, Sean Fleming; and People Before Profit Councillor at Dublin City Council, Brid Smith.
Mr Varadkar was asked what people should do, if they can’t afford to pay their water charges.
David Cullinane: “If I can ask you an honest question, Leo?”
Vincent Browne: “Make it quick because we’ve gotta go to a break.”
Cullinane: “There are many families out there who can’t afford to pay their mortgage, can’t put food on the table, can’t put oil in their heating tanks. When they get their water charges bill in January and they can’t afford to pay it, what bills should they not pay? Should they not pay their mortgage? Should they not put food on the table? If they genuinely can’t pay, if they don’t have it, what should they do? What advice would you give them?”
Leo Varadkar: “Well that’s a very po-faced question because if you look at…”
Cullinane: “It isn’t, it’s a question…”
Talk over each other
Browne: “We’ve got to go to a break…”
Varadkar: “I’ll tell you why it is because if you look at your alternative budget, for example, you propose a standard rate…”
Browne: “Answer his question. Answer his question. Answer his question. What should people do? When people who are living on the margins have a choice of paying a water tax or paying for a essential necessities in their families, of their families. Which choice should they do…”
Varadkar: “What they should do is…”
Brid Smith: “Don’t pay the water taxes.”
Varadkar: “What they should do is enter into an agreement with the utility which is what they would do currently with the ESB, it’s what they would do currently with the…”
Smith: “Leo you live on another planet, people simply don’t have it.”
Watch back here