Further to reports this morning that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil discussed changes to Irish Water – including it becoming a State agency – last night…
Paul Melia, of the Irish Independent, Brian Dowling, of RTÉ’s political staff, and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy spoke to Keelin Shanley on Today with Seán O’Rourke.
Mr Murphy raised questions about Irish Water and their non-release of payment figures for the first quarter of this year.
Paul Murphy: “We haven’t an explanation for why Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have colluded in the Dáil since the election to avoid any discussion of water charges on the floor of the Dáil. We’re now in the fifth sitting and we still haven’t discussed them. We’re also owed an explanation for why Irish Water, which has been acting in a very overtly political manner with its legal opinion paid for by the taxpayer and now not releasing the payment figures – that are due at this stage – for the bills that went out for the first quarter of this year that, in my opinion, based on very strong anecdotal evidence, will show a significant increase from the levels from 50% non-payment that we saw in the last quarter of last year.”
Keelin Shanley: “In fairness, we’ve been in touch with Irish Water. They say an update on the first year of billing will be made available once all payment information is collated. They’re certainly not saying they’re delaying it…”
Murphy: “I’m sure they’re not saying they’re delaying it but I believe that they are suppressing it. All the bills would have been due for payment by the end of last month. It was on the 14th of January that the last payment figures were released. We’re now on the 20th of April.”
Shanley: “So you’re basically saying…”
Murphy: “That’s not accidental..”
Shanley: “…you think that people have stopped paying their water bills since this new uncertainty around Irish Water has emerged?”
Murphy: “I do, I obviously don’t have the figures and I think even when Irish Water release the figures, they’ll release it in a such a way to create the impression that still loads of people are paying. But 50% didn’t pay the bill for last quarter of last year and I think it’s likely to be higher.”
Listen back in full here