18 January 2016
By Tom O’Sullivan
Anti Austerity Alliance Cork City Councillor Mick Barry this morning said that newspaper reports published over the weekend indicating that both Fine Gael and Labour are considering making election manifesto commitments to cap water charges until 2021 were a sure sign that the Government parties are on the back foot on the issue coming into the election and that a determined push from opponents of the charges can see the charges abolished in 2016.
Saturday’s Irish Times reported on its front page that both Government parties are considering making manifesto commitments to link the maximum amount a householder will pay in water charges to the rate of inflation if re-elected to office.
Faced with massive water charges protests the coalition put a cap (260 euro for a household with two adults or more, 160 euro for a single-adult household) in place in November 2014. The cap is due to stay until December 2018 but can be extended beyond that point by ministerial order approved by the Oireachtas.
Cllr Barry said this morning: “This is a sure sign that the Government parties are really on the back foot on this issue going into the election. It is a signal for opponents of the charge to now step up the pressure for complete abolition of both the charge and Irish Water. This can be done by keeping the boycott strong, by those who have paid now rejoining the boycott for the General Election and by voters making the water charges a major issue on the doorsteps in the General Election itself. Let’s make sure the next Government are under pressure from day one to abolish water charges.”
Right2Water will organise demonstrations across the country this Saturday (Jan 23) for the abolition of the charge. The Cork demonstration will assemble at the Grand Parade at 2pm.