Local Green TD Malcolm Noonan says “important discussions” need to be had about household water charges.
The junior minister has called for a fresh debate on the issue, as he claims the government need to fund crucial works by Irish Water nationwide.
It follows much controversy over the weekend, after he told the Sunday Independent that the “possibility of introducing water charges should be explored” within the lifetime of this government.
He today explained these aspirations to KCLR, saying that;
“What I’d like to see is a broader discussion on water as a resource. There are issues we can see right across the country, we have 35 water treatment plants that are not of adequate standard. We’ve had beaches closed in the past year because of raw sewage discharging into estuaries and coastal areas. So I do think we need a bigger discussion now.”
Despite his concerns, however, Minister Noonan also says that we’re unlikely to see the introduction of water charges, or similar action, in the near future;
“It’s not in the programme for government, so it’s not really up for discussion any further” he explained. “At the same time though, people are in supermarkets having to buy in bottles of water. So we do have a significant challenge there. I think it’s important to have that conversation about the future funding of the big, capital works that are required to get our waste water infrastructure into place.”