Wednesday 20 September 2017

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Water charge refunds confirmed

Wednesday, 6th September, 2017 6:07pm

Up to one million Irish households who paid water charges will be refunded.

The decision to refund households was confirmed at yesterday’s Government Cabinet meeting, the first after the summer recess.

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy confirmed after the meeting that refunds will commence once water services is enacted.

Some 990,000 customers of Irish Water will receive full automatic refunds by way of cheque before Christmas.

The process will not involve any application process, with only customers who need to update their details required to contact Irish Water.

Speaking following the meeting, Minister Eoghan Murphy said: “In keeping with the Government’s commitment to implement the Joint committee’s Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services recommendations, the Government will include a provision for refunds in forthcoming legislation, which it is intended to publish shortly.

“Subject to the passage of this legislation, Irish Water will begin an information campaign to inform customers and the public on how the refunds process will work.”

Minister Murphy also said the public would be informed on the workings of the refunds process once the legislation had passed.

He added: “Whilst the refunding of Irish Water customers forms part of the process of addressing the issue of domestic water charges, the issue of funding domestic water services must also be addressed.”

The Minister said that equal treatment between Irish Water customers and those on group water schemes will be maintained by retaining the restored pre-2015 subsidy levels for group water schemes.

Solidarity Cork North-Central TD Mick Barry welcomed the decision to refund households, saying: “This would never have happened if it wasn't for the anti-water charges movement, the mass non-payment and the marches.

“Working class people power has forced this U-turn. Protest pays. There is a powerful lesson there for ordinary people everywhere,” he added.

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