The Chairman of the ICMSA’s Farm Services and Environment Committee, Mr. Patrick Rohan, has said that a huge degree of resentment is building up over what he called the Government’s “charge first – correct later” approach to water charges and he warned that if Irish Water ends up absorbing most of the revenue raised by charges that public fury will reach new heights.
Mr Rohan, whose association is considered the state’s specialist dairy farmers’ organisation, pointed out that farm families have been subjected to very high water charges for many years as non-domestic water users and members are becoming very concerned that these charges will continue to escalate if Irish Water and the Government do not establish an appropriate and reasonable pricing policy structure.
“The establishment of Irish Water and the expansion of charges to all households should result in economies of scale and a consequent reduction in the charges paid by farmers. But that doesn’t appear to be even a possibility and we’re starting to have serious concerns regarding the current policy direction. That policy could be described as a “charge first – correct later” policy where we see a policy of significant investment in meter installation while – at the very same time – in excess of 40 percent of water treated is lost in leakage. That kind of inefficiency in the system must not be allowed to continue and all consumers – farm families included – must demand that a campaign of investment in the water system to rectify that kind of systematic underinvestment and defect begins immediately and that we are not left with a situation where the charges are ‘sucked up’ in salaries and conditions by the staff of the very quango charged with overseeing the water system”, said Mr Rohan.
In conclusion, Mr. Rohan referred to the fragmentation of land holdings across the country and stated that farmers must no longer be charged multiple standing charges for different meters and that there must be only one standing charge per family.
Ends. 4 June 2014.
Patrick Rohan, 087-6253506
Chairperson, ICMSA Farm Services & Environment Committee
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office