Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said there is mounting frustration being felt in many parts of rural Ireland over the recommendations of the Expert Commission on Water, specifically as they relate to Group and Private Water Scheme Operators. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Commission strongly recommended that payment for use of water be made through general taxation, thus raising the spectre of many in rural Ireland being locked into a model of double taxation:
“We know for a fact that 22% of all users of water services are served by group schemes or private wells, and that waste water of 29% of households is treated through septic tanks.
In light of that, to even consider imposing further taxation on this sector would be seriously ill-judged and indeed grossly unjust.
We must have equity in the system and therefore we simply cannot allow the burden of maintaining the water infrastructure to disproportionately fall on what is increasingly looking like a soft target for extra revenue.
Rural Ireland, where most of these Schemes operate, has already suffered the nonsense of the septic tank charade that was introduced under former Minister Phil Hogan. We will not be made easy targets once again to cover up what has become an incoherent government approach to water.
If the general taxation model is pushed through, then it is absolutely imperative that existing subsidies to group or private water schemes be increased in order to maintain some semblance of equity.
That will mean granting extra revenue to Local Authorities so that grants can be improved. It is only through measures such as these that the growing frustration in rural Ireland can be at least partially addressed,” concluded Deputy McGrath.