Promises, promises. Every now and again we get a little chuckle from digging up some statements of dearly held beliefs that were cast aside after elections.
A visit to Irish Election Literature brought up this doozy from Labour’s Joanna Tuffy.
That text in full:
The move by Environment Minister John Gormley to install a water meter in every home in Ireland represents a retrograde step towards the introduction of a regressive tax.
The Labour Party believes that water is a basic and fundamental need and should not be treated like a market commodity. Many people, particularly the very old and the very young are heavily reliant on water for their health and wellbeing, and the notion of placing a charge on it, is objectionable.
Charging for domestic water, in the light of our current taxation system, will only add to inequality, since such charges don’t take account of people’s ability to pay.
In addition, I believe that the €600m that Minister Gormley says installing metres will cost, seriously underestimates the scale of the project. I am aware that an estimate for a similar plan in 1996 came to £1bn, and that was when there were far fewer houses, and when overall costs were significantly lower.
There are more important issues that need to be dealt with, even within the context of the provision of water services. For example, as EEA point out today, there is a massive problem with leakage in water systems, with as much as 40 per cent of treated water, going to waste in some areas.
In addition, the level to which alternative sources of water are being used is very small. There should be encouragement for communities and for people to use grey water, treated waste water and harvested rain water.
These are areas that need be tackled before we start making rash decisions on slapping unfair charges on people who can ill afford them.
The Labour Party abolished water charges when Brendan Howlin was Environment Minister in the Rainbow Govt, 1996. We would oppose any attempt to reverse that move.
via Irish Election Literature here.