€500 per household – that’s how much water charges will bite if they are introduced on a flat rate in the budget.
But Sinn Fein has come out of the traps early to launch a major nationwide campaign to stop these charges saying they are unfair and would hit the low incomes the hardest.
Up to 200,000 leaflets are being delivered to homes across the country by the party to coincide with the launch of a new website – www.nowatercharges.ie.
The Sinn Fein deputy leading the charge is Dublin South Central’s Aengus O Snodaigh.
He knows that clean water is a precious resource that costs money to produce. But his argument is that water charges are not about conservation or about the cost of production.
“The Government’s own figures clearly indicate that the public distribution network is the principle source of waste rather than the householder,” he said.
“Investment in active leak management at that infrastructural level would more than pay for itself.”
He is also quick to point out that Sinn Fein is the only party that is wholeheartedly against the introduction of water charges.
“Labour couldn’t make their mind up on the issue but eventually said they would support it only if metering was involved.”
The new website is seeking to mobilise the public on the issue of water charges.
It offers the public the opportunity to take five simple steps to fight water charges – learn about the campaign in five minutes, join in five seconds, ask five households to sign a petition, urge five people to follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter and get five people to contact Government TDs.