Cabinet approves legislation to suspend water charges

Water billing will be suspended for nine months while a commission examines the future of the controversial charges

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Tap water being poured from a tap in to a glass | Image: Tim Goode / EMPICS Entertainment

The Cabinet has approved the legislation to suspend water charges.

The legislation is expected to go before the Dáil next week before moving on to the Seanad.

The charges will be suspended for nine months while a commission examines them and they are referred to an Oireachtas Committee.

However, the move could mean an end to charges as it is unlikely that they could be re-introduced as a majority of the Dáil oppose them.

Last week the Minister with responsibility for Irish Water said it would set a 'dangerous precedent' to write off the water charges people have not paid.

Only 64% of customers are reported to have paid their water bill to date - with Simon Coveney admitting there was a 'fall-off' after the general election amid speculation the utility might be abolished.

Earlier this month, Taoiseach Enda Kenny's comments on water charges were described by some Opposition politicians as a 'slap in the face to voters'.