Water charges committee to meet for first time today

The special Oireachtas committee has been given three months to come up with a final recommendation to bring before the Dáil and the Seanad

The debate on water charges will move towards a conclusion today as a group of TDs and Senators begin the process of deciding the next steps for Ireland’s water infrastructure.

The special Oireachtas committee will be asked to come up with a final recommendation to bring before the Dáil and the Seanad.

The all-party committee has been given three months to report back to the Oireachtas.

The ‘Expert Group’ on water charges has suggested that most households should not have to pay - and that only wasteful homes would face bills of some sort.

The chairman of the expert group, Kevin Duffy will be the first witness to come before the committee today.

Reports this morning suggest the committee, chaired by Independent Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh, could be deadlocked if Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael disagree on the final report.

Mr Ó Céidigh said the committee does not have to agree on everything and said he will be looking for a majority decision - however he warned that if the committee is split down the middle he will have to report that to the Oireachtas.

Fianna Fáil told the expert group it planned to oppose water charges until such time as Irish water infrastructure is fit for purpose.

Fine Gael on the other hand has said it favours a policy that would see households charged – especially where there is excessive water use.

Five of the committee members, including AAA-PPP TD Paul Murphy and Sinn Féin members, Eoin Ó Broin and Jonathan O’Brien, are opposed to water charges in any form.