European Commissioner doubtful over water fining system

EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella sent Brian Hayes a letter about the proposal

European Commissioner doubtful over water fining system

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The European Commissioner for the Environment says fining people for wasteful usage of water won't prevent Ireland facing massive fines.

Commissioner Karmenu Vella says he's doubtful that a penalty system would be enough for us to stay within European laws.

He's written to Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes after he sought clarity on proposals to deal with water charges from the special Oireachtas committee on the issue.

The letter to Hayes says the Fianna Fáil proposal would not establish a reliable source of revenue to cover the cost of water services.

The commissioner also said that Ireland cannot revert to previous practice, that is, paying for water through general taxation.

The special Oireachtas committee has until the 14th of April to agree a motion that will then be put to a Dáil vote.

This Tuesday they will hear legal opinion on a Fianna Fáil idea to use existing legislation to fine those wasting water.

Mr Hayes says it's clear that the measure wouldn't go far enough.