Right decision on water charges more important than government survival - Varadkar

The Water Commission is due to report in the coming days

Right decision on water charges more important than government survival - Varadkar

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar talking to the media at Government Buildings | Image: RollingNews.ie

A member of the Cabinet says making the right decision on water is more important than the survival of the Government.

The comments from Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar come as a report is expected within days from the Expert Commission on Domestic Public Water Services.

The suspension of charges came into effect on July 1st, and is officially in place until March 31st next year.

It was introduced to allow the commission to carry out their work.

The group is examining different ways of funding water services, and will issue recommendations to the Dáil once their work is completed.

Leaked reports say it will recommend at least a modest charge for water.

Mr Varadkar says doing the right thing is what is important.

"What's much more important than the Government surviving is making the right decisions by the Irish people for the future.

"I've never been ashamed or behind the door in my view that water charges are the right thing to do no matter who's in government for reasons of conservation.

"It's the best thing for the environment, it's the fairest way to pay, because you're paying for the water you use, not water that other people use or waste.

"And it's the only way that we can ensure there's a dedicated funding stream".

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin's spokesman on Planning and Local Government Eoin Ó Broin says deputies who made election promises to get rid of water charges owe it to voters to do so.

Speaking to Newstalk Drive, he said: "Rather than having all of this wasted time and money - €280,000 - on an expert commission to tell us stuff that we already know [and] a three month Dáil committee to have a discussion which we've already had for the last three or four years... we should just take a vote on it.

"If they've campaigned on a manifesto to abolish water charges, they should vote to abolish water charges," he added.