Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy has reiterated the party’s belief that water refunds should be paid net of the conservation grant.  According to the Social Democrats the number of people who would have paid the water charge and not claimed the conservation grant is minimal and therefore it would be very easy to deal with such cases outside the main refund mechanism.

It is understood that the Minister is expected to seek cabinet approval this week to allow for the refund of water charges at a cost of around €180 million with this money being taken from the budget of various departments. The Social Democrats have called for the refunds to exclude the amounts paid in the conservation grant as a way of significantly reducing this bill.

Catherine Murphy TD said:

“The fact is that the vast majority of people who paid their water charges did so whilst claiming the €100 conservation grant.  If someone paid €240 and received a grant of €100 then really they should only expect a refund of €140, it is fair and it makes economic sense.  In choosing to refund the full amount and ignoring the payment of the conservation grant, the State is wilfully wasting a significant amount of money. That money is to be taken from the budget of other Departments at a time when most public services are in serious need of investment. It is madness.”

“If someone did pay the charge and not claim the grant there should be a mechanism whereby they can come forward and be treated in an equitable manner. The numbers in this situation will be so small that they are highly unlikely to be an onerous administrative burden and therefore shouldn’t present a barrier to administering the refunds in a fair and economically sensible manner.”

ENDS

6th September 2017