According to the Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger non payment of the upcoming water charges can not be deducted from people’s wages or welfare payment without the introduction of “new legislation”.
Ms Coppinger made the announcement after the Environment Minister Alan Kelly had previously stated that the government were considering plans to dock people’s wages or social welfare payment if the upcoming water charges were not paid. Ms Coppinger also labeled Mr Kelly’s claims as empty threats because penalties would not apply for up to 15 months after non payment.
Ms Coppinger suggests that the Enviroment Minister is trying to intimidate people in order for them to pay the charges. Ms Coppinger said: “For the last four months, the Government has set nothing about this but it is clear that they are really worried about the potential for a mass boycott. “They have seen the size of the protest on Saturday when they had written off the movement and they can’t do that now. She went onto say: “This is bluster and spin from the Government. This is not the property tax. The water charges are classed as a utility. They cannot be taken out of people’s wages and welfare. “It would take a major piece of legislation to do that.”
With many due to receive the first set of charges this week, Ms Coppinger has slammed the the rather intimidating move claiming that such a move would likely see other utility companies such as Bord Gais and the ESB issue similar threats to their customers.