Government threatens to take ‘tough’ stance on non-payment of water charges – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

Government threatens to take ‘tough’ stance on non-payment of water charges




WaterTax

On a day when hundreds of thousands of people across the country will rise in defiance to the planned water charges, we hear news that the Government plans to adopt a ‘tough’ attitude on those who do not comply with payment.

The original deadline to sign up to Irish Water came and went last night, with an estimated 800,000 households having sent their registration forms back. This represents about half the total customer base.

Thus, the Government feels it is time for tough talk.

Ahead of the planned protests, Tanaiste Joan Burton has claimed that the water charges will be ‘modest’.

Nevertheless, a raft of measures to entorce payment compliance are being considered.

Irish Water have already been advised by the energy regulator to put a plan in place about how to deal with non-compliant customers. The company does not have the powers to have any outstanding monies deducted from the customer’s wages or social welfare payments, as it was the case with the property/household tax, so all it can do is reduce the pressure, send warning letters, and go to court as a last resort.

Yet, there are widespread concerns about nonpayment.

Irish Water have also been told to draw up a Revenue Assurance Plan outlining how it will ensure that all monies are duly collected. Such collection rates will be monitored.

The company will have an onus to make repeated efforts to ‘help’ people to pay their bills, but if there is no cooperation, they can take people to court and register the debt against the property, which means that the property cannot be sold until the payment is discharged. Sheriffs could also be dispatched to seize goods in lieu of nonpayment.

The outcome of today’s marches and protests will define the Government and the people’s ultimate positions about this most controversial issue of water charges.

There is a general feeling of ‘enough is enough’ among the people of this country, and also a feeling that the Government’s position will be untenable at their next election, should they choose to stick to their guns and let Irish Water sink them along with it.

 

 

 

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