Cllrs Melisa Halpin & Hugh Lewis condemn the use of the Local Property Tax to fund the establishment of Irish Water

In a statement today People Before Profit councillors Melisa Halpin & Hugh Lewis have announced that they will vote against the Council Budget at a special meeting of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council this evening.

The proposed council Budget 2014 includes details of the effect of the establishment of Irish Water.

From 1 January 2014 Irish Water is running the water services all across the country as per new legislation signed into law on 25 December.

This change means that all Dun Laoghaire Rathdown’s water assets are handed over to Irish Water and some council staff are seconded to Irish Water but the council remains responsible for their pensions.

The funds collected by Revenue in Local Property Tax have been used to establish Irish Water and the council budget now rests on Irish Water paying the council for the services that it will continue to provide to the public.

Funds from central government have been cut to ensure that the council does not get an extra cent in this deal.

It is confirmed that Irish Water will start charging households in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown for water from 1 October.

Melisa_Halpin (2)Cllr Melisa Halpin said “There are a number of things in this year’s budget to be welcomed, in particular the funding being finally secured for a Domestic Violence Women’s Refuge, the reduction in Parking Charges from €2 to €1.50 and the fact that there is no increase in council rents. But, that said, a vote for this budget is a vote for water charges. People Before profit refuse to have any hand, act or part in the introduction of water charges which is yet another unfair tax on families and homes.”

“The establishment of Irish Water is a total scam. The money collected by the Revenue in Local Property Tax has been used to establish Irish Water, so in effect people are paying the Property Tax to fund the introduction of water charges and in all likelihood the privatisation of our water services. So much for the LPT being a tax to fund libraries, swimming pools and playgrounds.”

“The handover of hundreds of millions of euro of council assets to Irish Water is highway robbery. Meanwhile, Irish Water have admitted that they spent over €50 million on consultants last year alone!.”

hugh lewisCllr Hugh Lewis added: “This year’s budget proposal claims to contain no cuts to services, but in reality the whole budget is an attack on the very basis of how Council services are funded. Last year we received €24.7 million from Central Government while this year we receive only €5 million with the remainder being made up by Irish Water. This is a wholesale transfer of funding from a progressive taxation model to the flat rate tax model of the Local Property Tax.”

The removal of our Water services from the Council is a stepping stone towards the privatisation of our water.

Assets such as Shanganagh Waste Water Treatment Plant which was opened by Minister Phil Hogan with great pomp and ceremony last year, has been given away for nothing to this new company.

If my fellow councillors choose to support this budget they will be removing one of the most important functions of our Council, it is time to follow the example of Donegal County Council by refusing to support the budget and to make a statement to this government that we will not accept the erosion of our local government.”