Anti Austerity Alliance press conference on the latest facts and figures relating to the Irish Water 'Conservation Grant'.
"Despite ‘giving away €100 ‘ the number applying for the government's 'Conservation Grant' mirrors Irish Water charges payment rates. Despite the spin, this signals that the boycott is still strong" ,according to AAA press statement. "Irish Water should release the 2nd payment figures now rather than ‘bury the bad news during Budget week".
The Anti-Austerity Alliance has said that ‘another embarrassment’ looms for Irish Water after the Irish Times today revealed that less than half of households eligible for the free €100 Conservation Grant have applied for it. The Alliance said that the numbers applying mirrored the numbers who had paid the first bill, even though it was only based on those who had registered and excluded 400,000 who hadn't, and signals that opposition remained solid and called on Irish Water to release the payment figures this week rather than next week as they plan.
Councillor Michael O’Brien said “This is another PR stunt from Irish Water and the government that was an attempt to bribe people into acceptance of Irish Water that has backfired on them. You have a situation where Irish Water is now so hated, and opposition to the water charges is so strong that they literally cannot give away €100.
“This shows the level of continued opposition to Irish Water. The numbers who have applied for the grant roughly mirror the number of people who paid the first bill, however when you factor in that this figure excludes over 400,000 houses who haven't registered with Irish Water and includes people who are not eligible to pay water charges the figures read even worse for Irish Water. So despite there being no onus on people to pay the bill to claim the grant, the majority of people are refusing to even engage with Irish Water to claim a free €100 because they see it as a bribe.”
Councillor Mick Barry said “These figures are another huge embarrassment for Irish Water. It shows that despite their spin around payment figures, their PR campaigns and their scare tactics that a majority of people don’t trust this company and want nothing to do with it. They are even prepared to go as far as turn down a free €100.
“Irish Water’s second billing period is over and they are due to release the figures soon. Whether the numbers for the second bill show the boycott going up or down it will be bad news for the government and for Irish Water as they will show that there is still a strong and numerous boycott of the water charge. Irish Water must release the figures this week. They must not be allowed to hold back the figures till next week in an attempt bury the bad news during budget week."