EU Commission is moving the goalposts on water charges – Pringle

The Anti-Austerity Alliance says the Government is rowing in behind ‘EU diktats to trample on the democratic will of the Irish people’ in relation to water charges.

Yesterday the European Commission said Ireland can’t legally abolish its system of water charges under a EU directive.

However, Anti Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy says the EU is a key driver of water privatisation.

Meanwhile, Donegal Deputy Thomas Pringle says the EU is moving the goalposts in a bid to support Fine Gael’s stance on water charges.

The Irish Times reported on Tuesday June 28, 2016 "Abolishing water charges could mean millions in EC fines."

Karmenu Vella European Environment commissioner

Karmenu Vella European Environment commissioner

Environment commissioner Karmenu Vella said the flexibility offered to Ireland ended in 2010 when the then Fianna Fáil-led government pledged to introduce water charges.

Mr Vella’s statement increases the possibility of daily fines being imposed on Ireland which could reach millions of euro.

In a written response to Marian Harkin MEP, Mr Vella said a derogation from water charges could have been sought in 2010 but was not.

He said: “On the contrary, in the said plans, Ireland made a clear commitment to set up water charges to comply with the provisions of Article 9(1) (WFD).

“Ireland subsequently applied water charges and the commission considers that the directive does not provide for a situation whereby it can revert to any previous practice.”

Original articles; Irish Times, June 27, 2016