Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan, pictured outside Leinster House, has called on Irish Water to cease contacting people
SINN Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan has accused Irish Water of running a “campaign of harassment” against those with outstanding bills.
He wants the state water utility to stop “hounding” people who are not up to date with their payments, claiming it is causing “huge stress” to many people, including pensioners.
“I have been contacted over the weekend by many worried people, mostly pensioners, who are frightened by what they perceive as ongoing harassment from Irish water. The use of text messages and phone calls is causing huge stress to many older people,” he said.
On a personal level, Mr Quinlivan says he has received ten demands for payment from Irish Water.
The newly-elected Limerick deputy said: “The majority of TDs elected to the new Dáil stood on an anti-water charges platform, and with no government in place, it is clear that Irish Water does not have a mandate to continue implementing the democratically rejected policy of the previous administration.”
He said rather than take a stand against “austerity charges”, many elderly people pay because they are “afraid of the consequences if they do not”.
“The one clear message delivered by the electorate in February was the demand to scrap water charges and abolish Irish Water. It is obvious that they have ignored that message and instead they are focusing on hounding people by any means necessary. The management of Irish Water is doing all it can to ensure that the democratic will of the people is circumvented,” Mr Quinlivan says.
“The leaking of the highly dubious, legal advice the utility received, which stated that the scrapping of water charges would not be permitted under EU law, is indicative of Irish Water’s strategy during this protracted period of time between governments. It is an attempt to present opinion as set in stone fact. It is nothing of the sort.”
Mr Quinlivan said his party has received information to the contrary from the European Commission adding: “It is our view that there is nothing to stop Ireland from using the derogation and we have that in black and white from the EU Commission.”
With no government in place, he says Irish Water should forget about metering, and focus on “fixing leaks”.