No water charges until 2015

Water charges will be paid from January 2015, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has indicated, report the Irish Independent. The Government is negotiating with the troika to delay the introduction of the levy.

Mr Kenny said the plan was for the charges to come into effect from October 2014 – but the first bill won’t be due until three months later. He said the Government is finalising the arrangements with the troika.

The EU-IMF team is currently in Ireland for the latest review of the bailout programme.

Mr Kenny said the charges will apply retrospectively for three months under a law to be passed this year. “The bill in respect of water charges will be later in the autumn,” he said.

The bailout agreement says water charges must be introduced next year, but Mr Kenny says the Coalition wants to push this back.

The move confirms a report by the Irish Independent that Mr Kenny wanted to backdate the first three months of payments.

The Government will raise the delay in talks with the troika.

Senior sources previously said “substantially more than 50pc” of water meters must be installed before people are billed.

Ministers want to avoid assessed charges – based on estimated water usage – which will be paid by houses without meters.

Assessed charges are likely to be based on house size, which could be hugely damaging politically.

Fine Gael and Labour will also be reluctant to introduce the charges before the local elections, which take place next summer.