Brophy denies FG trying to bring in water charges through the back door

Dublin South West Fine Gael TD Colm Brophy says the party’s refusal to back legislation agreed by the water committee is not an attempt to bring in water charges by the back door.

The final recommendations from the committee, which will be voted on today, include refunds for householders who paid their charges, the funding of domestic water services through general taxation, and the installation of meters at apartment blocks.

Fine Gael may risk a general election by refusing to implement the measures but Deputy Brophy was pointing the finger of blame at Fianna Fail following his party’s announcement.

He said Fianna Fáil has completely backtracked on proposals and gotten into bed “for the first time” with the hard left and Sinn Féin.

Mr Brophy, who is a member of the Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water, said Fine Gael had agreed to the concept of funding water through general taxation and charging people for excessive usage, something, he says, that was agreeable to Fianna Fáil a few weeks ago.

Fine Gael says it cannot support what it is calling a ‘fundamentally dishonest’ report.

This is a massive  blow to Simon Coveney’s bid for the leadership of Fine Gael because his party’s demands for an excessive water-usage charge and metering for all new builds were removed from the report.