People who paid water charges should be fully repaid

The Dáil committee assigned to examine the future of water services in Ireland will recommend a full refund for people who paid their water charges.

The 20 TDs will meet this week to decide on the result of their final report which will then be sent to the Dáil to be voted on in the chamber on March 13th.

Reports suggest the group have agreed on refunding those who paid but they still have to decide whether Irish Water will give a cash payment, Revenue a tax credit, or whether an opt-in, opt-out system should be used.

There has also been agreement not to pursue those who did not pay their bills due to the costs attached.

They are still to decide whether homeowners should be charged for excessive usage of water which would require another universal metering programme, which may prove politically difficult and could lead to another fall out between the government and opposition.

Members are discussing if an opt-in can be operated or whether all new builds should have meters installed. They will receive the wording of the report over the next few days.

The Right2Water campaign will hold a meeting on Wednesday to decide its response with local Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy saying a decision would be taken this week on whether national demonstrations should coincide with a Dáil vote.

According to figures released at the end of last year Irish Water has already cost the State over €2bn, €844m of which was racked up in 2016 alone.

The State gave Irish Water €678m and €621m in 2014 and 2015, bringing the total cost to €2.143bn over the past three years.