Fine Gael TD and Party Chairman Martin Heydon has today (Tuesday) said that Right2Water now accept that water needs to be paid for but want to throw the cost of that back on ordinary workers.

Deputy Heydon’s comments came after David Gibney of Right2Water told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services that tax cuts should be stopped to fund water infrastructure today (Tuesday).

“The idea that the group who fought for the abolition of water charges are now advocating a possible reinstatement of income tax on workers is absolute madness,” Deputy Heydon said.

“Everything that we in Fine Gael have done since we came into Government has been designed to make work pay and reduce the tax burden on hard pressed workers.

“Right2Water now accept that our water and waste water infrastructure needs to be funded and so they are happy to go back to stop tax cuts.

“200,000 new jobs have been created under the Action Plan for Jobs since 2012 and we see today the highest number of people at work since 2008.

“That jobs growth has been boosted by falling USC rates and to just glibly call for a reversal of those cuts displays a lack of understanding of the basic fundamentals of our economy,” Deputy Heydon said.

“We knew we needed to cut direct taxation on work to make work pay and help business create jobs.

“We need investment in our water infrastructure to ensure that every citizen in the country has access to clean treated water, functioning waste water systems and treatment plants. However Mr Gibney was not able to say which other public services he would like to see cut to allow for this investment.”

When asked by Deputy Heydon how Right2Water believes the sector should be funded, Mr Gibney said and later repeated: “The best way to address the water crisis that we have is to stop giving tax cuts and instead invest in the water infrastructure.”

Asked by the committee if Right2Water would be happy for people who use excessive amounts of water to be charged, if the committee came to that agreement, Mr Gibney and his colleague Stevie Fitzpatrick said they would.