Mr. Fitzmaurice TD has called the new charging system unfair and says it is particularly unfair to farmers. He said he has been informed of increased charges imposed on farmers by Irish water and says it breaks pre-existing agreements already in place.
He said "It has come to my attention that bills for water usage for farmers that are now being issued by Irish Water have increased substantially due to a new charging system which breaks an agreement which was made with the farming organisations some years ago.
He then called don all farmers to thoroughly check their bills to ensure they are not being charged excessive amounts, “I am asking farmers check their bills to ensure that they are not being overcharged."
Mr. Fitzmaurice followed up by stating some farmers are paying bills for more than one location though now they will be treated as commercial users by Irish Water.
A move he says will cost farmers hundreds of euros extra, "Farmers who have land in a number of locations heretofore paid one service charge for the meter and then they paid for water usage at all the locations, but now Irish Water, who have taken over the billing for farmers as they are treated as commercial accounts, are apparently charging the service charge for all the locations and it is adding hundreds of Euro to the water bills for some farmers. This flies in the face of an agreement which was made with the farm organisations some years ago.”
He added that the changes are unacceptable and said farmers are now having to pay/replace funds the government should be paying for water charges.
“This is a totally unacceptable move and farmers should not be used to replace funds that the Government will have to raise to pay for water services" he said.
Fitzmaurice concluded by saying he has contacted Irish water on the situation and again stressed the need for farmers to carefully check their bills prior to payment.
"I have contacted Irish Water about this situation today and I am asking farmers to look carefully at their water bills to see if this extra change has been applied and I will be following up this as a matter of the most extreme urgency with Irish Water. I will be liaising with Irish Water on this matter and we cannot allow a situation where farmers are used as scapegoats to raise revenue".