We have to invest in infrastructure
Wexford Mayor Cllr. George Lawlor says people should pay their water bills.
'Water has always been the poor relation when it comes to investment in infrastructure. There has been money out into things like street lighting, fixing the roads and footpaths, but you could have a leak in a road that's been there for years,' Cllr. Lawlor told this newspaper, citing one long-running leak just on the Tesco access road, just off Distillery Road in Wexford as an example.
'As a small business owner I have been paying a water bill of €750 a year for the last 18 years, so the notion of paying for water is not anathema to me,' he said.
The mayor said Irish Water was, however, the author of its own misfortune with a disastrous PR campaign and a Minister in the shape of Phil Hogan who paid no heed to the concerns of ordinary people.
'Irish Water was badly sold to the people. It's no wonder people rebelled against it. They were suspicious from Day One,' he said.
Asked about how he viewed opponents of the charges, Cllr. Lawlor said there was always the hard core of protesters, but there were also those who had a principled stand and he could understand their motivation.
'However, we have to look at water infrastructure, the millions of gallons that are being wasted in leaks.. and it's clear something has to be done because what we have done in the past hasn't worked and Irish Water needs the investment,' he said.
'I do think people should pay their bills.. putting the investment into Irish Water as a publicly owned company is the right thing to do to improve our water infrastructure,' he said.