Gilmore: Water charges will be 'fair and reasonable'

The Cabinet is meeting now to sign off on a package of measures around water charges.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore says the charges will be "fair and reasonable" after the standing charge was dropped and extra allowances are to be given to children and those with medical needs.

A final decision on the charge will be made by the regulator later in the summer, but the average household bill is expected to be around €240 a year.

Negotiators from both sides of the Coalition worked up to last night to agree the measures.

On his way into Government Buildings early this morning, Taoiseach Enda Kenny promised people openness on the charge after today's Cabinet meeting

The Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin says paying for water is a "necessity" as part of the country's economic recovery.

Mr Howlin says he is glad the standing charge has been dropped, and he insists the charge will be fair to families.

The Tánaiste says the package of measures will also help those who have difficulty in paying for water.

It is also understood that attempts will be made to speed up metering, but households not metered will be billed on the basis of the number of occupants.

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