I propose to take Question Nos. 30 and 51 together.
The Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2016, which commenced second stage debate in Dáil Éireann on 24 June 2016, seeks to implement water elements of the “Confidence and Supply Arrangement” agreed with Fianna Fáil in the context of supporting the current minority Government.
The Bill provides for the suspension of domestic water charges for a period of nine months to allow for the establishment of an Expert Commission to consider and make recommendations on the long term funding of domestic public water services. The Commission’s recommendations will be considered by a Special Oireachtas Committee and, ultimately, the Oireachtas will then determine the enduring funding model for such services into the future.
Any question of writing off water arrears has not been discussed with Irish Water in advance of these deliberations being concluded. The ‘Confidence and Supply Arrangement’ affirms that those who have paid their water bills to date will be treated no less favourably than those who have not.