I have just sent the following letter to Irish Water and copied it to the Commission for Energy Regulation:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Neither I nor my family wishes to have a water meter installed at our house, the address of which is detailed in the contact form. We have never requested a meter, nor have we been asked whether we want one. If Irish Water or its contractors installs a meter at our house without our consent, we will remove it. I am notifying you in advance so that taxpayer’s money will not be yet further wasted in the capital and operational cost of providing and installing the meter.

We choose not to have a meter installed because the government has not laid out charges for water after 2016. If the price of any commodity rises beyond that which we cannot afford, we no longer purchase it. I choose an alternative. But water is essential for life. We will not have a choice in whether we use it or not. If our best conservation measures cause its price per litre to rise, we have no alternative provider from which to choose.

When one pays for a commodity for consumption, one has the opportunity to review the contents of that commodity on its packaging. In 2009, the Department of the Environment instructed water providers to publish up-to-date data on the quality of the water they are providing to consumers. We have never been provided with this data. I, as the mother of my five children, will not pay for a commodity for consumption when I do not know the contents of that commodity.

We will not pay for water which has been fluoridated. We understand that fluoride is of benefit to oral health. But the European Community Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risk stated in 2011 that the “effect of continued systemic exposure of fluoride from whatever source is questionable once the permanent teeth have erupted”, while concluding that topical application of fluoride is safer and more efficient in maintaining oral health than the fluoridation of water supplies. We will not pay for a medicated product when we do not desire that medication.

Both my husband and I have paid tax since we started working. We have been paying for water and wastewater services through that taxation. We continue to pay indirectly for water services. The government has clearly stated that Ireland is now moving to a system of charging for water based on usage. We will not pay for water by a system of direct usage until the burden of paying for it indirectly is removed from our tax bill. We therefore suggest that in its proposals to the Commission for Energy Regulation, Irish Water might suggest either a rebate on our tax bill for any monies we might pay to Irish Water or a reduction in our annual level of taxation which can be clearly identified with Ireland’s proposed shift from indirect to direct charging for water.

We presume that Irish Water will respect these requests from us, the potential consumer, both in relation to fluoridation and negotiating removal of indirect water charges from our tax bill. We will then agree to pay a flat rate for water directly to Irish Water. However, I must point out that my family paid €315 in local property tax last year. This was paid on the promise by government that it would fund services provided to us by Cork County Council. That money was not invested in Cork County Council as promised but was used to set up Irish Water. We have therefore forwarded Irish Water a loan of €315. We expect Irish Water to deduct this €315 from our first flat-rate bill and to include acknowledgement that this loan was provided from us entirely without interest.

Yours faithfully,
Marcia D’Alton.
Member, Cork County Council