Government coalition parties disagreed over what should be done in the case of non-payment of water charges. At the time legislation was introduced to require that local authorities obtain a court order before cutting off customers who had not paid.
The 1962 Sanitary Services Act will be amended to delimit the power of local authorities to disconnect domestic water supply for non-payment of service charges.
There was a difference of opinion between Fine Gael, Democratic Left and Labour as to what exactly would happen in the case of non-payment. Following discussions between the three party leaders, a new set of guidelines were put in place. Before being disconnected, a customer must receive written warning, two reminders, and two warnings of possible court action, after which the local authority must apply to the District Court for permission to disconnect the water supply.
Charlie Bird spoke to Proinsias De Rossa, Noel Dempsey and John Bruton on the agreement.
Water charges had been introduced in Dublin in 1994 and an anti-water campaign ensued calling for the boycott of all charges. In December 1996, on the eve of a general election, Minister for the Environment Brendan Howlin, announced that the water charges were to be scrapped.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 29 March 1995.