Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has rejected Fine Gael claims that her party backed a proposal for water charges at the European Parliament today.

Ms Boylan was presenting a report on a 'Right2Water' initiative in the parliament this afternoon.

The report calls on the commission to table legislative proposals to recognise that "affordable access to water is a basic human right".

However, Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness described the move as a "blatant U-turn" by Sinn Féin.

She said Paragraph 92 in Ms Boylan's report on the initiative calls on member states to ensure they are "providing for the application of a progressive charge that is proportional to the amount of water used", which the four Sinn Féin MEPs voted in favour of.

However, Ms Boylan said she had not written that part of the report, which is a compromise document which had received over 250 amendments.

Ms Boylan said Fine Gael MEPs were the only Irish MEPs to vote against the report.

"Irish MEPs who have also consistently opposed Fine Gael/Labour's water charges voted in favour of this report highlighting Fine Gael's dishonesty.

"Sinn Féin's position is clear - we are absolutely opposed to domestic water charges."

In a statement, Fine Gael said their members abstained "on the final vote on the report and instead supported the EPP's alternative resolution on the same issue outlining their position."

However, Ms McGuinness accused Sinn Féin of changing its stance on water charges.

"At a national level, the party says it would abolish water charges if in government, yet its four MEPs have just voted in favour of the application of a progressive charge that is proportional to the amount of water in line with recommendations of the World Health Organisation," she said.

The report was passed by 363 in favour, with 96 against and 231 abstentions.