There have been varying views within Fine Gael and the Government on whether those who have paid their water charges should be refunded.

There have also been growing calls that customers who have paid their bills should be refunded.

Fine Gael parliamentary party chairman Martin Heydon has said the party's representatives on the special Oireachtas committtee set up to assess the report of the Expert Commission on Domestic Public Water Services will have to report back to the parliamentary party to get a mandate on any recommendation.

Last night at the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting, different views were expressed on the matter.

Minister of State Catherine Byrne said she was in favour of refunding those who paid.

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney and Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar have both said they oppose refunds.

The Independent Alliance, meanwhile, Fine Gael's partners in Government, have said they favour some sort of a refund.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil's Barry Cowen has said a cost-benefit analysis has to be carried out in order to ascertain what is best in the public interest and in the public finances and then move with that.

He said it could cost more to collect all the money owed than to repay those who paid their bills.

His party leader Micheál Martin earlier said those who have not paid should be pursued.

Sinn Féin, Labour, Anti Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit, the Green Party and the Social Democrats all favour a refund.

Labour TD Willie Penrose has prepared a bill for those who paid to be refunded.

He said he would await the findings of the special committee and it was then his intention to consider bringing a class action aimed at refunding those who paid their bills.

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