Sinn Fein accused of planning water charges

Sinn Fein have been challenged to publically rule out the introduction of water charges after a senior member of the party called for separate water charges to be brought in after the May’s elections. In an interview in today’s The Irish News, Paul Butler claimed Sinn Fein needed to start taking “hard decisions rather than populist decisions” in order to find extra funding and added “really the only place the Stormont executive can go is the area of water charging.”

Mr Butler failed to get nominated as a Sinn Fein candidate in the West Belfast Assembly constituency after changes to the boundary. His statement today has led to attacks from the anti-water charges We Won’t Pay Campaign who have raised concerns that Sinn Fein are preparing to impose water charges after May’s elections.

Pat Lawlor, secretary of the We Won’t Pay Campaign stated

“Sinn Fein posed as being anti-water charges in the last election, yet the Budget passed has not scrapped water charges, it only states that water charges will be deferred for an unspecified period. That means water charges could be introduced in 2012. Mr Butlers comments suggest that senior members of Sinn Fein are contemplating introducing water charges.

“This proves that water charges are not off the agenda and our campaign for mass non-payment of the charges if introduced will not go away. We already pay for water and our rates are rising. Water charges are a double tax and people should refuse to pay them if the next Assembly introduces them.

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