Motor tax payments used to fund Irish Water

Motor tax payments used to fund Irish Water

Two-thirds of funding being given to Irish Water this year by the Government came from motor tax payments, the Dáil spending watchdog heard earlier this week.

A subvention payment of €439m made to the semi-State utility company last year was being drawn from what is known as the Local Government Fund. This is a fund where revenues from motor tax and local property tax payments are deposited by the State.

Traditionally, the money in this fund was given to local authorities to maintain services and regional roads.

However, this changed last year and a further payment from the same fund, expected to be €399m, will be made this year.

Department of Environment secretary general John McCarthy told the Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) there was nothing unusual about the source of the funds.

He said motor tax proceeds were used to fund a range of things, including the subvention to Irish Water.

The committee was told that two-thirds of the subvention originated from motor tax payments.

PAC chairman John McGuinness said it was difficult to justify this when councils were being “starved of money to fix the potholes”.

Mr McGuinness said TDs often heard criticism in their constituency clinics about the cost of motor tax.

“Now we are hearing that a lot of that tax was going to Irish Water,” he said.

The PAC chairman observed that the tens of thousands of people who protested against water charges would not be impressed with where the funding had come from.

He added that the committee had been taken on “a financial mystery tour” regarding the funding of Irish Water.

Another committee member, Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming, expressed surprise that motor tax money was funding the utility.

“It is just getting more bizarre as time goes on. That is all I can say,” said Mr Fleming.

“People are paying on the treble here for Irish Water,” he added.

“The public have paid for the water infrastructure through general taxation, they will be receiving bills from Irish Water shortly and now they are finding out they’re propping up Irish Water with their motor tax as well. People will be utterly shocked to hear this news.

“Irish Water is a financial fiasco and the sooner the Government accepts this, the better.”

There are 33 comments for this article
  1. Eric (Fairview – Dublin 3) at 12:33 pm

    Another proof that Irish Water is not managed an efficient way despite the amount of water charges we pay. My fears now are that this funding is done at the expense of roads and, therefore, safety.

  2. John Joseph McDermott at 11:43 pm

    Ian, you are either a troll, or a fool, or just plain disingenuous.
    How can you consider justifying a set up like “Irish Water”.??
    HSE mark 2
    Another government leech of people’s hard earned money,and a very inequitable one at that.

  3. Rosalie at 7:58 pm

    Divide and conquer. The biggest achievement of any government is to make you believe one group of society is willfully causing you harm by not conforming and folding in to their unreasonable requests – be it pay and working conditions, water charges, motor tax, USC, unions, TV licence, etc. Either a cynic, aggressive or a passive reply but either way governments always find a distraction, someone to blame and castigate in public via the puppets that are some of our media…
    We may have moved on from having priests involved in politics to a degree but the people replacing these influences gradually are reusing their greatest weapon: using guilt and shame to force people into complying.

  4. Glen McKeown at 11:37 am

    Our National Poet (I’m Scottish) once wrote about a Parcel of Rogues when Scotland was sold to the English. Coming to Ireland I think I have found to where those “Rogues” absconded! Fiscal propriety appears to be an alien concept over here. Would it be acceptable therefore if we all became financially free and easy?

  5. Benny O’Reiiy at 10:29 am

    Total disregard for the people of this country they haven changed from the other shower we had in before,It keep going on & on what is new not happy.

  6. john jones at 10:12 am

    ,property tax ,water charges,levy on insurance ,universal social charges. prescription charges income tax. loss of phone relief for pensioners,n.c. t . car tests inheritance tax which almost everybody will pay as the thresholh is 4 times less than it used to be and god knows how many more taxes is foisted on us without our knowledge and worse of all no one is accountable any more .i.e banks ,h. s. e remember all this at election time & vote for independents not party politics

  7. Ian D at 9:41 pm

    I drive a car and pay motor tax,I own a house and pay property tax, I use water and I pay my Irish Water bills.

    I believe we should pay motor tax for the upkeep and upgrade of the roads, and other road safety measures; pay property tax for local authority services, if they hadn’t all been privatised. I am also fine with paying for water on the basis that those who use more, pay more.

    What I am unhappy about is to paying my own water charges and motor tax to subsidise the water use of people who refuse to pay their water charges. We have a serious problem with entitlement is this country, a lot of people want something for nothing. It’s great to not have to pay on principle if someone else is footing the bill. Water costs money, if you want decent quality water expect to pay for it. The money has to come from somewhere. I think if you don’t pay motor tax and don’t pay water charges there is no point in moaning about the extent to which Irish Water is being subsidised.

    • A O’Brien at 11:36 pm

      I do pay all those charges and the high rate of income taxes on a modest income and struggling to keep on top of a pre boom modest mortgage and child care etc. And I agree that nothing is for free but what I disagree with is the amount we payout these services. Why should I pay for inefficient management and pay and perks that were we to benchmark again against private sector would result in major salary cuts. Irish water is reported to have the only fully funded defined benefit scheme in the country, we tax payers paid for that while my own pension is wiped. That is what I disagree with, run these organisations effectively and fully transparently and I’ll then not complain.

  8. Mark Byrne at 6:18 pm

    I was always led to belive that deducted income tax funded the maintenance of the Irish water systems, the government moves the goalposts to suit the mess they have made in the first place and then add insult to injury by giving them 10 or 11% pay rises while preaching to the public that belts will have to be tightened to get through the hard times, yet builders who owe banks millions if not billions are getting debts wiped clear…I’m sorry to say it but sometimes I’m ashamed to be Irish while politicians run the country to ruin all the time lining their pockets and receiving pensions that would put some people’s salaries to shame

  9. William Nagle at 6:09 pm

    NO NO NO the sooner the better this government packs their bags and heads out of town the better, bunch of crooks and take irish water with them

  10. Stephen at 3:36 pm

    The Government should be taken to The European Court due to misappropriation of Road Tax Revenue.

    • Leo Rickard at 4:14 pm

      You have a point there stephen, it would be the appropriate avenue to.take presuming the EU and its legislative bodies were lawful and honest.brokers in dealing with issues.like misappropriation of public monies. Unfortunately the EU by its very nature is.the seat of corruption and cronyism that in turn trickles down to local governments throughout Europe. It is the EU.and its disastrous financial financial policies and false economics that has brought our.country to financial ruin and the enslavement.of.this and.future generations in order to repay the massive debt we are in,just.to appease foreign bondholders. Sadly.thats tbe truth of it.

  11. Maria at 3:29 pm

    I am absolutely outraged by this .
    Its bad enough that I am sickened by the cost of my road tax of €570.00 for a 2009 1.6 petrol Tida, to think this money is being used to fund Irish water. Clearly the so called politicians are not bothered by the never ending implementation of taxes . But why should they … The only thing they are interested in, is themselves.. power and greed.
    They are Liars and full of B…..it

  12. Andrew at 3:24 pm

    If people had listened to the protesters they would have heard them saying “We already Pay”

    The reason being that in 1996 Brendan Howlin (current Minister) abolished the water charges that people were not paying and introduced a system where a portion of Motor Tax and an increase in VAT were to be paid to local authorities to cover the cost of the public water system.

    Up to a billion Euro’s per year were collected using the new taxes, the big questions are :
    Where did the money go?
    Where is the money still being collected by these taxes going today?
    Why are the local authorities or Central Government not accountable?

  13. Terence O’Connor at 2:34 pm

    We Live in a Culture of Threats and Intimidation of Penalties we will suffer if we, the Citizen, does not abide by the Laws/Rules in our society. Yet this Government can Lie and Cheat us by using our Taxes to fund Activities Hidden from us. This is not a “Democracy”. I no longer have Trust in anything the TDs say. My Voting shall reflect this.

    • Pedantic Panda at 3:11 pm

      What are you talking about? Whomever you vote for next will become TDs and if you think that things will radically change for the better then think again. By the end of the next Government’s tenure, whoever it is that is in power, people will be saying the same old rubbish about them too. Where are these threats and intimidations coming from? Are there murder squads roaming the streets at night? Is the free press being silenced? What hidden activities? In what way is Ireland not a democracy? Are the people that we voted for last time around not in power? If they are then that is what the people voted for at the time and that is what must be respected in a democracy. The same will be true for next time. The Citizen cannot pick and choose what laws and rules of society he/she abides by – where does that end up? I burn your house down because you didn’t get planning for your kitchen extension and I feel strongly about it? Be angry if you want and make sure that you do vote next time around but remember that the rules, laws, regulations, right and entitlements more than likely work as much for you as against you – don’t forget that fact when you’re railing against society/”the man”! Ireland is an angry culture but come voting day there is very little evidence of anything but apathy and disinterest at the voting station.

  14. John Farrely at 2:32 pm

    I have only went last week to the local authority offices with a residents association to seek a few bob to fix a couple of potholes and was told they just do not have the money. In support of them, they are having the money taken from them, but is in it ironic that we have property tax now, a water tax, and these taxes are only new and yet we still can fix a hole in the road. The road tax funds going to water is criminal. When I pay my taxes, I deserve to know and also have a say as to where they should be directed. This will be a big issue on the doorstep come election time and it is a line in the sand for me. I have to say I was inclined to support the government, but they will have to re forest these funds back to where they should be, before they get my vote.

  15. A O’Brien at 2:15 pm

    Property taxes are for providing local services including all utilities (i.e. Water) we keep being told, “everyone pays them”. Water charges are for water “everyone pays them”. Even when refuse charges came in they told us everyone paid them, we must conform. however the amount that is charged to everyone else in the US and Europe (the everyone the politician keep quoting) is very different. Friends and colleagues in other countries are horrified at the total of these charges and our motor tax, their total would be a fraction of what they want us to pay. A colleague from the US told me that all personal taxes and charges including property tax and water charges would be a total of max 40% of gross income.
    So the government needs to decide if they want to follow the rest of Europe and have a charge for each thing then they need to reduce them down so the total is no greater than our current property tax. The ‘we had to charge for water’ is untrue, Ireland had, not sure current situation, an exemption for eternity on the EU water charge directive which requires charging for water due to the levels of rainfall here.

    • Pedantic Panda at 3:01 pm

      Ask your American friend how is public health care and social welfare system works for those who lose their jobs or can’t afford to pay for private health insurance. These things also cost money which must recouped from the tax base. I don’t mind paying extra for these things as some day I may need it. I do mind when such things are abused and I do mind when people who pay for nothing complain when asked to pay for something. The taxpayer will pick up the bill for water/IMF/bail-out/banks/roads/whatever-else no matter what happens. The taxpayer must accept that this is his/her destiny.

    • natashalabe at 7:05 pm

      Believe exemption is gone as it had to be renewed either the end of last year or beginning of this year and obviously the Government were not going to renew as it was not in their interests to do so

  16. Pedantic Panda at 2:04 pm

    All this goes to show is that clean water must be paid for and if they don’t get (some) of the money via water bills then they will get it from elsewhere. This means that those paying tax will pick up the bill for those not paying tax. It means that the workers will pay for those not working (or those avoiding tax) … YET AGAIN!!! I still cannot believe that workers unions backed the anti-water charges campaign as, in the end, no matter what happens, it is those tax-paying workers who will pay for water services in the country – at least with water billing, some of the cost was spread out to those who do not pay tax! In the end, if you pay tax then it doesn’t matter if you pay your water bill or not, the cost of producing clean water will be picked up by you, the mug, as always happens and those who do not pay tax or pay for anything else will sit back and continue to live off you!

  17. Leo Rickard at 1:50 pm

    Typical of this governments attitude and way of deluding the taxpayers. Its the Joeseph Gobbels school of propaganda and misinformation methods that this administrarion is using to justify the complete waste of money that Irish Water is. Shame on them! Time to tear the whole thing up. Road tax is for roads and thats where the money should rightfully go . Leo Rickard

  18. PEADAR MACMILLAN at 1:43 pm

    This fact has been known for months.People need to wake up and stop being trodden on by politicians and administrators. Dont pay your water charges….. If you went to a shop and paid for an item, then were stopped at the door and ask to pay for the item – would you ?
    The country is being run by 26 teachers – where did they all get the time and money to become elected. I do not like one politician in this country, nor trust or respect any either. They are screwing ordinary working class people – soft targets. Dont pay twice we already have. The money from property and water tax is going to pay off the IMF / ECB anyway – IT’S PART OF THE “deal” !!!!!!!.

  19. Rachael at 1:42 pm

    Absolutely disgusting! I’ve just paid €213 for the next 6 months motor tax and I’m sickened to know where most of it will go.

    Just as well I have not paid my water bills and don’t intend to as I don’t have that money to spare.

    • Pedantic Panda at 2:52 pm

      Thank God that you don’t own a pre-2008 car then or you’ve be paying wayyy more and as you’re yet another person who simply can’t afford to pay (“..because I haven’t a cent to spare!”, they say), you’d be rightly screwed trying to cover the extra motor tax. Probably one for debate over the few pints a week or 20 fags a day or 10 mochas a week that you find that you can easily afford …. or maybe not you specifically but plenty of the “can’t afford it” crowd actually could – they just don’t want to, which is a different thing!

  20. B Walsh at 1:36 pm

    Once again it is the poor who are subsidising the rich. Those who are unfortunate enough to own pre 2008 cars are subsidising new car purchasers who pay minimal road tax on low emmission vehicles – and in turn subsidising Irish water.

    • PEADAR MACMILLAN at 1:45 pm

      Totally agree with you – the poor are subsidising the rich. Politicians are all shits.

    • Paul Farrell at 1:45 pm

      Worse than that. The most gas guzzling and carcinogenic polluting cars (Diesel SUV’s) qualify for the low tax. Another legacy of the looney greens.

      • Pedantic Panda at 1:59 pm

        You only qualify for lower tax brackets if your engine does not guzzle gas! NO2 pollution is something different though and is worth considering along with diesel particulate levels.

  21. Gordon Steen at 1:36 pm

    Motor tax is paid by the motorist in the expectations that the revenue is used to improve the state of our roads. Taking revenue from this fund to keep Irish water executives in their highly paid jobs is nothing short of criminal. What other company depends on outside funding to keep itself afloat in this manner. The amount of money being wasted here is incredible and needs to be addressed immediately.
    If small businesses were run in the same manner they wouldn’t be in business for long.

  22. Rita McCabe at 1:33 pm

    It just gets better & better. Voting machines, Irish Water, eircode, the list goes on & on, meantime our roads are 3rd world

  23. Pingback: Motor tax payments used to fund Irish Water | Rosalie Rodney

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