Absolute clarification from the Government is needed on the water charges farmers will pay, according to ICMSA President John Comer.

“The current scenario of farmers being billed twice for water coming through the one meter is totally untenable. Government must clear up how all of this will work. Farm households receiving bills from both Irish Water and their local County Councils just doesn’t add up,” said John Comer.

“Farming in Ireland is primed for future for growth. Of that there is no doubt. Hand in hand, with the envisaged growth in food output, will come an increased demand for fresh water.”

Farmers throughout Ireland are currently trying to plan and budget for the future, he said, but the big imponderable within all of this is the future price of water.

“Presently there is a Government subvention of some €500 million made available to help farmers meet their water bills. It is vitally important for this level of support to be maintained. We saw recently that the ending of the €80 million broadband subvention has led to an annual increase of €180 per year for those households in rural areas wishing to make use of the internet.”

He called on the Government to make the issue of future water charges on Irish farms a priority.