Donate Irish Water refund to tackle homelessness, charities urge

Donate Irish Water refund to tackle homelessness, charities urge

THREE charities have urged those receiving a refund from Irish Water to consider donating it to the homeless.

Water charges were scraped after a Dáil vote in April and almost 1million people are due a refund for the amount they paid before the change was suspended.

With around €173million expected to be paid back, charities Simon Community, Focus Ireland and Peter McVerry Trust are urging those who can afford it to donate their refund to help tackle homelessness.

In a joint statement, the charities said: "For many, including those struggling to keep a roof over their heads, the refund of water charges will help make ends meet.

"For others who are more fortunate it will be a welcome windfall and it is to those that we will direct this appeal.”

The charities have formed an oversight group to manage the proposed Refund Project and are planning a national advertising campaign to publicise details of how people can easily donate their refund.

"The issue of homelessness is very complex, but everybody has a role to play – government, charities and society,” the statement added.

"It's important to stress that this will not lessen in any way the responsibility of government and policy makers to drive forward the national homelessness strategy.”

Irish Water says it will begin issuing refunds once the relevant legislation has passed, with the Water Services Bill expected to be before the Dáil and Seanad next week.

Latest government figures show there are 8,374 homeless people in Ireland, of which 3,124 are children.

In September meanwhile, there was shock after four homeless people died in Ireland over the space of just six days.