herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Irish Water rejects councils despite over 2,000 queries

John Tierney, chief executive of Irish Water. Photo: Tom Burke
John Tierney, chief executive of Irish Water. Photo: Tom Burke

despite receiving more than 2,000 queries from councillors, TDs and senators around the country, Irish Water has refused to attend local council meetings.

In a letter, seen by the Herald, from Irish Water's managing director to local councils, it states that attending all meetings would be "problematic".

"As a national organisation it would be hugely problematic for us to be available to attend 31 local council meetings on a regular basis," read the letter from John Tierney.

He qualified Irish Water's refusal to attend meetings by stating: "It is also not the norm for other similar national 
organisations."

Publicly-elected representatives, particularly local councillors, have been bombarding the water authority with queries.

Before the local elections, candidates said that water 
charges was the number one issue on the doors while out canvassing.

As the installation of water meters began in earnest in May, residents in the areas effected by works contacted their local representatives about the likely costs.

Mr Tierney's letter said that while Irish Water appreciates the current "desire for information", it still had to decline attending local council meetings to discuss the introduction of charges.

"We continue to receive a number of invitations to attend council meetings on a regular basis," read the letter.

He did state that the authority had now come up with an alternative plan for talks with local representatives, but said this would not be put in place until the charges had been finalised. Irish Water is planning eight events organised on a regional basis for TDs, senators and local councillors.

However, Mr Tierney said: "We believe that the best time to hold these events is when the CER (Commission for Energy Regulation) have concluded the process in relation to setting water charges."

The CER will publish the water charges plan in September.

Before last May's local elections, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that the annual charges for water would come in at approximately €240 per household.

However, it was argued by councillors in Dublin that the cost should only be half that.

jfegan@herald.ie

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