Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson, Barry Cowen TD, has condemned both Irish Water and the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) for what he described as ‘a basic lack of professionalism’ in their interaction with the Oireachtas today, as it emerged that CER were unable to answer questions about the proposed cost of water because Irish Water had not yet provided the information required.
Deputy Cowen commented: “Today’s Oireachtas committee meeting was a fiasco. It was a fiasco because two public organisations showed total disrespect for the Oireachtas and by extension the citizens they have been established to serve.
“The fact that the Regulator would turn up for a meeting with public representatives without having secured the information that they were coming to talk about raises some very serious question marks over the competence of that organisation and whether it is fit for the purpose of regulating a nationwide water utility. Today, Irish Water has made a fool of the organisation we are supposed to trust to keep the monopoly in check.
“For its part, Irish Water has lived down to the very low expectations that people now have for them. Knowing the level of demand for information about costs, Irish Water management sat it out and withheld the information. Irish Water obviously believes it has the political cover it needs from Phil Hogan to disregard the Oireachtas in this way but if that is the case, it is following a very short term strategy.
“We heard much from Irish Water in the wake of the consultant costs scandal about its effort to rebuild trust with the public and with the Oireachtas. Today, the organisation took a very significant step backwards in that process.”