Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen TD has responded to the analysis from the ESRI which suggests that decisions taken by the Government around the structure of Irish Water will lead to an additional €2 Billion costs.

Deputy Cowen commented, “As each week passes, the mess at the core of the Government’s water reform process becomes increasingly clear. This latest development, where senior ESRI analysts completely undermine the efficiency claims from Government, makes a mockery of the central argument that Ministers have been using to support the establishment of the new super-quango.

“Fianna Fáil’s central argument is that the Government’s focus has been misplaced since day one – it has spent the last three years and some €180 million on a management structure that will simply sit on top of the team that is actually delivering the service. The super quango will comprise up to 500 managers and administrators, none of whom will be the men and women on the front line actually dealing with the public and fixing problems as they arise.

“Fine Gael decided before they ever came into Government that they wanted to create a water company along the lines of the British privatised model. They paid handsomely for an independent report on the best way to do this, before promptly ignoring the advice and bolting the company on to Bord Gáis. That report warned of the sort of spiralling costs we are now learning about, but Phil Hogan knew best.

“Despite the hand wringing and false promises of Ministers, we are now developing a gold plated management structure, at a cost of €180 million, complete with generous bonus scheme to oversee the work of men and women across the country who have been doing the job for decades and will continue to do the same job for at least the next decade. And despite the ongoing assurances of Ministers and their defence of ‘trust the Regulator’, it will be householders across the country who will foot the bill for every cent of this project through inflated water charges.”