Fianna Fáil’s Leader on Dublin City Council, Cllr Mary Fitzpatrick, has slammed the Government’s dishonesty over so-called ‘new investment’ in the water services.

Cllr Fitzpatrick has pointed out that the announcement of investment of €1.7billion over three years amounts to just under €600 million a year – the same amount that the Government’s own PWC report says is currently being spent on maintaining water network. It’s also €500 million a year less than this report says now needs to be invested in water services.

“This is nothing more than a PR stunt ahead of next week’s elections. It represents absolutely no new spending on our water services. Irish Water made the announcement amid great fanfare, but what people have failed to recognise is that it does not amount to one single cent of new investment. It’s exactly what was being spent on the water network anyway, before this Government came into office and before Irish Water was established,” said Cllr Fitzpatrick.

“The Environment Minister Phil Hogan must be taken to task for this blatant dishonesty. Minister Hogan also needs to realise that the water network in Dublin is outdated and not fit for purpose, and it needs new investment. 540 million litres of water are treated for the wider Dublin area each day and 99% of this supply is used daily, leaving only 1% capacity spare capacity. This is far from the European average of 30% spare capacity. What we are now learning is that despite Dublin families facing water bills of over €500 a year from next year, ‘investment’ in the water network will be the exact same as current levels.

“All the way along, Minister Hogan has attempted to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes about what’s being spent on setting up his new super quango and where that money is going. He’s attempted to play down the true cost of water charges and has been completely dishonest about what households will get in return. This latest announcement is just more evidence of this dishonesty.

“Dublin households cannot be expected to pay hundreds of euro a year for their water without seeing any improvement whatsoever in the service they receive. The very first task of Irish Water was supposed to be carrying out a full audit of the water network and identifying problems that need investment. Two years later that still hasn’t happened, so Minister Hogan’s answer is to pretend that extra money is being invested in the network just so his party can salvage some votes in next week’s elections. It’s a deeply dishonest and cynical move and further evidence of the Government neglecting the best interests of households in this process.”