Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment Barry Cowen TD says Irish Water’s failure to pass the Eurostat test this week is a major blow to the Governments water charges strategy.

Deputy Cowen pointed out how the State is €785m worse off following the establishment of Irish Water, with water charges due to cost the Government up to €70m this year alone based on current compliance rates. In particular the introduction of the Water Conservation Grant has proved to have been a spectacular failure as it has not led to water conservation, nor has it helped Irish Water pass the Eurostat test.

“When the Government unveiled the Water Conservation Grant last year it was clearly designed to try and help Irish Water pass the Eurostat test. However the events of the last week show how this plan has backfired spectacularly” said Deputy Cowen.

“The Government is wasting €5m per annum on administrating the Water Conservation Grant. This is money which could be spent on improving water infrastructure, but instead it is being spent on a pointless grant which has failed in its key objective of helping Irish Water pass the Eurostat test. Fianna Fáil warned that this grant was nothing more than a gimmick and would not fool Eurostat into giving a clean bill of health for Irish Water.

“When Minister for Environment Alan Kelly was ramming the Irish Water legislation through the Dáil he insisted that the grant would reduce household use of water. However even Eurostat have rubbished this suggestion. They have pointed out that the grant is unlikely to reduce consumption.

“The fact is that not an extra cent is being spent on water infrastructure above the €500m per annum Fianna Fáil spent in Government. The establishment of Irish Water has been a costly mistake for Irish taxpayers. The super quango is swallowing vast quantities of public money on a daily basis while giving little in return when it comes to improving the quality of our water infrastructure.

“Minister Kelly and his Government have serious questions to answer in light of the Eurostat decision. Just what exactly is the purpose of the Water Conservation Grant considering it is unlikely to lead to water conservation and has not led to Irish Water passing the Eurostat test? Irish Water is set to cost the Government up to €70m this year alone. It is time to abolish the super quango instead of throwing more good money after bad.”