Fianna Fáil’s Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen has said the Environment Minister’s credibility is in tatters as he continues to claim he had no idea what Irish Water’s €180 million budget was being spent on.

“It is extremely difficult to believe that Minister Hogan had no idea that Irish Water was spending half of its entire budget on external consultants. It is hardly ‘micromanaging’ for the Minister who set up Irish Water to keep track of where half its budget is going,” said Barry Cowen.

“If the Minister genuinely had no clue that Irish Water was spending 50% of its funding on consultants and not on improving our water supply, then we have a bigger problem. Taxpayers did not hand over €85 million for consultant fees. If they are being hit with water charges next year, it is only reasonable for them to expect that their investment is going on improving our water infrastructure and ensuring that there is a decent quality water service.

“The Government Ministers and TDs that have shown a sudden interest in transparency at Irish Water of the past few days now have an opportunity to help lift the lid on secrecy at Phil Hogan’s Super Quango. Fianna Fáil has published a Bill that would bring Irish Water under the Freedom of Information Act immediately so it must finally answer questions from the public. I am urging those Fine Gael and Labour TDs who now realise the need for accountability and transparency at Irish Water to back our Dáil motion this week.”