FF to demand transparency on Irish Water

Published on: 10 January 2014

Fianna Fáil will use its first Private Members Business of the Dáil term to demand transparency in the operations of Irish Water.

The party’s Environment Spokesperson said the motion will give Government TDs the opportunity to ensure that Phil Hogan’s Super Quango is finally held accountable for the tens of millions of tax-payers money it receives and the billions in assets it has been given ownership of.

“The news that Irish Water has wasted €50 million of taxpayers’ money on consultant fees is, we believe, just the tip of the iceberg,” said Deputy Cowen.

“For the past two years, Minister Hogan has pumped tens of millions of taxpayers’ money into his new Super Quango. This money has not been spent on upgrading our water infrastructure or fixing the chronic problems with supply, it has been spent on setting up a corporate entity, hiring highly paid executives and launching glossy public relations campaigns.

“The Government has blocked scrutiny of its new Super Quango so that taxpayers have no idea what their money is being spent on. While Irish Water strips local authorities of billions in valuable assets and prepares to hit households across the country with charges, it remains outside the Freedom of Information Act.

“For three years now, Fianna Fáil has raised concerns about the secrecy surrounding the establishment and operation of Irish Water. The Government has used its unprecedented majority to stifle debate, block questions and stamp out opposition at every turn. Government TDs who supported this at the time but are now wringing their hands at the news of exorbitant consultancy fees will have the opportunity in the Dáil next week to do the right thing, and back our motion demanding transparency at Irish Water.

“I have also written to the clerk of the Oireachtas Environment Committee to call Irish Water Chief Executive John Tierney and the Environment Minister Phil Hogan before the committee at the earliest possible opportunity.”

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