Fianna Fáil Environment spokesperson Barry Cowen has responded to revelations in this morning’s media about the extraordinary interactions between Irish Water and the Department of Social Protection when Irish Water sought to force the handover of personal details from the Department, including PPS numbers.

Deputy Cowen commented, “What screams out from the interactions revealed in this morning’s Irish Times report is the arrogance of Irish Water in its dealings with the Department.  What is equally clear from the tone and manner of their demands is that senior Irish Water management had total confidence that they were acting with full political cover and support.

“Citizens across the country who read this correspondence will be grateful that the staff of the Department of Social Protection had the good judgement and strength of character to resist Irish Water’s demands.  It took the civil service to understand the inappropriateness of what was being done.  But those same citizens will also wonder why the protection of such important personal information was left to staff and was not on any ministerial agenda.

“This latest insight into the behaviour of the Quango once again strengthens the case for a fundamental review of its operation and role. Fianna Fáil will continue to push for this.  It also raises serious questions about the political leadership of the Department of Social Protection which we will be taking forward in the week ahead.”