Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen TD has hit out at Irish Water for spending hundreds of thousands of euro on an advertising campaign to tell people what they already know. In the latest splurge of taxpayers’ money, the super quango has forked out €650,000 to run ads over the next eight weeks.
Deputy Cowen commented, “Once again we see Irish Water spending taxpayers’ money on frivolous extras without investing much needed funds into repairing and upgrading our water services. Instead of lecturing people on the fact that drinkable water doesn’t fall out of the sky, this over-bloated utility should be putting this money towards ensuring that drinking water is safe and secure and that boil water notices are lifted without delay.
“The timing of this campaign is particularly crass, with the ads being rolled out as the first water bills landing on people’s doorsteps. Obviously these ads were commissioned to appease angry taxpayers who are frustrated by the series of calamities that have come about as a result of the gross mismanagement of this bonus driven super quango. The fact that they have had to spend €650,000 on an “information campaign” is further proof that is has been unable to persuade the public that it can be trusted to carry out its work effectively.
“This €650,000 comes on top of the €500m which has been wasted on water meters which are effectively redundant for the next 5 years, and another €90m which was spent on consultants’ fees. And only last month we learned that €290m from the national motor tax bill was handed over as a subvention to Irish Water by the Department of Environment last year. Despite these massive cash injections by the Irish taxpayer, not one extra cent has actually been spent on fixing leaks or pipes so far. Even the most ingenious advertising campaign cannot gloss over the hundreds of millions of euros that has been squandered by Irish Water.
“Irish Water has been a fiasco from the outset yet Fine Gael and Labour have continued to prop it up with taxpayers’ money. Now, only weeks before the first bills land, it emerges that this botched quango is squandering even more money on a campaign which will serve no other purpose other than to patronise the public and fuel new anger over the amount of money being wasted by the utility”.