Fianna Fáil has expressed serious concerns about revelations of widespread water pollution as Irish Water prioritises spending on consultants, management layers and glossy advertising campaigns.
It comes as a new report from the EPA reveals that raw sewerage is seeping into water systems in 42 towns and villages across the country.
“Phil Hogan has spent the past two years attempting to justify the establishment of his new Super Quango and its exorbitant start-up costs by claiming that it’s all about upgrading our water system. And yet, of the €180 million of taxpayers’ money being pumped into setting up Irish Water, not one cent has been spent on improving the infrastructure that will improve customer services,” said Fianna Fáil’s Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen.
“This EPA report is further proof of the fact that taxpayers’ money is being squandered on setting up a Super Quango that has done nothing to fix chronic problems with our water supply. While sewage seeps into the water in 42 towns and villages across Ireland, Irish Water’s resources have been channelled into its own corporate development and putting in place systems to charge households for their water.
“There is no doubt that there needs to be greater investment in our water and wastewater services. However, the resources that are available should be spent on the actual services rather than setting up a gold-plated quango. The €180 million spent setting up Irish Water could have had a real impact on the problems identified in the EPA report.
“This report must be a wake-up for the Government. In less than seven months, households across the country will be hit for water charges. Far from our water supply improving on Irish Water’s watch, this report shows it’s actually getting worse. The Government put the cart before the horse in how it set up Irish Water. It is time that they recognised this and moved to prioritise spending where it can actually make a difference to people’s lives.”