Government must explain €108 million jump in water meter costs – Stanley
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for the Environment Brian Stanley has demanded that the government explain the €108 million jump in water metering costs in a period of eight weeks last year.
Metering costs were judged to be worth €431 million when assessed by external consultants in May 2013. Final costs of €539 million were reported in July. This 25% jump in costs has raised serious concerns over Government accountability.
Deputy Stanley said:
“Serious question marks arise out of this huge jump in costs. Minister Kelly has attributed ongoing survey work for the hike. However it has been revealed that survey work on Irish Water metering costs was not completed until October 2013. It seems strange that the figures reported in July could accord exactly with figures produced in October when survey work carried out by the local authorities was finally completed.
“This jump of €108 million occurred a month after contracts for water meters were awarded in June. It is very surprising that the same figure for contracts would match exactly with survey work carried out by local authorities, which concluded several months later.
“There are questions that are of grave concern to the public, that the Government are consistently refusing to answer. The Government are not producing figures to account for this huge increase in expenditure.
“This is tax payers money that is being wasted with here – this lack of accountability is unacceptable. It is as if the Government have simply given a blank cheque to Irish Water. I've said this many times in the Dáil over the past two years and I am increasingly convinced of this statement.
“Sinn Féin has demanded that Irish Water be fully accountable to the Minister of the Oireachtas, with The Comptroller and Auditor General as well as the PAC having the right to scrutinise their accounts. Currently Irish Water is not answerable to any of these. Minister Alan Kelly can't continue to pass the buck to Irish Water. This is not good enough.
“Almost €539 million is being blown on meters which will not be used for up to five years according to the Government. Water meters are now redundant.
“Sinn Féin has called for the disbandment of Irish Water, the halting of the wasteful metering programme and for the money to be directed into fixing leaking pipes. We are also demanding that Minister Kelly come into the Dáil and answer questions relating to the €108 million hike in relation to the water metering programme.”