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Irish Water desperately spinning compliance figures - Adams

25 November, 2014 - by Gerry Adams TD


Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD today asked Taoiseach if he is satisfied with a situation where the CEO of Ervia, Irish Water’s parent company, also owns significant shares in another company set to make millions from Irish Water contracts.

Mr Adams also raised the issue of a €100 million over-run in the cost of installing water meters, which he said was a huge amount of public money.

He described as extreme arrogance, Irish Water’s action in signing up to the company more than 17,000 people who had returned Irish Water packs, without filling them in, as a form of protest against Water Charges.

Her said this was part of Irish Water’s “desperate attempt to spin the figures so that they can claim a wider level of compliance than is actually the case” but that it would not work.

Gerry Adams said:

“From the very outset, Irish Water has reeked of cronyism and ‘jobs for the boys’. The reckless waste of public money - not least of which was the €86 million euro spent on consultants - has also been a hallmark of the company. Irish Water is now a toxic brand. It will never be accepted by citizens.

“It has now emerged that the Department of the Environment, in May 2013, had an ‘understanding’ that the ‘overall budget’ for the installation of water meters would amount to €431million.

“This stands in stark contrast to the actual cost of installing meters which we now know to be €539million - €100 million more than the Government budgeted for. That is a huge amount of public money.

“In trying to defend this latest fiasco, CEO Michael McNicholas, has blamed water meter contractors. This is an interesting, considering that it also emerged at the weekend that the same Mr McNicholas owns shares worth €1million in a company - NTR plc (formerly National Toll Roads) - which is making millions out of water meter contracts! Mr McNicholas is also an adviser to NTR.”

Mr Adams asked the Taoiseach for his explanation for the massive cost over-run for the installation of water meters and if he accepted as satisfactory, a situation where the man who heads up Irish Water’s parent company also owns significant shares in a company set to make millions from Irish Water contracts.

The Sinn Fein Leader pointed to the latest available figures which show that more than 17,000 people returned packs to Irish Water, without filling them in.

He said:

“This was an act of protest against Water Charges. However, despite making it very clear that they do not want to become Irish Water customers, these householders have been signed up by the company. They have been signed up to Irish Water against their will.

“This is an act of extreme arrogance which has been characteristic of Irish Water and of your Government’s attempt to impose Water Charges on a deeply unwilling public. It is clearly part of Irish Water’s desperate attempt to spin the figures so that they can claim a wider level of compliance than is actually the case. It will not work.

“Citizens have, in their hundreds of thousands, made it very, very clear that nothing short of the complete scrapping of Water Charges will satisfy them.”

Mr Adams asked the Taoiseach, if he believed that Irish Water’s appropriation of the names and addresses of citizens clearly opposed to Water Charges, in order to sign them up for those Charges was legitimate or fair and if he believed such action would stand up under Irish contract law.

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