Just three months on from the suspension of water charges Irish Water is now looking to hire a debt collection company.
The State agency has put out a tender for a firm to start collecting debts owed to it by businesses across the country.
The tender also details the possibility of extending its responsibilities to include the collection of domestic debt, however this is unlikely to occur until the end of the suspension on the charges next year.
A description of the opportunity on the eTenders website reads as follows:
"Provision of legal debt collection services to Irish Water including : • debt collection proceedings in the District, Circuit and High Court for the recovery of overdue non-domestic customer debt for water and waste water charges including ancillary services • debt collection legal services • option to extend services to include debt collection proceedings in the District, Circuit and High Court for the recovery of overdue domestic water and waste water charges."
Irish Water will close the application process for the tender, which is separated into three lots, on November 9.
The tender is broken up based on location with each lot representing a region. Lot one covers the Connaught and Ulster region, Lot two covers the 'Southern' region, while lot three covers the Eastern and Midlands region
The news comes after the water regulator was ordered to reduce its costs by 20pc because they are significantly more expensive than comparable utilities.
Water charges has been a long running dispute amongst Irish taxpayers and political parties. Its introduction led to major protest across cities and towns and has caused arguments between Government.
In September, Taoiseach Enda Kenny rounded on Fianna Fáil for calling on an outright ban on water charges.
Source; Irish Independent, Oct 10,2016