by Joe Leogue, Irish Examiner
Irish Water will have cost the State over €2bn by the end of the year, according to government projections.
Figures released to the Irish Examiner show the controversial utility will cost the State €844m in 2016 alone, when its operating subvention, capital contributions and the replacement revenue — provided by the State following the decision to suspend billing customers — are taken into consideration.
The State gave Irish Water €678m and €621m in 2014 and 2015 respectively in operating subventions and capital contributions, bringing the total cost to €2.143bn over the past three years.
The operating subventions from the Government were paid in respect of concessions Irish Water was to pass onto customers, such as free allowances for children.
The Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government released the figures following a request for the total cost to the State in establishing Irish Water to date.
“The provision of State funding to Irish Water is made up of a number of elements,” a department spokesperson said.
“Only those elements which do not have an expected return are counted for the purposes of calculating the cost to the State. For example, Irish Water received borrowings and not subvention for the costs of the domestic metering programme.
“No exchequer funds have been provided for the establishment costs of Irish Water.”
In 2014, the State provided a €439m operating subvention and €239m in capital contributions or equity. Last year, its operating subvention dropped to €399m and capital contributions came in at €222m.
However, 2016 has proven to be the costliest year to date. While capital contributions dropped to a low of €184m, the operating subvention rose to a high of €479m.
Furthermore, in 2016, the State gave Irish Water €181m in replacement revenue.
“Following the Government decision of 18th October 2016, it was agreed to provide Irish Water with an additional subvention of up to €181m to allow Irish Water meet the shortfall in its projected revenue stream that arose due to the suspension of domestic water charges,” the department said.
The figures are revealed as the 20-member Oireachtas committee on the future funding of domestic water services meets tomorrow for the first time since the publication of the Duffy report on charges.
Source: Irish Examiner, Dec 12 2016