Irish Water party till the cows come home

Original article by Mark O'Regan, Irish Independent April 10 2017 entitled;

Irish Water staff share €3m bonus despite 'overly high costs' at utility

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Abridged article

In January, the Commission for Energy Regulation, which oversees Irish Water, said overall costs at the utility remained excessively high.

Following the suspension of water charges last year, the Government is compensating for this loss of revenue by allocating funds from central taxation to the company.

This will pay for a major capital investment programme up to 2021. Overall, the modernisation of our water system will cost billions over the next five years, according to expert analysis. Irish Water was projected to collect around €275m this year and next in domestic charges.

The scrapping of charges will mean the shortfall must be met from general taxation.

The €275m figure equates to almost €60 being taken from every man, woman and child in the country to replace the unpopular charge. The State already pays around €500m a year to Irish Water to fund day-to-day ­operations.

Meanwhile, figures also show €382,110 has been spent on engineering and environmental services, linked to controversial proposals by Irish Water to build a 170km pipeline from Shannon, Co Clare, to Dublin. There are about 500 landowners along the route, which will pass through Clare, Offaly, and Kildare, before ending in Peamount, west Dublin.

Both construction and operational costs are expected to top €1.2bn. Roughly 85pc of the pipeline runs through agricultural land. The company has insisted this scheme is necessary to service the greater Dublin population, which will rise from 1.5 million, to around 2.1 million by 2050.

Irish Water has received 524 submissions on the plan following consultations with relevant stakeholders. The utility needs funding of €8bn ­between 2017 and 2021, made up of €3.9bn to complete the €5.5bn capital investment programme, and the remainder to fund operating costs.

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