Saturday 22 October 2016

Irish Water boss admits company may not be around after general election

Paul O'Donoghue

Published 22/07/2015 | 09:50

Michael McNicholas, group chief executive of Ervia
Michael McNicholas, group chief executive of Ervia

The boss of Ervia, the parent company of Irish Water, has admitted that the controversial utility may not exist after the looming general election.

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Speaking on at the MacGill Summer School in Donegal, Ervia chief executive Michael McNicholas also conceded that the company will not be able to survive without public support.

Speaking on RTE he said: "We have been very clear that we cannot deliver on the previous plans that were put forward by Ireland, they are too expensive in our view and we can’t deliver what has been promised in the timescale, but we have put forward a realistic engineering plan that we believe will address these issues sensibly, economically and in a time frame that is acceptable and we are very committed to delivering this plan; that is provided we are still around after the next election I should say."

The Ervia chief executive added: "For Irish Water to work it must have political and public support. And it is clear that some sections of the public remain sceptical about it, and some of the political voices in Ireland are totally dismissive of it.

“The reality is that we have not been investing efficiently or sufficiently in our water services. So when people say introducing water charges means we are paying twice, the reality is we have not even been paying once for our water services.

"We need more investment as a matter of urgency and this additional investment has to be paid for in some shape or form by society and by business."

His comments come shortly after Irish Water, which is headed up by former Dublin city manager John Tierney, was brought back into the spotlight when it was revealed that less than half of people eligible had paid their first quarterly water bill.

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