Wednesday 1 March 2017

Bord na Mona hoping to take control of nation's water supply

Projects

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

THE head of Bord na Mona wants the semi-state body to become the new water company being proposed by the Government. The company would be in charge of the supply of water under the proposed water metering scheme.

Chief executive Gabriel D'Arcy said Bord na Mona, which was earmarked for sale by Colm McCarthy's semi-state review, should be reinvented to become Ireland's main water utilities company.

As part of its plans to take on the Irish water business, the company plans to build the first new reservoir in 60 years at a cutaway bog at Garryhinch in Co Offaly. The €540m project would create 1,000 jobs, he said.

Under EU/IMF bailout conditions, the Government will appoint a company to run the nation's water supply.

The Department of the Environment has commissioned accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers and law firm McCann FitzGerald to assess and recommend who should take the highly lucrative water business. Their report is due in September.

"The Government has a number of options but we are confident in our plans," Mr D'Arcy said.

"To run the Irish Water company the Government could create a new body, and deal with all the requirements of creating a new semi-state, or it can use someone like us who are ready and willing to take up the challenge."

Mr D'Arcy was speaking after Bord na Mona unveiled annual results which showed profits increased by almost a quarter last year, despite what the company called "one of the most challenging years in recent history".

The company, which is moving into waste management, renewables and water, increased its earnings after tax by 23pc to €12.9m on the back of revenue which was essentially flat at €382.1m. The dividend to the state fell €1.8m to €3.4m.

D'Arcy added that with the advent of new technologies in wind energy, wind farms in the midlands, which may not have been viable three or four years ago, were now realistic.

Irish Independent

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