independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Irish Water staff recruited from local authorities

Over half the senior management staff in Irish Water have been recruited from local authorities

OVER half of the senior management team in Irish Water has been drawn from local authorities and the government department already in charge of delivering services.

Just four of the nine-strong team charged with improving services were externally recruited, with figures showing more than half of staff in Irish Water were already working in the sector before joining the firm.

Some 203 staff have been recruited, of which half are from local authorities, Bord Gais and the Department of the Environment. At senior management level, four of the nine posts have been appointed from local authorities, one from the Department of the Environment, one from Bord Gais Eireann, two from consultants firm RPS and one who has worked for a number of civil engineering contractors.

The lack of external appointments was criticised by Fianna Fail environment spokesman Barry Cowen, who accused the Government of creating a new quango.

He criticised agreements reached with local authorities, where they will operate the network on behalf of Irish Water for up to 12 years.

"It's far from a hugely reformed system in terms of building Irish Water," Mr Cowen said. "They now have a 12-year service agreement with existing staff across the country... the same people are doing the same job they have done for the last 12 years, except they're being paid by Irish Water instead of local authorities.

"There's management in local authorities doing this, and now there's another layer of management in Irish Water.

"We don't see any reason for people to leave the local authority and then being taken on by the State in a supposedly reformist agenda. It's a runaway quango."

EXPERIENCE

Irish Water's MD is John Tierney, who served as Dublin City manager. Ray O'Dwyer, head of operations, is former Waterford County manager, head of finance John Dempsey joined from Kilkenny County Council.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan defended the appointments, saying a "lot of experience" was needed to establish the new entity.

Irish Independent

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