Friday 30 September 2016

Irish Water's parent hiring €90k lobbyist to apply for EU funding

Barry Duggan and Laura Larkin

Published 25/07/2016 | 11:47

CEO Michael McNicholas
CEO Michael McNicholas

The parent company of Irish Water is hiring an EU lobbyist, despite the fact that a review of the troubled utility is under way and bills have been suspended.

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Ervia is advertising for a European and International Affairs Manager.

An industry source said the position will pay around €90,000-a-year. The role is permanent, meaning it will come with full benefits.

Water charges have been suspended since July 1 and a decision on the future of the funding of the company is due to be made early next year.

Bill payment dropped sharply in the wake of the general election result, when Fianna Fail demanded Irish Water be abolished in exchange for its support for the minority Government.

An expert commission has been set up to examine the funding model that underpins Irish Water and how to conserve water and fund infrastructure upgrades.

The EU's stance on water charges is likely to be key in what will become of the company as Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have been citing conflicting legal advice on whether the charges can be scrapped.

Influence

Ervia, which is headed by CEO Michael McNicholas, declined to reveal how much the lobbyist will be paid. The job description includes a number of responsibilities including:

  • Develop a comprehensive analysis of key institutions, decision makers and processes in Europe which impact on Ervia's business in gas, energy, water, wastewater and environment;
  • Provide regular updates to the executive team on a strategic analysis of key developments at EU level;
  • Influence key European policy development and decisions across the five sectors;
  • Support compliance with EU law;
  • Develop an understanding of what funding is available from the EU and oversee funding applications;
  • The person who gets the job will also have to "develop strong relationships" with the institutions and decision makers who distribute that funding.

Similar relationships are to be built with companies and bodies that Ervia may work with in the future.

This is the second EU- focused role to be filled in Ervia this year. In April, a "senior European affairs analyst" was sought. That role is solely gas-focused, however. The current European and international affairs manager is retiring.

Herald

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