LOCAL authority staff have protested outside the Dail about the creation of the new Irish Water body.
There are currently over 3,000 staff employed in the water services sections of city and county councils, including engineers, plumbers and water inspectors.
SIPTU held a protest outside the Dail as part of an EU-wide action against the "privatisation of water resources".
Its local authority sector organiser Michael Wall expressed concerned about the decision to set up Irish Water.
"The decision to move away from the municipal control of water is a scandal and the beginning of a move to see water as a commodity rather than a common good," he said.
Consumers are due to be hit with water charges from next year. However, the Government has insisted that it is not privatising the water supply because Irish Water will be a semi-state company operated by Bord Gais. And it has said that any profits made by Irish Water will be re-invested in water service infrastructure.
Junior Minister Fergus O'Dowd, who is responsible for the Irish Water project, recently told the Seanad that none of the 3,000-plus local authority water services staff would lose their jobs. He said the staff would be able to transfer to Irish Water if they had the necessary skills, while the remainder would stay working in their local authority in another role.
"There will be no involuntary redundancies. Nobody will lose his or her job," he said.