Tuesday 6 December 2016

Balancing act will be required for forum to succeed

Published 21/09/2015 | 02:30

Minister of Environment, Alan Kelly, left and John Tierney, managing director of Irish Water
Minister of Environment, Alan Kelly, left and John Tierney, managing director of Irish Water

Key to the success of the water forum will be its ability to avoid becoming a talking shop, and to be taken seriously by Irish Water, the Government and the regulator.

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Chairman Dr Tom Collins will have a difficult job. The disparate group of 12 sectoral interests and members of the public include representatives from industry and rural Ireland, and both domestic and environmental. Each will have its own priorities, and finding common ground will take time and careful negotiation.

For example, domestic customers might want bills to fall. But the environmental sector will point out that treating water to prevent pollution costs money, and will have to be paid for. The industrial sector may argue that costs should be reduced, while the group water schemes could note that its members have paid for years and some aren't paying enough.

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