Friday 15 December 2017

IBEC's Danny McCoy: Scrapping Irish Water 'knee jerk and illogical'

Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy. Photo: Mark Condren
Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy. Photo: Mark Condren

Sarah Collins in Brussels

Abolishing Irish Water would be "knee-jerk" and illogical, the head of Ireland's major business lobby has said.

Ibec CEO Danny McCoy told the Irish Independent that the issue could be looked on negatively by investors and the international community.

"I think the Irish Water thing is something that has an international dimension to it," he said. "It would be perceived as a real illogicality to react to an election result and to abolish a super utility like that, when there's clear investment need and a clear need to spread the usage," he added.

"Leadership is about actually standing up to your followers and saying, 'This is the way we have to go'."

Irish Water has become a central issue in coalition talks after Fianna Fáil insiders suggested it needed to be scrapped. The EU pointed out weaknesses in Ireland's water infrastructure in its latest staff report last Friday on Ireland's economy.

"Water infrastructure is weak, though planning for investment progresses," the report said. "The recent establishment of Irish Water as a nationwide utility offers opportunities to improve investment planning and execution in the sector."

Danny McCoy also said attacking the extent of the recovery could harm the country's international standing.

"I believe that the recovery is strong," he said. "There is a disconnect between reality and perception in Ireland," he went on.

He pointed to the fact that investors haven't hammered Irish government bonds like they did to Portugal and Spain in the wake of inconclusive elections there.

He also reiterated Ibec's support for the UK to remain in the EU in a referendum to be held on 23 June, particularly because of the scale of trade and investment links between the two countries.

Irish Independent

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