Anger as councils fail to use €34m water fund
ENVIRONMENT Minister Phil Hogan has expressed annoyance at a refusal by councils to spend €34m on water services pending the setting up of the new Irish Water agency.
The disclosure was made by Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin at a meeting of the Oireachtas sub-committee on public expenditure and reform.
It is understood that the €34m was the single biggest underspend on the department's capital budget.
The money was made available to the councils, but was never actually drawn down.
Local authorities would have to add to the allocations with some of their own resources, drawn from commercial rates.
Many councils are understood to be waiting to see if they have to allocate some of their own resources to the new water services operation. The intention is that Irish Water will eventually be fully funded from domestic water charges.
The state entity will be taking control of providing water to homes and businesses and maintaining infrastructure.