Monday 22 January 2018

Liam Fay: Riding the wave of public anger over Irish Water all the way to Strasbourg

Crystal clear: Junior minister Brian Hayes has refused to deny reports that he plans to run for a seat in the European Parliament. Tom Burke
Crystal clear: Junior minister Brian Hayes has refused to deny reports that he plans to run for a seat in the European Parliament. Tom Burke

Liam Fay

Brian Hayes is not yet capable of walking on water but he seems admirably determined to take a stand on it.

The junior finance minister has been conspicuously forthright in his criticism of management at Irish Water, the public utility that appears to be spending taxpayers' money as though it gushed from the ground in boundless abundance. While other members of Government contented themselves with impotent expressions of shock or displeasure, Hayes leapt in at the deep end, promising decisive action to prevent further splurging.

Long before it pipes a single drop into a single home, Irish Water has established itself in the popular mind as a drain on the national finances, and indeed patience. Revelations about the company's apparently astronomical start-up costs -- currently estimated at €180m -- have astonished the public, especially given the vast proportion of this expenditure (currently estimated at €85m) that will go to consultants.

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