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Questions asked over timing of Irish Water chief John Tierney's apology letter


Barry Cowan FF

Barry Cowan FF

Barry Cowan FF

FIANNA Fail environment spokesperson Barry Cowen has said it was "strange" that party leader Micheal Martin received a letter of apology from Irish Water chief John Tierney a week after Taoiseach Enda Kenny did.

The letter to Mr Kenny was dated November 4 and advised of a clinic for members of the Oireachtas due to begin the following day.

Despite the date on the letter, Mr Martin only received the apology from Mr Tierney on November 11 - six days after the meeting was due to be held.

"It's strange to think that we were furnished with it a week later," said Mr Cowen.

He said he was unaware of the consultations for Oireachtas members that had been set up by Irish Water. He added that he has asked "question after question" of Irish Water through the Dail but the company had been "very slow to respond".

The Herald revealed yesterday how Mr Tierney had written to the Taoiseach to personally apologise for the failures at the utility.

The letter was among those sent to Oireachtas members as part of a fortnightly newsletter.

When asked about the apology yesterday, Mr Kenny sidestepped the question and instead said that the utility should help to spread the "very good story" they had to tell people.

He told the Herald that he expects Irish Water to do a better job at selling its message to the public.

"I expect Irish Water, Uisce Eireann as I call it, to be out there and explaining the very good story they have to tell to people," he said. "How they are tackling issues of greater efficiency and greater competence, how they are dealing with the waste water sewage treatment plants.

"The plans they have in mind to provide proper water facilities for the very major areas of the country that are on a knife edge at the moment," he said.


Mr Tierney's letter, beginning "Dear An Taoiseach", was sent three days after more than 100,000 people took to the streets to voice their anger at the water charge and how Irish Water had been established.

"At the outset I would like to apologise to you for the shortcomings in relation to the level of service Irish Water has provided to you," Mr Tierney wrote.

"I acknowledge that this has fallen well below the standards of service that you expect, or that we have set ourselves.

"This is the first stage in addressing this and I am committed to continually improving our communications with you."

He added that he recognised there had been "significant difficulties in how we communicate with our customers - your constituents.

"I would like to apologise again for the inconvenience and assure you that we are committed to improving the level of service for all our customers and we will be closely monitoring our performance in this regard," the letter added.