WATER bills look set to be delayed for a month in a move that will give householders breathing space during the post-Christmas period.
The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) said that troubled quango Irish Water is seeking a month extension to the deadline for registration by households.
This will have a knock-on effect on the date set for the first bills to be sent out.
The development means that householders now look set to pay their first water charges at the end of January and not January 1, as previously planned.
The news comes as it is revealed Irish Water boss John Tierney signed off on a €20,000 'top-up' for a senior official at the troubled Temple Bar Cultural Trust (TBCT) - without the knowledge of the organisation's board.
The payment represented one of the final decisions made by Mr Tierney before he left his role as Dublin City Manager to take up the €200,000 position at Irish Water.
Mr Tierney is currently at the centre of fresh controversy over bonuses at the semi-state quango, which officials admit may be handed out to staff next year.
But he is set to face a raft of questions over decisions he made during his tenure at the helm of the country's largest local authority.
The Herald has confirmed that members of two of the Dail's most powerful committees want to quiz Mr Tierney over decisions he made in relation to the highly-controversial Poolbeg incinerator.
The project, which is now under construction after the green light was given by the European Authorities, has cost the taxpayer €108m to date.
Both the Environment Committee and the high-powered Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said Mr Tierney should appear to answer questions.
"I intend to raise his role in Poolbeg and the huge spend to date at our meeting on Thursday (tomorrow)," PAC chairman and Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness told the Herald last night.
The Herald can reveal that Mr Tierney agreed to a salary top-up for the former chief executive of Temple Bar Cultural Trust (TBCT), Ray Yeats.
Mr Tierney served as the sole shareholder of the trust for seven years. Mr Tierney did not have any direct input into the day-to-day running of the Trust, which is tasked with promoting culture in Temple Bar.
Mr Yeats was paid the €20,000 sum on top of his €67,000 salary as Dublin City Council Arts Officer. The payment related to the additional work carried out by Mr Yeats, however, it was signed off by Mr Tierney without approval.
Mr Yeats has now departed from TBCT after playing a role in ensuring its wind-down.
Mr Tierney has consistently declined to respond to queries about Poolbeg and TBCT.