O’Dowd says Irish Water is a failure

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Former Government minister and Louth TD Fergus O’Dowd, who set up Irish Water, has described the company’s introduction of water charges as “an unmitigated disaster”.

Former Government minister and Louth TD Fergus O’Dowd, who set up Irish Water, has described the company’s introduction of water charges as “an unmitigated disaster”.

In an interview with Irish Independent Public Affairs Editor, Shane Phelan, he said he worried that it was becoming “another cosseted quango with a bonus culture”.

Deputy O’Dowd, who lost his junior ministry at the Department for the Environment during the summer, has also pointed out that he raised his concerns with the then minister, Phil Hogan, about people who cannot afford to pay the charges.

He has also criticised the high number of staff - four-and-a-half thousand - employed by the company.

Most of the staff were co-opted from local authorities to the semi-state body.

Deputy O’Dowd has suggested that a voluntary redundancy package should be introduced and staffing levels reduced. This he said would bring about cheaper water rates.

He pointed out that water charges in the UK are two-and-a-half times cheaper than here.