Taoiseach: I have every confidence in Irish Water chief

Taoiseach: I have every confidence in Irish Water chief
John Tierney

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said today that he has "every confidence" in the chief executive of Irish Water.

His comments follow today's Cabinet meeting which it is thought to have been dominated by discussion about Irish Water.

The coalition is to undertake a review of communications at the new utility.

Responding to a question by Fianna Fáil leader Michael Martin, Mr Kenny told the Dáil that no-one had approached the Chairman of the Board about the possible removal of John Tierney as chief executive.

“I have every confidence that John Tierney can do his job, every confidence that he can do his job,” he said.

“The remark that was made by a Deputy at last week's Fine Gael parliamentary meeting was withdrawn.

“But clearly, the Government recognise, Deputy Martin, that there are legitimate areas of public concern that Government reflected upon this morning, and that Government will act upon.”

A Fine Gael back-bencher today called on the board of Irish Water to resign, however.

Alan Farrell said that the Government's policy for water charges has been adequate - but it has been damaged by the utility's directors.

He said the company has failed to deliver a clear message surrounding charges, the installation of meters, or bonuses for its staff.

He also said that if the board is being reformed in a few weeks' time, it should quit now to let a new board take over.

“They should stand down, rather than wait the month-and-a-half until the board of Ervia, which is Bord Gais Eireann, and the Irish Water Board to be amalgamated.” he said.

“I also believe that john Tierney should get out onto the airwaves far more than he’s actually done so, to deliver on the message of what it is Irish Water are doing and how they’re doing it and how quickly they are proposing to plug the leaks in the system.”

The Taoiseach was also criticised by Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD, who said that Irish Water cannot be left with responsibility for the delivery of water services.

“From the outset, Irish Water has been mired in scandal,” said. “The manner in which this company was established, how it has been managed, and the unfair imposition of water charges has been chaotic and farcical.

“Now it has emerged that Irish Water will hit struggling families with a hugely expensive call-out charge of €180 to repair leaking pipes. Meanwhile, senior management at Irish Water are paid hugely exorbitant salaries.

“And over the weekend we learned that these same executives are in line for bonus payments despite the very obvious management failings.

“Taoiseach, this is despite your guarantees that there wouldn't be a bonus culture in Irish Water. You told me here on October 7 that no bonuses would be paid.”

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