Former chairman of the Labour Court Kevin Duffy has been appointed as the new chairman of the expert water charges commission.
Minister Simon Coveney made the appointment yesterday afternoon, after the resignation this week of Joe O’Toole, who stepped down from the post after calls for him to go.
The Department of the Environment confirmed Mr Duffy is to replace Mr O’Toole.
The former construction union leader will head up the eight-member commission, which has five months to report on the future of water charges and the funding of Irish Water.
Mr O’Toole resigned this week following controversial comments he made to the Irish Examiner about water charges and left-wing politicians.
Mr Coveney will travel to Brussels today to outline how Ireland intends to comply with EU laws on the environment while still suspending water charges for nine months.
There is disagreement over whether Ireland could face fines for freezing charges.
The commission is expected to hold public hearings and take submissions from the public as well as political groups.
Announcing Mr Duffy’s appointment, Mr Coveney said: “I am delighted that Kevin Duffy has agreed to take on the critically important role of chair of the expert commission. He has a distinguished track record of public service and will bring to the commission’s work a wealth of experience in addressing complex, intractable issues.”
Mr O’Toole resigned after he criticised left-wing politicians, said he supported the ‘polluter pays’ principle, and also suggested there was “bundles of money” to invest in Irish Water.
Mr Coveney has confirmed that Fianna Fáil had threatened to pull support for the Government unless the former trade union boss quit.
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