By David Raleigh
Former Defence Minister Willie O'Dea has said he is prepared to go to court to prohibit his PPS number from being handed over to Irish Water.
As part of its controversial customer policy Irish Water is seeking the PPS numbers of every client.
However, Willie O'Dea said no one at Irish Water could give him a "coherent reason" as to why he should hand over his PPS number.
He confirmed he will pay the water charge, but said he will personally deduct the allowance for himself and his wife, adding that Irish Water can bring him to court after that.
Deputy O'Dea told Limerick's Live 95fm: "It's an unjust law. I obey every law (and) I understand the reasons for it. I pay my water charge, the nett charge, but, until such time as (Irish Water) give me a coherent reason why I should hand over my PPS number, I'm not giving them the PPS number, and I am entitled to deduct the allowance - no doubt they'll come after me for that, and let them.
"And let the legalities or illegalities of my action be thrashed out there if it should come for a confrontation in court."
Fine Gael TD Patrick O'Donovan blasted Mr O'Dea's actions as "irresponsible".
Mr O'Donovan said: "I think that's politicking and it's playing to the (public) gallery. For him, I think it is totally irresponsible, because he was a minister in a government which passed legislation where PPS numbers were being required for similar type things, even children's admissions into school, in some cases required PPS numbers.
"He was a minister in a government, where, when you give allowances to the ESB or you give allowances to Eircom, that you (would) give your PPS number.
"I think that's irresponsible of him, but I wouldn't expect any less from him. I think (Fianna Fáil) are using (this) as an opportunity to deflect attention away from the fact that they signed us up to water charges," Deputy O'Donovan added.