SOUTH Tipperary County Council will have to hand over all control of water supply to a centralised company in Dublin by 2015, potentially leading to job losses, a reduced standard of service for householders, and a major demotion in Council powers, heard this month’s meeting in Clonmel.
In one of the most important decisions of the Council’s lifetime, Councillors will have until next Friday (February 24th), to decide on whether to accept a new plan to centralise all control over water supply to a new state company called Irish Water. As part of the EU/IMF/ECB Troika bailout programme, the government is hoping to make savings by switching control of all water supply and metering to Irish Water, explained two experts, Mr Jimmy Harney and Mr John Fogarty.
It’s hoped Irish Water could become self funding, allowing it to borrow money for investment in upgrading aging infrastructure across the country. ‘Reform of the Water Sector in Ireland’ will have far-reaching implications for the way complaints of broken pipes and leakages are dealt with, said Mr Harney. The plans could lead to reduced staff levels, centralised control, and a loss of power for the local authority, and its members.
“This is one of the most significant issues that will come before the lifetime of the Council,” said Mr Harney. “It has huge significance for Council staff, and the customers we serve.” Council staff will have concerns for their jobs during the transition period. “This is going to be a huge change in the way the local authority works right across the County,” said Cathaoirleach Michael Fitzgerald. “There is a fear of the unknown. I see this as one of the most seismic changes regarding the whole water service.”
See page 2 of this week’s Tipperary Star for more on this story