The confirmation this week that Irish Water will be set up to deal with water services across the country generated a lot of dissatisfaction among members of Mayo County Council at their meeting on Monday last.
Head of finance for the council, Peter Duggan, providing a presentation on a number of changes in local government, including the setting up of Irish Water, stated there were currently 212 staff working in the water services division of the council, and it accounted for one fifth of the council’s budget for the year. It was expected that Mayo County Council’s role in the area will cease in around five years’ time.
Independent councillor Gerry Ginty stated: “I have a serious fear for the 200 plus jobs in this area. What need is there to transfer the water services to this Irish Water?”
Fianna Fáil Cllr Damien Ryan said the decision was a retrograde step and should be rescinded, “as the council will just become a glorified collection agency who will have no day to day control”.
Cllr Rose Conway Walsh stated: “Irish Water will not work, this is the further centralisation of the powers in the country and it is not good for the Republic.” Her party colleague Cllr Gerry Murray wondered what would happen to all the group water schemes that have been working over the past few years once Irish Water comes in.
County manager Peter Hynes told the members: “It is likely that the local authority will remain as an agent for Irish Water for a number of years and there is quite a lot still to play for under Irish Water.”