‘Possibility of restoring water charges should be explored – Green Minister

Charges were dropped following national campaign against the levies.

 People already being hit with massive Local Property Tax and wave of carbon levies on heating oil, gas, turf, petrol, diesel, oil and much else.

People Power – Remember it?


Sligo News File.

Water charges which met with almost countrywide resistance when hundreds of thousands took to the streets to oppose them may be on the way back.

Although the threat stands inactive, it now seems a Green member of the government is reportedly proposing a revival of the abhorred payment regime.

From a report in the Sunday Independent, it appears the national water utility, Irish Water is encountering some problems in carrying out its work programme, a situation which has apparently led to a junior Green minister in the government housing department commenting that the ‘possibility of water charges should be explored’ within the term of the current administration.

It looks that the Green minister believes the issue could be put to the people during a referendum which is to be run to lock the national water utility into public ownership. Irish Water was established in 2013.

As of now, water connections to domestic dwellings or new builds can cost thousands of euro, with the price depending on the distance the connection is from the mains. Under the old private group water scheme, connections were made from, in cases, as low as only €700, many times less than today’s level – and without a stack of bureaucratic requirements to contend with.  

Irish Water is a subsidiary of Ervia, a multi-utility semi-state company involved in the distribution of water services, pipeline natural gas and dark fibre services in Ireland. Ervia and Irish Water have separate boards of directors. The current executive members of Irish Water are:

Cathal Marley (Chairman and Ervia Group CEO)
Eamon Gallen (General Manager Irish Water)
Niall Gleeson (Managing Director Irish Water
Yvonne Harris (Irish Water)
Brendan Murphy (Ervia)
Maria O’Dwyer(Irish Water)

Ervia consists of ten non-executive directors who are appointed by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, currently Daragh O’Brien, Fianna Fail. 

The members of the Ervia board, are:

Tony Keoghane (Chairman)
Cathal Marley
Chris Banks
Fred Barry
Celine Fitzgerald
Keith Harris
Sean Hogan
Mari Hurley
Finbar Kennelly and
Joe O’Flynn.

As well, Ervia has four board committees:

Keith Harris (Chairperson) Fred Barry (Chairperson) Tony Keohane (Chairperson) Celine Fitzgerald (Chairperson)
Mari Hurley Cathal Marley Mari Hurley Joe O’Flynn
Finbarr Kennelly Chris Banks Finbarr Kennelly Fred Barry
Sean Hogan Joe O’Flynn Keith Harris Keith Harris
      Chris Banks

According to the Ervia 2018 report, there were 822 employees aboard Irish Water. The 2019 report states that 574 employees in Central Services also supply services to Irish Water.

Ervia has a team of 11 executives:

Cathal Marley, Group Chief Executive,
Niall Gleeson, Managing Director,
Orlath Blaney, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer,
Liam O’Riordan, Company Secretary,
Michael G. O’Sullivan, Director of Business Services,
Brendan Murphy, Group Commercial Regulatory Director,
Claire Madden, Chief Legal Officer,
DawnO’Driscoll, Group HR Director,
Denis O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Gas Networks,
Ronan Galwey, Acting Group Finance Director and
Liam O’Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer

The managing director of Irish Water is believed to be on a salary of €200,000. Pay of senior staff reportedly is from €200,000 to €99,000, depending on work responsibilities. For some other employees, the rate varies from €50,000 to €100,000 while on the lower end of the Irish Water scale the rate is up to €39,000. All but a few are also on performance-related bonuses.