Irish Water should not pay bonuses, Brendan Howlin says

Minister says semi-State company needs to win confidence of people

Irish Water needs to win the confidence of people and should not pay bonuses, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has said.

Mr Howlin said the Government did not normally control the pay regimes of commercial semi-State bodies. He was speaking at the announcement of the Civil Service Renewal Plan in Government Buildings this morning.

“I think there is for a new company like Irish Water certainly a view that bonuses should not be paid.Ultimately that will be a matter for the board. But I think they need to win the confidence of people.”

He said pay structures had to be acceptable.


Mr Howlin described himself as a “passionate believer” in semi-State bodies.

He said the plan launched today did not recommend bonuses for civil servants because that would run counter to the “common objective”.

Mr Howlin said the concept of Irish Water had been inherited by the Government following agreement with the Troika.

He echoed Minister for Communications Alex White’s view that the timeline had been ambitious.

“We’d no option. We couldn’t go into the Troika and say we’re not doing that.”

Mistakes had been made and that had been acknowledged by other Ministers.

However he insisted the utility was necessary. “Unfortunately it got immersed into a timeframe to deal with Troika demands that have proven really demanding and stressful not least on the Irish public. The Government is not blind or deaf to those views.”

Mary Minihan

Mary Minihan

Mary Minihan is Features Editor of The Irish Times