Irish Water timeline

A chronological look at the utility from setup to Eurostat ruling

 John Tierney managing director of Irish Water. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

John Tierney managing director of Irish Water. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 
April 2009 Fine Gael suggests a new utility called Irish Water as part of its NewERA strategy.
 
November 2010 Fianna Fáil-led government agrees with the troika that water charges should be introduced. Coalition later claims Fianna Fáil was willing to charge up to €400 per household.
 
February 2011 Fine Gael includes water charges in manifesto. Labour opposes and it is one of the items included in its Tesco-style advert warning about Fine Gael charges. Labour claims it will cost €238 per annum. The figure is prescient.
 
March 2011 In a major concession, Labour succumbs to notion of water charges. The quid pro quo is a strategic bank, which never fully materialises. Minister for the environment Phil Hogan begins process of establishing Irish Water.

April 2011 Bord Gáis Éireann announced as the company that will control Irish Water.

Autumn 2011 Government agrees €180m will be allotted to set up Irish Water.

May 2013 Call centre provider Abran chosen with promise of creating 400 jobs.

Autumn 2013 Water metering begins. One of the companies, Sierra, is associated with businessman Denis O’Brien.

January 2014 John Tierney has a car-crash interview with RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke. He discloses that €50m has been spent on consultants.

January 2014 Further disclosures relating to performance-related pay, high salaries of €100,000-plus, and staff costs bring further credibility issues to the fore.

April 2014 In advance of the local election, Government reveals that average household charge will be €248. It causes a row with Labour.

May 2014 The actual agreed payment is €240 a year, which causes political problems for both Coalition parties, especially Labour. The standing charge is dropped and a free allowance of 30,000 litres is announced. Opposition claims it will allow only a shower and a few toilet flushes a day.

May 2014 Both Government parties suffer substantial seat losses in the local elections.

June 2014 It is announced that bills will be deferred until 2015.

July 2014 In a Cabinet reshuffle, Phil Hogan leaves for Brussels and Labour’s Alan Kelly is named the new Minister for the Environment.

October 2014 Anti-water charges campaigner Paul Murphy wins a stunning victory in the Dublin South West byelection. In response, Sinn Féin hardens its stance against water charges. Later that month, as many as 100,000 take part in nationwide protests.

November 2014 A reverse for anti- water charge campaigners. Murphy is condemned for his part in a protest that imprisoned Tánaiste Joan Burton in her car for several hours. Video footage shows aggressive behaviour by campaigners, including Derek Byrne, who called President Higgins a ‘midget parasite’.

November 2014 Kelly announces a revised charging scheme of €260 and €160, with a €100 water conservation grant to bring net cost per family down.

February 2015 Deadline for registering with Irish Water. The utility later claims that nearly 1 million customers sign up.

July 2015 Irish Water disclose that only 43 per cent of customers have paid first quarterly bill.

July 2015 In a further blow for Government, Eurostat rules that the utility has not passed the market test and its debt must be included on the Government balance sheet.