Feargal Quinn prepares Bill to halt Irish Water PPS demands

Senator and former Superquinn boss says semi-State’s move is causing huge anger

Independent Senator Feargal Quinn will introduce legislation in the Seanad next month to stop Irish Water demanding householders’ personal public service (PPS) numbers.

The former supermarket tycoon said the company should not have the right to seek citizens’ numbers. It was unnecessary and was causing great anger, he said.

The Bill would remove the power of the new semi-State authority to request PPS numbers from citizens when they applied for their water allowance.

It would require, within 20 days of passage of the legislation, that Irish Water delete all PPS numbers it had already received from householders who had returned their forms to register for water allowances.


Mr Quinn said it seemed “the reason why Irish Water claim they need access to people’s PPS numbers is so that they can have a reliable means of verifying the existence of people – particularly children – for the purpose of allocating free water allowances in respect of children in a household”.

“They are able to get that information and should trust people to say how many residents are in their home,” he said.

A State utility can request a PPS number only if the company was listed in the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005.

Mr Quinn said the legislation establishing Irish Water did not add the company’s name to the list of bodies in the Act. In order to do so an amendment had to be added to the 2014 Social Welfare Pensions Bill.

Mr Quinn will introduce his Bill in the Seanad when it returns on November 4th.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times