Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has backed Irish Water, commenting that “in time” people will see the benefits of the new authority.
Mr Varadkar also said he believes “what Irish water can do, is so much better than 30 or 40 local authorities”.
Asked about reports that the incoming authority spent some €50 million on consultancy services, Mr Varadkar said there was “always going to be substantial costs in setting up Irish Water”.
While he said he would like to see a breakdown of these costs, he said “ if you were setting up the ESB or An Post or even RTÉ from scratch there would be very significant costs [BUT]in the long term there will be savings”.
Mr Varadkar also said he didn’t “believe for a second” that the money was all spent on consultants’ reports.
“I think when we get the details we will find out that a whole lot of the money was spent on setting up new systems like an IT system and a billing system for example, which will always be expensive and which will have gone out to tender.
Asked if thought the trust of consumers had already been lost, he said Irish water had not been “fully established yet”. He said the authority was “barely up and running so it is going to take a little bit of time”.
“But fundamentally what this is is about is recognising that water is a very expensive and very precious resource . What Irish Water can do is so much better than what has been done in the past where it has been run by 30 or 40 local authorities and a huge amount of treated water leaks out of the pipes. I think in time we will see the benefits, maybe not immediately”.
Mr Varadkar was speaking at the launch of the new Coast Guard Sikorsky S92 helicopter for the East Coast region at Weston Airport this morning.