Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called for a fully impartial analysis to be carried out in order to determine how the estimated €539 million cost of installing water meters was arrived at. Deputy McGrath made his comments as controversy relating to the short life span of the meters continues to gather momentum:
“It seems that every other week now we are being confronted with more toxic details about how this whole affair has been mismanaged from the start.
In November we found out that the Department of the Environment estimated the entire cost of the metering programme would come to €431.56m; yet the final cost was €539 million, a full €107m higher than the detailed estimate provided by Bord Gáis to the Department.
The Minister and indeed the Tánaiste dismiss these revelations as somehow unimportant in achieving the overall objective of getting this monster of a quango up and running.
The Tánaiste adopted a similar attitude yesterday when the life span of the meters was called into question and continued in that blasé approach when I mentioned that the battery which operates the electronic signal for reading the meters has a mere 7 year life span.
These are not trivial details because in the first instance they speak very clearly to the existence of an attitude toward Irish Water which essentially sees it as a cash cow to be milked at the public’s expense.
It also demonstrates how there is a complete false economy at play here since the escalating cost of this whole debacle is at some point or other going to fall back squarely on the shoulders of the Irish people.
I have been personally told that the meters will not even survive Irish Waters optimistic projections of 15 years and the batteries that charge them less than half of that.
All of this points to the very unsettling reality that as time goes on we will be subjected to more and details of this kind; details I might add that are only revealed when Irish Water and this Government are pushed into the kind of transparency they have continuously said they will champion,” concluded Deputy McGrath.