Tierney: Govt always knew Irish Water would need outside expertise

John Tierney.

Irish Water is adamant the Government knew from the start that consultants would be required to establish the utility.

It has also been revealed at the Environment Committee this afternoon that the total to be spent on consultants by the spring of next year will total €86m.

Executives say that expenditure controls and governance are in place to ensure value for money for the taxpayer.

Chief Executive John Tierney says Irish Water is doing exactly what it told the Government it would do.

The CEO defended the company's spending on outside consultants.

Mr Tierney says outside help was needed to make sure Irish Water was capable of delivering a national water system.

He said the company's staff "deserved great credit" for the work they had done to meet a demanding schedule set by the Government.

He also said the Government was aware of how much outside assistance Irish Water would need.

He said: "Are the proper controls in place to approve and control spending? Yes, the governance both internally and externally is rigorous.

"Are consultants and external service providers required? From the very outset Bord Gáis advised Government that this type of support was critical to deliver this programme and achieve the targets set in the demanding timeframe."

The head of Irish Water is insisting that the company's spending on consultants is good value for money.

He has told the Oireachtas environment committee that his company will cost around €150m to set up, with €86m to be spent in consultants' fees.

He says those costs are necessary if Irish Water is to do its job properly.

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