In what may well be one of the final nails in Irish Water’s coffin, the EU statistics agency Eurostat has issued a ruling that the wretched utility must remain on the exchequer’s books for the foreseeable future.
Such ruling delivers a devastating blow to the Government’s strategy for the utility, and it’s likely to spark further debate about the company’s viability.
Irish Water has resoundly failed the Market Corporation Test on several accounts. Eurostat highlighted for instance the level of control that the Government has over the company, in terms of board appointments and operations. They also pointed out the unusually large number of Irish Water staff who remain as local government employees.
But one of the key failings is the need for continuous government funding and support for Irish Water, which seems to indicate a marked inability to function independently.
Eurostat also mentioned that the funding problem is compounded by the large amount of people not paying their bills.
Today’s decision will greatly impact the Government’s projected budget figures, and likely speed up the demise of Irish Water.