The Taoiseach often states that he wants Ireland to be the best small country in the world in which to do business and we all agree with him in that regard. The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Richard Bruton, will be aware of the importance of job creation and the key role the small and medium enterprise sector plays in creating jobs in every county. Against that background, I was shocked to learn of the experience of an indigenous company that is seeking to create 55 permanent jobs in Carlow as well as 70 construction jobs in the development phase of a new distillery. I refer to Walsh Whiskey Distillery of Royal Oak, Bagenalstown, County Carlow, which is building the first distillery in the south east for 200 years.
The chief executive of Walsh Whiskey has been working with Carlow County Council since 2012 to facilitate the development of the distillery. In 2013, the company received a licence from the council to build the facility. While the company was aware that it would be required, as a business, to pay for water treatment, it was gobsmacked when Irish Water presented it with a bill for €500,000 in addition to the cost of installing a water treatment system. This unexpected charge is a direct result of the Government's decision to establish Irish Water. Heretofore, councils always had discretion to assist companies which were prepared to make substantial investments in local communities that badly need jobs. For example, local councillors, industrialists, engineers and departmental staff would have cut a deal to resolve outstanding difficulties and allow a development to proceed.
The development levies could be charged to future beneficiaries of the infrastructural improvements that would accrue to the area. Ultimately, as I stated, it would be addressing the deficiency that is obvious, not only in that constituency but throughout this country. There is a two-tier recovery, that the Minister and the Government is pursuing at pace. The Minister can be sure under the previous regime and the previous mechanism that were in place a €500,000 bill would not be presented as a fait accompli to the company which would make it change its mind and change location.
Is Deputy Bruton, as Minister for enterprise, aware of the difficulties that Walsh distillery has in this regard? Is it fair and acceptable that this company, when wishing to invest substantially in an area that needs it so badly, is challenged with a €500,000 bill such as this? Is the Minister aware of it, what has he done about it or will he do anything about it?