Primary responsibility for setting up Irish Water as a public commercial company and related issues rests with my colleague the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government. The delivery of water services under a public utility model is expected to bring benefits in terms of access to new sources of revenue to fund greater investment in water services infrastructure and provide more efficient and better quality of service for customers. To date the majority of the costs of water service provision have been met by the Exchequer and Local Authorities from their own resources and general purpose grants from the Local Government Fund, with some income from the commercial sector. According to the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, the Irish Water funding model is expected to yield savings to the State sector of the order of €250m from 2014 to the end of 2016 by comparison with the previous funding model, but with a substantially higher level of capital investment including core water services infrastructure, domestic metering and asset management systems.
Under the Water Services Acts setting up the company, I as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform have a number of consent functions, including Consent to the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association of Irish Water, borrowing by Irish Water, the form of accounts, auditors fees, pension schemes etc. My Department and I have been consulted, as appropriate, in this regard. Of course, as part of the normal process of consideration by Government of Memorandums on sectoral policy issues I would also have been consulted on memorandums relating to Irish Water.