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Civil Service

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 3 February 2022

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Questions (258)

Holly Cairns

Question:

258. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will ensure that no person in the employment of a local authority will be transferred to a utility provider (details supplied) without their consent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5804/22]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Policy Paper on Water Sector Transformation (February, 2021) sets out clearly the approach planned by Government to proceed with the integration of public water services within the organisational structure of the utilily referred to in the question - Irish Water - and thereby deliver a publicly owned, stand-alone, regulated, national water utility tasked with modernising and transforming the delivery of water services in Ireland.

There are significant issues for the workforce to be addressed in integrating the day-to-day operation and delivery of water services within Irish Water. To resolve these, I asked the Workplace Relations Commission to engage with all parties aimed at reaching a collective agreement on a Framework for the future delivery of water services. In order to address the interests and concerns of each party to the transformation process, any such Framework must seek to accommodate:

a. The need to ensure Irish Water is given direct control of water services to provide for the safe and effective delivery of water services for citizens and to provide water services that meet the needs of a modern society and economy;

b. The union position that there is no forced transfer of the workforce; and

c. The need for local authorities to cease their involvement in public water services while also ensuring that they retain their capacity to continue to deliver on the full range of their vital statutory local government services and fulfil their social and economic development roles.

In the context of such a wider overarching agreement on water sector transformation, it is recognised that local authority staff who transfer to Irish Water would do so on a voluntary basis. Engagement at the WRC is ongoing at present. The Government believes it will be possible to reach a collective agreement which addresses the interests and concerns of all parties.

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