A couple of questions emanate from the Minister's answer. The timeframe seems to have been amended because earlier this year - to great fanfare when the process was announced - the date for the installation of all the water meters was 2014. There was also an indication that 2,000 jobs would be created. Is the timeframe now in tatters? Today, Bord na Móna announced much restructuring and some job losses. I would like to know, in writing in the coming weeks if it is impossible today, why that organisation was overlooked in favour of Bord Gáis for the water metering process. The Minister has moved back from his initial commitment to have this done more quickly. Will he confirm that Bord Gáis is continuing to recruit personnel and how many have been recruited so far? For what purposes is this recruitment taking place? Will the 2,000 jobs be filled when there is nothing to do for half of the personnel?
Over the past number of years, some county councils have from their own resources begun a process of installing water meters not only in private estates, but in public authority estates.
It is ironic to think those who showed this forward thinking are to be penalised by virtue of the local government charge in the same fashion as anybody else who did not have the foresight to do this in recent years, irrespective of what agreement or options may have been laid down with the troika with regard to funding being made available to the State.