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not in the public interest

'It's wrong that Irish Water won't reveal how much it's paying for security' - Fianna Fáil

The company said revealing this information could result in higher costs which would have to be passed on to consumers.

Updated: 17.50

IRISH WATER HAS refused to reveal how much it is spending on security. sent in a Freedom of Information (FOI) request about the cost of security at the firm’s headquarters at Colvill House on Talbot Street in Dublin city centre.

However, the company’s interim FOI officer rejected the request. Noel Shannon said revealing how much Irish Water pays for security at its offices could result in them being charged a higher fee and having to pass the extra cost on to the consumer.

The semi-state utility shares Colvill House with a number of other companies. The premises is manned by security personnel on a 24/7 basis.

In a letter, Shannon stated:

“The process Irish Water uses in acquiring goods and services at competitive prices meet all best practice standards as regards to public sector tendering.

“It is in the public interest that Irish Water should be afforded a reasonable degree of confidentiality to enable it to acquire goods and services at the most competitive prices.

Anything that interfered with this process would inevitably result in higher prices having to be paid for goods and services. Those additional costs would have to be passed on to consumers. This would not be in the public interest.

Fianna Fáil’s Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen does not agree with the company’s stance:

I think it is fundamentally wrong that details of these sorts of costs would not be made available to the people who are paying them, namely the Irish public.

We have been making the point since Irish Water was first mooted that this super-quango should not be shrouded in secrecy.

Section 36 of the 2014 FOI Act states that sharing records which contain financial, commercial, scientific or technical information “could reasonably be expected to result in a material financial loss or gain to the person to whom the information related, or could prejudice the competitive position of that person”.

Irish Water said that it was not involved in any security provided to protect water meter installers while working, noting that any such measures “are matters for each individual metering contractor”.

Originally published: 7am

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