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Dublin: 13°C Saturday 19 September 2020
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Irish Water to cut 1,200 jobs

The company is looking to save €1.1 billion.

Image: Shutterstock/Concept Photo

IRISH WATER IS due to reduce its number of employees by 1,200 over the next six years.

Three hundred jobs were cut since last year, making the number 1,500 in total.

A spokesperson for the utility said the measure is part of a larger business plan agreed when Irish Water was set up.

The company is hoping to save €1.1 billion in “operational savings” by 2021.

Business plan

Ervia, its parent company, published its business plan for the utility today, saying that it will “deliver a quality service to customers while addressing the constrained funding model and fragmented service delivery that has had such a damaging effect on Ireland’s water infrastructure over many decades”.

At a meeting today, Ervia’s chief executive Michael McNicholas said that by 2021 the plan commits to:

  • Eliminating the risk of drinking water contamination for 940,000 people
  • Lifting all current boil water notices
  • Reducing leakage from 49% to 38% – saving 180 million litres every day
  • Implementing a national lead strategy to reduce risk of contamination in up to 140,000 homes and an additional 40,000 homes on shared services
  • Ending the discharge of untreated wastewater at 44 locations
  • Significantly increasing water and wastewater capacity to support social and economic development.

As well as the job cuts, the €1.1 billion will be saved through reducing the cost of repairs and maintenance, energy, contracting and overheads.

The spokesperson said most of the 1,500 jobs will become vacant through retirement and vacant roles not being filled.

However, they added that a voluntary redundancy scheme is a possibility.

The spokesperson noted that the utility’s seven year plan, due to be unveiled today, for “transformation of the water sector” will include a €5.5 billion investment.

Fianna Fáil’s environment spokesperson Barry Cowen TD criticised the plan and the loss of jobs, saying “we need proper investment in our water network”.

- Additional reporting Aoife Barry

Read: Irish Water’s getting 300% more calls today than usual

Read: Irish Water says it has saved enough water for everyone in Kerry

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Órla Ryan

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