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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 3°C

Revealed: Here's how much it will cost Joan to administer that Irish Water grant

The cost of organising and overseeing the payments was the subject of much debate back in January. Here’s the figure…

SOCIAL PROTECTION MINISTER Joan Burton has revealed how much it will cost her department to administer the Water Conservation Grant for Irish Water customers.

The cost of organising and overseeing the payments was the subject of much debate back in January – after it emerged that the Secretary General of Burton’s Department had requested extra resources to manage the €100 household grant.

In a letter to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, written last November, the official said more staff would also be needed.

However, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin later said Burton’s department would have to cover the cost from “within the confines of the administrative budget they already have”.

Answering parliamentary questions, Burton has now confirmed that it will cost some €6 million to administer the payment – on top of the €130 million being set aside by the Department of the Environment for the grants themselves.

“Accordingly, the start-up costs to develop and set up the ICT solutions, and put in place comprehensive customer support services, will be incurred in 2015,” Burton said.


“On the basis of the scoping work done to date, it is now estimated that these once-off costs, together with the operational costs for 2015, will amount in total to approx. €6 million.

As expenditure in forthcoming years will be limited to operational costs, it should be considerably less, resulting in overall administrative costs being within 2-3% of scheme costs over its lifetime.

Fifteen staff are being assigned to administer the scheme, and the government will be writing to every household that’s registered for Irish Water to let people know how to apply for the grant.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly has confirmed the first of these notices will be sent in August, with the rest to follow in September.

The grant

It was announced last November that every household in the country would be entitled to a €100 rebate from the Department of Social Protection if they signed up with the utility.

Irish budget PA WIRE PA WIRE

Decried by some opposition politicians as a ‘bribe’, the measure was one of several unveiled as part of the Government’s revised charging scheme, in the wake of a series of large-scale public protests against the proposed structure of water charges.

Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen, responding to Burton’s confirmation that administration of the grant would cost €6 million, said it once again showed the set-up of Irish Water had been a “mess”.

“With €539m being wasted on water meters that will rot in the ground until 2019 and €172m spent on setting up Irish Water, the annual €136m spend on a water conservation grant is another example of the financial black hole that the government has created,” the party’s environment spokesman said.

Read: Joan needs new computers for the water grant… €630k more >

Read: Water charges: Government faces extra costs to pay for €100 household grant >

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