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Irish Water needs to deal with customers 'in a fantastic way'

The Irish Water boss John Tierney has met with Environment Minister Alan Kelly this afternoon.

Updated 22.40pm

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IRISH WATER NEEDS needs to be “a customer facing company” that deals with “customers in a fantastic way”, the Environment Minister has said.

Alan Kelly was speaking to reporters after holding a three-hour meeting with Irish Water boss John Tierney at Leinster House this afternoon.

Kelly said that the meeting was “very positive” and that he has “great confidence” that Irish Water will be able to deal with customers more effectively following a string of controversies in recent months.

“Certainly the chief executives are well aware that from a government perspective that the rollout Irish Water is critical,” he said. “They’re fully aware now that every issue needs to be dealt with comprehensively and professionally.”

Earlier, Irish Water’s managing director John Tierney said that no one has asked him to resign in recent days and insisted that he will still be in his post this time next year.

Tierney met with Kelly amid suggestions that his position and that of the entire board at the semi-state are under threat. But he insisted that no one had told him to step down in recent days.

“Nobody has asked me to step down and as you’ll have seen I’ve got excellent support because again there’s a recognition that this is probably one of the most difficult jobs anybody was ever asked to undertake,” he told reporters outside Leinster House this afternoon.

‘Very heartening’

Prior to the meeting today, Kelly had told RTÉ last night that Tierney needed to be more prominent in the public arena telling Irish Water customers about the work the company is carrying out.

Speaking about the meeting today, Tierney said: “I suppose the very heartening thing was he [Kelly] recognised the huge scale of what we’ve been asked to do.

“He wants a renewed emphasis on all of the issues to do with the customer, obviously in relation to political representation from the TDs and councillors because they are representing many of the people.

“So we’ve had a very good discussion and he recognised as well that we’ve taken on a very difficult job and we’re going to continue to do that job and to deliver what was required of us in terms of a utility that will deliver a very good service for the people.”

The former Dublin city council manager said that he had been “up for the task” since he started the job at Irish Water and will remain so for the rest of his tenure.

Asked if he would still be in his position this time next year, he responded: “I will indeed.”

In the brief exchange with reporters as a small number of protestors barracked him on Kildare Street, Tierney was also also asked about bonuses at the company, but he did not address the question.

He said only: “My staff are doing a fantastic job for the people and it is actually a humbling experience to see the work they’re doing on behalf of the people.”

Alan Kelly: ‘John Tierney should be out facing the public and I’ll tell him that’

Read: 14 reasons why people don’t like and don’t trust Irish Water

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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