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Dublin firms worried over Council cost

Tuesday, December 17 16:18:01

News that Dublin City Council will transfer E2bn in assets to Irish Water leaving it with cost liabilities makes for "unsettling reading", according to Dublin Chamber today.

Dublin City Council will be left with hundreds of millions in liabilities and will lose some E2 billion in assets following the transfer of its services to Irish Water next month, city manager Owen Keegan has told councillors.

Mr Keegan said the transition was set to result in higher charges for businesses, could damage the council's ability to respond to severe weather events, and was likely to cause "very significant financial and operational risks to the city council".

The council was facing pension liabilities for water services staff of E330 million without the assets to fund them and this was the " single most significant area of concern", Mr Keegan said.

The money paid by Irish Water to the council for the provision of water services next year will lead to a shortfall of E1.7 million.

Gina Quin, Dublin Chamber Chief Executive, said "Businesses in Dublin City Council are already paying the full cost of the water they are provided. The City Manager has raised issues which seem to indicate a rise in both water charges and commercial rates. Dublin City Council have a massive shortfall to fund."

According to the Dublin Chamber's latest business survey, over half of businesses saw an increase in water costs already this year. "The Chamber had hoped that the establishment of Irish Water would create a system that is efficient and cost competitive. However, it seems the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local has not ensured sufficient coordination and is going to leave businesses to pay the bill."