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‘Minister must explain why a €200,000 rural water report will not be published’ says local TD

Carol Nolan and Darragh O'Brien

An Independent TD has called on the Minister for Housing to explain why his department has not published a report on ‘Research and information on the Rural Water Sector’.

Deputy Carol Nolan was speaking after Minister Darragh O’Brien confirmed to her in a parliamentary reply that his department had incurred costs of €199,365 for ‘the provision of research and information on the Rural Water Sector and to support the Rural Water Working Group in carrying out its work.’

Deputy Nolan said that she was surprised to learn that the work was not yet complete and that the final report has been categorised as ‘not for publication’.

Deputy Nolan said: “The Rural Water Working Group was established in 2018 to conduct a review of the wider investment needs relating to rural water services and specifically to recommend measures to ensure an equitable outcome between those who receive water services from Irish Water and non-Irish Water customers.

“Those objectives are laudable and important, and I fully support them.

“However, we need to know, in both the interests of transparency and of having a thoroughly informed debate around rural water issues, why the decision has been made not to publish the final report, especially as the taxpayer is handing over €200,000 for the privilege.

“If there is a good reason why the public and those in rural Ireland in particular should not have access to this final report then let the Minister come out and state what that reason is.

“I for one will be pursuing him on this matter until we have greater clarity and accountability than we have at present.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.