Members of Tipperary County Council have been assured that the Service Levy Agreement with Irish Water will not terminate until the end of 2022 and stakeholders are working towards exiting the agreeme
After that time Tipperary County Council will have no involvement in water services in the county
Members of Tipperary County Council have been assured that the Service Levy Agreement with Irish Water will not terminate until the end of 2022 and stakeholders are working towards exiting the agreement appropriately.
The issue was discussed at a meeting of the local authority this week when it emerged that the SLA, which was drawn up between Irish Water and Tipperary County Council following the establishment of the public utility company, is currently being worked through and it is hoped that full agreements will be place by the end of July. The SLA defines the level of service expected by a customer from a supplier, laying out the metrics by which that service is measured.
A significant portion of former local authority staff in Tipperary working in the water services section have been working for Irish Water and this situation is likely to continue after the SLA ends.
Cllr Roger Kennedy queried the staff situation within Irish Water and offered the view that if the current council staff were taken out of the picture, it would send water services “back to the stone age”.
“It would be a complete disaster and the only good thing about the Irish Water model has been the fact that our workers were on the ground and were great people who know exactly what they are doing. Were that situation to change, it would drive water services back to the stone age as far as I am concerned. We cannot allow that to happen,” he said.
Director of Services, Mr Eamon Lonergan had told the council members that the SLA is being worked through at the moment with a working group having been established by the council, but following interventions from a number of members, Cllr Michael Fitzgerald (FG) proposed that Irish Water representatives be invited to attend a virtual workshop with the council so that all the issues can be discussed. This proposal was seconded by Cllr John Crosse.
Chief Executive Officer, Mr Joe MacGrath told members that the positions of the 3,200 staff members from local authorities around the country are assured. He clarified that the SLA ending date is July 2021, but the termination of the link is likely to be the end of 2022.
And, Mr MacGrath said that the council executive has “very very genuine concerns” about the current situation with Irish Water in Tipperary which is not ideal. Noting members anxiety at the response times from Irish Water and accessibility to members call line, Mc MacGrath said that the company is in a very difficult situation as they try to manage as a single utility for the 31 local authorities in the country. And, he added that Tipperary County Council will have no role in water services in Tipperary going forward, so it is important that the system of interaction works and continues to work.