Former Environment Minister Phil Hogan
On foot of Phil Hogan being confirmed as the European Union’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, he spoke to Seán O’Rourke earlier.
During the interview he addressed the matter of Independent MEP Nessa Childers writing to all the members of the Social Democrats group – 191 members – of the European Parliament, in which she said she had “serious reservations” about Mr Hogan getting the EU Commissioner post.
Ms Childers specifically wrote about how Mr Hogan, as Environment Minister, had written to some of his constituents in Kilkenny, telling them a Traveller family – Patrick and Brigid Carthy and their seven children – would not be moved to a house near them.
Phil Hogan: “Can I say that the assertions made by Nessa Childers are absolute rubbish and they will be dealt with at the European Parliament, if they arise, and they will be dealt with in the courts, in due course.”
Seán O’Rourke: “And then, more recently, there was the story on Sunday last, to the effect you knew far more than you were admitting about the detailed costs being run up by Irish Water in their establishment, particularly in regard to consultants, and you didn’t tell the full story.”
Hogan: “And that’s absolute rubbish as well, Seán. And I know that there has to be bit of a silly season but this is a silly season story where I’ve done, where I’ve actually, on regular occasions to the Dáil, and indeed the Irish Water company told the European, told the environment committee and the public accounts committee, I’ve explained all of the headings that the company have to work with, in order to give indicative allocations of money, for, to set up a new company. I don’t expect that anyone, or didn’t expect that anyone would set up a new company without it costing some money. Irish Water, by its establishment, is saving considerable amount of money already in various schemes right around Ireland and it shows the importance of water quality and the investment that’s required in water and sewage treatment plants if we want a competitive Ireland and, indeed a competitive Europe.”
O’Rourke: “I know that’s, and I suppose that’s the big principle of this thing and that’s why it was set up but in regard to your own knowledge of the detail, did you effectively hide the extent of that detailed knowledge?”
Hogan: “No, I certainly indicated that there was a overall figure required to establish a new company and, in due course, the, all of the tendering procedures have to go through one of the various headings and under the various systems that have been put in place to set up a new commercial, semi-State company. And it will be seen, in time, Seán, that it was worthwhile and that Irish Water got on with the job of implementing a very important program for the country, to create jobs and sustain jobs for the year ahead. If we don’t have good water quality, we won’t have jobs in Ireland and we won’t have good public health.”
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Previously: The Negative Noise Around Phil Hogan