The Group of Unions at Ervia and Irish Water have welcomed the call by the caretaker Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly, for greater input from workers in the debate over the future of the public utility. Group of Unions at Irish Water secretary, Adrian Kane, said; “Following a positive meeting with the Minister for the Environment yesterday (Thursday, 7th April) at which he stated his appreciation of the significant degree of progress in leak detection, water conservation, infrastructure replacement and elimination of boil water notices achieved by Irish Water and local authority workers.“Overall the meeting was very positive, with the Minister showing great understanding in relation to the concerns that our members have for their future livelihoods.”Kane added: “Irish Water workers in particular welcome the Minister’s statement that the greater involvement of ‘on-the-ground personnel’ would ‘contribute to a more informed public debate about the future of this national infrastructure’. “It is now imperative that all the major political parties engage with Irish Water workers concerning the debate over the future of the public utility. The employees are the real experts on this issue, they know what is needed to develop a world class water infrastructure for this country. “In particular political parties who are contemplating tabling bills which could lead to the dismantling of Irish Water need to engage with the workers before taking any such step. These parties need to take on board the workers view that it would be utterly reckless to move away from the concept of a wholly publicly owned single integrated organisation at this stage.“It is time for a rational debate on water, populist solutions will inevitably lead to short term reactionary decisions that will have long term negative consequences for the provision of water services in Ireland.”