Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that the public reaction to Irish Water’s demand for an individual’s PPS number in order to assess the charges applicable to each household is rooted in a profound mistrust of the government created quango. Deputy McGrath was speaking as serious misgivings are being raised about the reasons being used to justify the demand by Irish Water for the highly sensitive information:
“The fact is that the Irish people have come, through bitter experience, to take all the assurances of Irish Water as pretty much meaningless expressions of intent.
Nowhere is this more applicable than in their reassurance that the PPS number of each individual in the house is being required simply as a means of assessment.
By having access to this information Irish Water will potentially be privy to deeply sensitive and personal information, the kind which people would not ordinarily volunteer if they were not being strong armed by Irish Water.
There must be other ways to suitably verify the information they are seeking without the need to have access to PPS numbers. People are just extremely frustrated by this whole process and the PPS issue is only going to symbolise the intrusive nature of the whole debacle.
I would suggest that both the Minister for the Environment, Irish Water and the Taoiseach need to do far more to reassure people that their data protection concerns are being taken seriously.
As it stands there is already a clear feeling out there that this whole enterprise is less about protecting our water supply and more about generating revenue and the request for PPS numbers is simply confirming that view for the vast majority of people,” concluded Deputy McGrath.