Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney has confirmed that the Government is supporting a bill to keep Irish Water in public ownership, but said the proposed legislation would need further scrutiny.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Independents4Change TD Joan Collins said the Government would not oppose her bill to amend the constitution to ensure Irish Water stays in public ownership. 

Ms Collins said her bill ensured the entity stayed both in public ownership and management. 

The Dublin South-Central TD has urged her fellow politicians "not to unduly dilute or delay" the bill.

Mr Coveney told the Dáil that while the Government was not opposing the bill, it would need scrutiny at committee stage to ensure it did not result in unintended consequences.

Mr Coveney said there were three bills on the future ownership of Irish Water and there was agreement on this core issue.

He said the previous Government had already legislated to ensure Irish Water stays in public ownership.

He said statements that Irish Water was designed for privatisation were not accurate.

Mr Coveney said while he supported measures to keep Irish Water in public ownership, it would be challenging to word the amendment so as not to affect other water schemes.

He paid tribute to staff of Irish Water and their sense of public service.

Ms Collins said while she was pleased the Government was allowing the bill to proceed to committee stage without a vote, such a vote would have been carried in any case. 

Ms Collins said the amendment would not deal with group water schemes, and did not seek to bring private citizens' schemes into public ownership. 

She said being realistic, she knew there would be attempts to dilute the wording of the bill before it goes to committee stage. She added that SIPTU was supporting the bill.