Irish Water charges to be suspended in political fudge

irish water chargesThe Irish Water charges will be suspended if Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil manage to cobble together some sort of political fudge in a desperate attempt to retain power.

Are we surprised?

Leave to one side the fact that water charges were conceived by Fianna Fáil and implemented by their evil twin, Fine Gael. Ignore the crass desire for power that allowed them both to arrive at this short-term deal. Disregard the fact that the hospitals are bursting with emergency cases and people are waiting years to get life-saving scans while the politicians agonise over a couple of hundred euros a year for water.

Put all that to one side and reflect instead on what these clowns in Fianna Gael / Fine Fáil have wrought by their ham-fisted introduction of a water utility, perhaps the most inept ever, thus book-ending our economic collapse as the most severe in the history of this most wealthy corner of the planet.

Rarely have we seen an issue so well-suited to cynics, opportunists and downright political disrupters, bless them. Where would we be without disrupters?

Let us disregard the question of charges for the moment and look at the infrastructure as it stands.

In this country, we have 31 local authorities, each of which, until the creation of Irish Water, was responsible for providing fresh water and sewerage services to its local community.

Is that a good model? Would it make sense to have thirty-one electricity monopolies? Thirty-one gas monopolies for a tiny population like Ireland’s? Would it not make more sense to create one single water and sewerage organisation in order to develop a plan for the entire country? And if not, please explain why not.

Many campaigned against the creation of Irish Water solely on the principle that it should not exist regardless of water charges, but many others objected to paying anyone anywhere any time and the arguments ranged from the strictly rational to the barking mad.

The rational people argued that they already pay for water in their taxes while the barking mad drifted towards the delusional, suggesting that treated, piped water should be free because it falls out of the sky.

Like food should be free.

I’m not too fond of the idea that I should pay for anything. I don’t like handing over money any more than the next man, and I’ll be up front about this: I haven’t paid an Irish Water bill yet, but that’s not because I don’t think I should pay to have water treated and delivered to my home, and then removed when I’m finished with it.

The reason I haven’t paid an Irish Water bill yet is because of the arrogant, intimidating, threatening attitude they took to us. I didn’t like the swagger of their ads or the condescension of their leading PR woman.

I didn’t like the attitude of their chief executive, once known as the million-dollar man when he was a middling clerk in Limerick County Council but since elevated to great office, even if he didn’t exactly grace that office with greatness.

I didn’t like them, I didn’t like their attitude and I didn’t pay them, but at the same time I knew that treating and delivering water costs money.

The other thing I didn’t like was the swaggering, condescending attitude of the anti-water lobby. I didn’t like being labelled as a corporate shill simply for questioning their opposition to water charges and I still don’t like it.

I don’t like the opposition to water metering since it is perfectly obvious that we should always measure what we waste if we are to protect this planet, but it seems that even if Irish Water is abolished there will be people opposed to metering for reasons they won’t be able to explain.

And besides, even if we abolish Irish Water, what will we replace it with? Thirty-one local authorities? No. We’ll replace it with Irish Water under another name, because that’s what makes sense.

What are the reasons to oppose Irish Water?

This: It could be taken over by private interests. A rational point that could easily be dealt with by legislation.

This: It charges us money even though we already pay for the service. A rational point that could be dealt with by debating the accounts.

This: Water is free. No it isn’t, any more than food is free.

This: Water is a human right. Not it’s not, unless that right is given to you by law.

There were many reasons to oppose the badly misconceived Irish Water Scheme but sadly, the opposition seems to have been hijacked by people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Where would they be without Denis O’Brien to provide the scary bits?




26 thoughts on “Irish Water charges to be suspended in political fudge

  1. I don’t like the swaggering attitudes of the Revenue, Motor Tax, RTE etc etc but I still pay my share, why? Because it’s the law. When we decide what charges and taxes we pay then society will fall apart.

    €160 per year for clean water in my home is well worth it. Most of the whingers are just that, they whinge about everything but want it free.

    €160 a year for clean water led to thousands on protest marches, to date one one march has taken place in protest against mental health cuts. Than tells you all you need to know about our citizens.

  2. Arrogance and bullying sunk Irish Water from day 1. Yes, it does cost money to treat water and maintain infrastructure but IW was a vehicle to privatise the product, possibly to a political crony who might be from Cork…. we pay for state services through the tax system already.

  3. We clearly don’t pay through the tax system, since the water infrastructure needs an investment of billions.

  4. I think there will now be a sense of grievance among many country people who have always had to pay for their wells/group water schemes and their septic tanks (considerably more than €160 a year)

  5. i’ve yet to pay as i don’t have a meter.
    imagine if you went to a petrol station and started to fill up, and noticed that the meter was not ticking over. you stop filling immediately and go inside to tell the guy behind the counter. he goes ahh sure give us €60. would you pay him?
    people should only have to pay when they have a proper metering system installed.

  6. what can’t yesterday’s near record exchequer returns – 42 / 43 Baldy billins , pay for water ? ( second only to 2007 )

    that’s nearly a billin a week !!!!

    i mean why not … don’t care that i have duty of care to my fellow citizens to make a plan to look after ” us Ireland “.

    42 / 43 billins is good news – is enough – Sharon said as much ..

    and while i’m at it – Irish LPT is not a property tax, not now , never will be .

    Real LPT is a fit for purpose middle-European tax designed by using joined up thinking to look after local community utilities in France , Germany

    these same utilities were already paid though central funding in Eire

    don’t call it a LPT – its insulting .

  7. Spot on Sniffle.

    And it won’t be 160 a year. It was never intended to be that amount. That cost just about covers the administrator of collecting the money.

    There’s no shortage of water in this county and people are not overusing water.

    I think of water as being similar to healthcare.. it should be funded through general taxation. Not if you have money you’ll get medical treatment faster.. or if you have enough money you can drink water, have a few cups of tea and an occasional wash.. feck off.

    There’s plenty of money in this country… how about we tax the wealthy more or at all for that matter.

    Let’s not put another charge on people living on the poverty line, people like old age pensioners who can’t afford heating in the winter. Water charges are not a fair tax. There’s plenty who just can’t afford it. There’s thousands living in poverty in this country.. You have massive inequality and the wealthy are just getting disgustingly more wealthy.. there’s plenty of ways water can be funded.

    ‘When we decide what charges and taxes we pay then society will fall apart.’

    ‘Because it’s the law’.. Don’t you just love that one. We need to do everything our betters tell us, because they enact some law. People have said NO to water charges No. 8 and guess what, society hasn’t fallen apart.. it was the same back in the 80s. I don’t think they’ll ever get water charges in this country..

  8. Hogan wasn’t the right man for setting up Irish Water, a bull in a china shop and a bit thick to boot. Smart enough to skedaddle off to Europe though and i’m guessing he know it would be a balls-up. All done in a rush, pontificating instead of communicating.

    T’was all downhill from there.

  9. Another thing, threatening people with turning off their water, (they didn’t really mean that though on reflection… It was, ah we’ll only turn it down to a trickle to make it practically unusable) shows nothing but disdain for people and an inability to empathise and understand that there are people out there who could not afford to pay this tax. It’s not like they said we’ll work with people who can’t afford it, it was, ye’ll be getting no water people.

    It must be difficult to understand all right when you’ve been riding the gravy train all your life – like those in FF and FG and those who they selected to manage Irish Water and all the consultants. Kenny thinks the minimum wage is 35k ffs, and water is only the same cost as the two pints your man was holding in this hand that one time, and that other time.

    I don’t think it was every about conservation.. it was a charging exercise… Another austerity tax.

    People said NO.. the law will just have to be changed.

  10. “Because it’s the law’.. Don’t you just love that one. We need to do everything our betters tell us, because they enact some law.”

    @ Artemis, I don’t have betters, maybe you do. Laws are passed generally for the betterment of society, if your house is burgled will you accept the buglar stating that he doesn’t agree with the law and he should be free to as he pleases?

    This society is full of whingers and mé féiners.

  11. “Artemis, I don’t have betters, maybe you do. Laws are passed generally for the betterment of society

    Eh, that’d be a no, not generally at all, no.. was NAMA for the betterment of society? How about the Irish taxpayer having to bail out the banks and pay out on billions to investors on their gambles? How about investment schemes aimed at the wealthy so they don’t have to pay tax? Zippo, diddly squat, not a bean —

    “This society is full of whingers ” Who else said that now? Let me think….

    If you’re trying to suggest there aren’t hundreds of thousands living in poverty in this country and they’re just whinging, you’d be wrong there No. 8.

  12. In France, where I live, we pay considerably more than 160 euros a year for water. As a result we get a reliable, clean, high pressure system. We don’t have cuts, shortages or restrictions. We don’t need water tanks in our attics and we don’t need power showers – in fact, most houses need pressure reducers.

    Also, as a result, we don’t leave the tap running while brushing teeth and we don’t spend 30 minutes running the shower (as some of our Irish visitors do sometimes).

    So we pay for a precious resource and we conserve it. We have on-line visibility to our hourly consumption statistics (you can see a toilet flush at 3 am).

    The Irish Water debate has become a terrible distraction. Personally I dont understand why the government did not look for experience from overseas (any European country) where this has been in place for years. Here in France, it is delivered by private companies (eg Veolia) under licence from the local authorities who also control pricing. It all works fine and nobody complains.

    Unfortunately a majority of TDs (including FF) were elected to this Dail on a ticket of removing water charges.

    Likewise here, for other taxes. We pay about 1,000 euros a year for property tax (paid by the owner) and an additional 1,000 for residential tax (paid by the occupier). This goes to cover local infrastucture (we dont pay road tax), security, emergency services, etc. We have multiple bin collections per week and a local ((dump (sorting) included.

    Ok – its not all perfect here – far from it. But as Bock says above, I think one of the issues in Ireland is that there is not enough tax to cover the cost of the services people want (and need). Here we pay a lot – but what we get in return is pretty good. The French seem to be able to manage a weird mixture of socialism and capitalism, but of course there is also huge debt….

  13. “30 minutes running the shower (as some of our Irish visitors do sometimes).”

    30 minutes huh? Not 5, not 10, not 15, but 30 minutes.. are they coming in from the coal mines or something?

    I’m trying to find something on household water consumption, in comparison to other countries.. I found this –

    Meters don’t make a difference to consumption it seems. I don’t think people overuse water in this country myself. You don’t generally see water sprinklers out on lawns in the summer – there’s no need of them. Not many people are taking 30 minute showers in fairness.. Do people really let the water run when they’re brushing their teeth? To give a comparison, did people generate less rubbish when they had to pay a private company per kg weight of it, as opposed to when it was collected for free? I doubt it.

    It’s a charging exercise IMO.

  14. On their number 2 point there, on the right to water link
    “Giving tax breaks to the wealthy while imposing water charges on everyone else”
    That seems like a bit of a diversion, but is there something to it?

    There seems to be all sorts of new schemes set up by the government, whereby there’s no tax implications whatsoever for companies investing in property (and other funds) – on the income and gains, in this country, if you look at some of the brochures of these investment companies.

    How are a QIF and its investors taxed?
    Irish regulated funds, including QIFs, are exempt from Irish tax on
    their income and gains.

  15. Here’s another one… This is fairly boring stuff, sorry, but Zero tax ??

    ‘2.5 The ICAV’, is the one Denis O’Brien availed of in the article mentioned above –

    ” Denis O’Brien took advantage of a new tax-efficient legal entity established by the government last year when he sold a landmark building on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin for a reported €30m profit.

    O’Brien reportedly sold the LXV building, on the site of Canada House, for €85m last month.

    O’Brien transferred the ownership of the LXV building into an Irish collective asset-management vehicle (ICAV) ” Zero tax.. not a bean.

    It all seems unrelated, but someone’s gotta pay and why the fuck should the rest of us contribute proportionally more of our income on taxes than the likes of Denis O’Brien.. why are these schemes being set up to enrich the already wealthy?

  16. By the way, he saved himself 10 million on tax by availing of that scheme very quickly after it was set up by the government.. you’d wonder is there a hotline directly to him or something. But there’s your amount that was cut from the mental health budget right there. (the most of it anyway – 12 million cut on mental health)

  17. Irish Water as an entity is a filthy, corrupt cesspit and needs to be obliterated before any discussions on water management take place. It is simply a corrupt clusterfuck.

  18. What fence? It is a corrupt filthy set up, sums up everything that is wrong with our corruption ridden establishment. It was set up to line a few pockets and fatten it up for sale down the line, with the excuse “Europe made us do it” If you can’t see the corruption in all of this, you really need to get out more.

  19. When I get back to Ireland, I expect to be drawing my water from a stream with a bucket and no electricity in the house and I am quite happy to have it that way.
    (You see, Artemis, I DO think that I am living in the Middle Ages after all!!)

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