In 2012 when Bord Gais were given the task of setting up Irish Water, it was reported in the Independent on 22nd December that they queried the Fine Gael/Labour government’s determination to initially replace all stop taps in the country with smart meters. Bord Gais felt that the Department of the Environment were putting the cart before the horse in demanding this €540million replacement programme when it would have been far more reasonable to establish a “revenue and billing generation” and a customer data base as a priority. For the first few years a flat charge could be imposed until revenue started to build up and then if necessary a metering programme could be envisaged. But the Department of the Environment would only say it was the “governments wishes”.
You have to remember who was the minister in charge of the Department at this time, none other than slimy Phil Hogan whose bigger interest at this time was one of his secretaries. Everything that Phil has ever done has been behind closed doors and thinking as never been his strong point. This wish or decision was never discussed openly in the Dail and Micheal Martin, the Fianna Fail leader points out that the setting up of this behemoth “has been clouded in secrecy from day one” and he demands “greater clarity and information” and as it turns out in line with the government’s climb down on charges last month, as announced by Alan Kelly, Phil’s successor, the revenue Irish Water rake in annually for the next five years will be something in the order of €25million, especially when the meters are now not going to be used for calculating water charges. The €540million programme was a bit of a waste just as Bord Gais had intimated. ‘Tis a pity Micheal Martin did not raise these points of clarity and information at the time and forced a debate, after all it was his job to do so.
Right2Water spokesman Brendan Ogle says that this “all points to a government who acted in unseemly haste for an agenda they have not yet put on the public record. It is going to take somewhere between seven and nine years just to pay for the installation of the meter programme before any finance is drawn down to repair the famous 42% leaks that we are told that this is all about in the first place”. Irish Water claim that the metering programme will be “hugely beneficial” and bizarrely will “generate savings that may on their own pay for the entire metering programme” Which is obviously an intricate idea thought up in the mind of a deluded buffoon anxious to get a quote into the media. This pathetic argument was backed up by Enda Kenny last night on Mid West radio. They cannot afford to say they dropped a bollock. It is this unbelievable thinking that has led Phil Hogan, Enda Kenny, Irish Water and now the unfortunate Alan Kelly up the garden path, they actually think they have the ear of the people. How wrong they are.
What all this grey veil of secrecy which cloaks the Irish Water set up seems to me to be about, is that the coalition’s agenda is different from what they say. We all know that for the last few years since gaining power the government of Ireland’s lies outnumber the government of Ireland’s truths by a long way. All we get is huff, puff and then crisis management after a reaction to a certain proposed policy.
This hidden agenda is not about charging for water and producing the much needed upgrade of the present water infrastructure. These meters obviously do more than count the gallons of water we use. These meters have been installed to even more empower the government and even more disempower our own sovereignty. Once you start to think what this secret eye is doing to your freedom and individuality any number of questions arise in your mind and I do not want to go there. George Orwell’s 1984 is with us now in 2014 or will be if you let them. Once you see Irish Water going onto brand new estates and ripping out water meters that were only installed four years ago you know that this new generation of meter is doing something a lot more sinister than is obvious.
So in setting up Irish Water, the government have extended themselves to an outlay of over €1billion for what? If everybody pays the water charges next year it looks like Irish water will collect €150million but probably only 60% of the people will pay, so that figure is reduced to €90million. Yet Irish Water want €150million per annum to fix leaking pipes without adding in any cost for infrastructure improvement ie. new water treatment plants, reservoirs etc. So however you do your sums you will realise that Irish Water will be forever in ever increasing debt There is something dreadfully wrong with their accountancy if they think that under the present system Irish Water is viable.
So if they take this hit for the next five years there will have to be some massive increases in water charges from 2020 onwards. As Noel Grealish, Independent TD for Galway West, said recently that the Irish Water bill for households will shortly be over €1000 per annum and the cost of running Irish Water will be bigger than the cost of running the Health Service Executive.
Well all that talk of money is getting me annoyed and I and a lot more people are not going to pay anything under the present day system, so every expert’s accountancy figures are going to be up the wall. I have a suggestion, draw a line under it, scrap Irish Water. Let the politicians and civil servants all sit down together in a calm and reflective manner showing openness and transparency to all, do the sums and come back to the people with a true cost and a new name, with no consultants, no bonuses and no crap. The new name can be Bord Uisce derived from its mother Bord Gais and if they get their product fit for purpose ie. no fluoride, no cryptospiridium and no smart meters, I might be the first man to pay for the luxury, instead of not even entertaining the thought of paying for “piss”.