Well we have eventually joined battle, ourselves and Irish Water, or more correctly ourselves and Sierra Communications, the official contractors of the jumped up, brand new, watery arm of government. After nearly two weeks carefully waiting for the rolling juggernaut of harm to arrive, it finally did so yesterday in the shape of five men, two mini-diggers, two vans and a trailer loaded with safety barriers and equipment and two wagons, one to bring the waste away and the other to bring the stone back-fill in.
The gang have arrived to install new smart meters at our stop-cocks, which I am told will register to big brother how much water we are using, so that Irish Water, a new-fangled instrument of State Revenue, can charge us accordingly per litre of use for this God given necessity.
I have had my Landcruiser parked over our stop-cock since Monday 10th March, which was the appointed day for their first attack. They never arrived, possibly held up by guerrilla fighters up in the hills, but now they have, so let’s show a brave face.
Let me just explain a few pertinent facts before the war starts. Here in beautiful Boyle in Co Roscommon where I live, we have more water than money. Water surrounds us on all sides and the elements persist in throwing tons of it out of the sky on most days to fill the Boyle River outside the house and Loch Ce which is just a few hundred metres away and which has more water in it than would service the UK. The problem with it and the water that is pumped to our taps is, as our learned TD, Luke Ming Flanagan said in debate in the Dail, the problem is that it is all piss. We have not been able to drink the water issuing from our taps since May 2013, over 10 months ago. Roscommon County Council who are the providers of our water and I would think somewhere it probably says that they have a statutory duty to provide good clean drinking water, have not got the money to be able to treat the water successfully, having for years been starved of funds by a badly mismanaged central government frugally eking out pennies instead of pounds, whilst spending money on East coast follies. Poor Roscoco only have the funds to tell us not to drink instead of being able to tell us to drink. It is cheaper to test than to provide.
There seems to me to be a groundswell of opinion that is not happy with this situation. On St Patrick’s Day last Monday, the town held its annual parade and a very entertaining one it was and the over-riding theme on the floats and in the procession of groups was one of dissatisfaction at the state of hydraulic affairs in the locality. This groundswell unfortunately does not appear when push comes to shove. Our little estate of 10 houses dumbly sat back yesterday whilst the hi-vizzed lads came in ripping and tearing at our footpaths. We seem to be the only recalcitrant household. Now I know round here most are pillars of the community and I know that people think that boats are not for rocking but surely a little show of spunk would do no harm.
My main objection other than the health disadvantages these smart meters bring is that I think the cart has been put well and truly in front of the horse. Irish Water say they have one million meters to install and I estimate, for what it’s worth having been in the business all my life, that each meter is costing upwards of 350 euro each. That means an outlay of 350 million euros and the process has not moved an inch, we still have no drinking water, yet from the end of this year we are threatened with being charged for the fact. Without even thinking about where a bankrupt country found 350 million euros just like that, would it not be far better to get the product right before you sell it. Spend 200 million euros on water treatment first and then try to put in meters and wait for the revenue to come in.
As I said before we have been without piped drinking water now since last May and it is costing myself and Helen 30 euros a week to buy bottled water from the supermarkets and they tell us we will not have clean drinking water until sometime in 2015 which will be some two years since the alarm went up. 30 euros per week for two years amounts to something like just over 3,000 euros that we will have spent to overcome the breakdown in a statutory duty to provide and they are thinking of charging us for this unsound product from the end of this year. Now something ain’t right there with the ethics, the business plan or the practice. So that is why I am not budging, I want my 3,000 euro first before I start talking and even then I would risk incarceration before I stop protesting but as the Sierra man said to me yesterday, at some stage Irish Water will do it whether you like it or not. How do freedom but at the moment that is for the future to unfold.
My other objection to these meters is the affect they have on health. With the massive proposed growth in their installation a growing number of instances of a condition called electro-hypersensitivity become apparent. For that reason I threw my mobile phone in the Irish Sea when I moved over here in 2005. All modern technologies build up this electro-magnetic field in the body, which is very harmful especially to the unformed bodies of children and these smart meters are on 24/7 unlike mobile phones and microwave cookers. There is a list of complaints that have been diagnosed by the medical profession among the worst are insomnia, headaches, diminished brain function, muscle weakness, eye problems, cardiac and arrhythmia problems, neuropathy, arthritis, respiratory problems, urinary problems, endocrine disorders, sterility, cancer and behavioural changes. All that is not worth mentioning, without the mention also of the continued fluoridation of our water supplies, which add to that list in a big way.
For the government to start rolling out these metres it strikes me there are some very powerful eugenic forces out there, besides the money to be had by utility companies. The small matter of reducing the world’s population by two thirds stated by some very powerful people is enough to make us all boil over and if we do not react now GM food and these smart meters will do the job for them.
One last word for the lads, I had a few conversations with them yesterday and they struck me as being a decent, well mannered bunch of lads only there to do a job in these straightened times. They seemed to know what they were doing, they were tidy and they seemed to do the job well. Whilst plagued with incessant rain for most of the day. They must have been there for eleven hours, surrounded by the fur coat of brand spanking new safety barriers that took longer to unload, erect, dismantle and reload than the actual meter installation took. Having looked at the fur coat, I noticed there were no knickers, where were the amenities demanded under health and safety legislation. Where were the toilets, where were the rest and eating facilities? They certainly were not apparent to me, unless you mean the bushes on the river bank or the seats in the van. It did seem to me that the employment conditions for these decent lads were remiss. It was like going back to 40 years ago in England and I had plenty of the same.