Through A Glass Darkly


Simon Coveney 402_90504141


From top: Simon Coveney; Tony Groves

The shield of “advice of the attorney general” is more a badge of convenience to those who have already lost the war on water charges.

Tony Groves writes:

We are a grand old species all the same. A hominid filled with self importance and sophisticated concepts of our place in the universe.

We have a great way of recording our achievements as shrines to our greatness. We’ve had the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the Information Age to name but a few. All of them linear paths for linear thinkers.

Civilisation we are thought runs thus: the Greeks beget the Romans, the Romans beget the British and the British beget the United States of America. One glorious leap forward after another. This is of course complete bunkum. Point out the gaps in this chronological history of convenience and someone might tell you you’re living in the Dark Ages.

When Morning Ireland presenter Cathal MacCoille yesterday pointed out that “we’ve been here before” regarding the Grace Child Abuse case, I replied that “the one thing we learn from history, is that we never learn from history”. How can we hope to learn from history when the very history we a taught is as limited as a 140 character tweet.

Everyday new evidence emerges showing that, rather than the enlightened creatures we believe ourselves to be, most of us are like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Destined to live the same mundane existence day in and day out. Drifting along in a lazy river of the unremarkable. Round and round we go.

It is on this fetid water that we watch our politicians bobbing along on again. The noxious creature that is the Irish Water Groundhog has waited inline, gotten his inflatable tube and is back for another ride.

We are told that Fine Gael will not eliminate charges that risk the ire of the EU Commission; never mind that we are separately prodding the EU Commission over the Apple Tax ruling.

Whatever you do, do not mention that when both Spain and Portugal were to be fined €2bn and €300m respectively, for breaches of the EU Commissions Budgetary Rules (rules more sacred than water charges) that the fines were reduced to €0.

The shield of “advice of the attorney general” is more a badge of convenience to those who have already lost the war on water charges.

All Minister Coveney is doing, one might argue, is delaying the inevitable in order to support his Fine Gael leadership candidacy.

Irish Water is a lame duck utility. People who paid previously will not re-register. Those who never paid, never will.

Throwing shapes at each other for marginal political gains stinks almost as bad as the commentariat deriding the public for seeing through this entire charade form its conception.

The Minority Government and the Faux Opposition are pretend-arguing over what is or is not excessive water use. Really? All you are doing is excessively trying the public’s patience.

The Half-Dead Irish Water Groundhog needs to be put out of its misery. The use of excessive force won’t be necessary.

Tony Groves is a full-time Financial Consultant and part-time commentator. With over 18 years experience in the Financial Industry and a keen interest in politics, history and “being ornery”, he has published one book and writes regularly at Trickstersworld


28 thoughts on “Through A Glass Darkly

  1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    The only people who care about Irish Water nowadays are those who foolishly paid, whether through fear or stupidity.
    They want to know when they’re getting their money back.

    Nobody else cares.

  2. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    Sorry Simon,
    I know it seems like I’m taking an unnecessary third dig at you for being a total bottomole.
    That’s NOT what this is about at all.

    I just keep forgetting to link a video to my name.
    It’s okay… I remembered this time. I’m going to ignore you from now on, and I hope your constituents do exactly the same.

  3. Steve

    Arguments on how water services are funded aside, Tony do you think having a single national utility , enshrined in public ownership in the constitution , that doesn’t lay another meter etc etc, a good idea??

    1. Tony Groves

      For my part I’ve always advocated for the following:
      1. A Central Streamlined Utility
      2. Generous (above EU average) allowances based on household occupancy
      3. A referendum to enshrine the Water and it’s infrastructure as owned by the people
      4. Incentives for measurable water conservation schemes
      5. Disincentives/Penalties/Charges for wastage.

      1. Steve

        So is the lame duck / half dead Irish Water groundhog half dead or simply in need of a reboot?

        1. Tony Groves

          I don’t like the R words. They infer Reform. Reform means there was an underlying well formed foundations. It’s pretty clear IW’s foundations are not worth reverting back to.

  4. Scundered

    If our politicians were to star in an M&M’s advert everything they touch would turn to s***e.

  5. Ferret McGruber

    No one is going to bring down the government until the new ministers have been in their portfolios (great word, isn’t it) long enough to be entitled to ‘de pension’. Any posturing by Coveney is exactly that, throwing shapes to try and increase his leadership chances. It won’t wash with us. ‘Wash’. Geddit? I’ll get me coat.

  6. DubLoony

    1. Enshrine public ownership in constitution.
    2. Free allowance for personal needs.
    3. Charge for excess use.
    4. Waiver for those who genuinely can’t afford / medical need for additional use.
    5. Meter to measure use, incentivise conservation, rebate for under use.
    6. Everyone grow up, we need clean water & safe waste water removal for health.

    1. martco

      point #1
      that’s the real issue under the skin of all this. FG have a major ideology dilemma, and guess what, their ideas aren’t what the vast majority of the people want.

    2. Zaccone

      This seems the really obvious solution. Its fair, its logical, and it would work.

      Wonder how low the odds are on our lovely TDs coming around to it though.

      1. DubLoony

        Too many have played politics with the water issue to be seen to back out now.
        FF & SF could easily do U-turns, again.

        1. Kieran NYC


          I don’t know if half the parties even want the water issue to be fixed. They’ve gotten a ton of votes out of it.

          Although Brendan Ogle did see it was going to run out of steam, so jumped on the homelessness bandwagon to get new publicity. Fair play to him.

  7. dav

    blushirts under pressure from a bankrupt redacted as the privatisation of Irelands water supply is his last chance to stave off the bondholders..

  8. pat harding

    Ah that damned constitution which is so out of date…. it’s time for a new one which removes some of the extremely dumb provisions which are already in there.

  9. Otis Blue

    “On the advice of the Attorney General”

    Always bear in mind that advice is given in response to a very specific question. So what was the question put to the AG?

    Only when you know that do you know what, if any value, the AG’s advice is worth.

    1. realPolithicks

      Isn’t it grand that the “independent” AG always seems to find what the government of the day is looking for to be “legal” thing to do.

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