Tag Archives: Irish Water

Right2Water writes:

Today we learned the sad news that one of the worlds greatest intellectuals, Stephen Hawking, has died. He once said:

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

So when Ronan Lyons, a senior economist says that water charges would have prevented water shortages, one would question whether this erroneous statement is through ignorance, or through assumed knowledge.

When people with actual expertise in this matter came to Ireland to talk about our water crisis, they were completely ignored.

Not one media outlet interviewed Maude Barlow or covered the two speeches she made.

Maude, if you don’t know, has written four books on water and was an advisor to the UN on water, along with dozens of other accolades.

She is widely recognised as one of he worlds leading experts on water. Her statement simply didn’t fit the medias and right-wing agenda.

“The Irish system of paying for water and sanitation services through progressive taxation and non-domestic user fees, is an exemplary model of fair equitable and sustainable service delivery for the entire world”

When the European Water Movement, the activists who are battling against water shut-offs and water poverty all across Europe released their statement on the water privatisation agenda in Ireland, they were also completely ignored.

“It is clear that the best method of securing access to water, and securing funds for infrastructural investment, is through general taxation.

“The European Water Movement views the struggle of the Irish people to abolish water charges, and to secure a referendum enshrining public ownership of Ireland’s water system, as yet more evidence of a real European people’s movement to democratise water management.”

When Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director for Food and Water watch provided the Irish media with some relevant and valuable information about water, again, ignored. Remember, Wenonah is based in a country where up to 70,000 families had their water shut off in one city alone, Detroit.

“Metering and water pricing, the policies that many economists have advocated for encouraging conservation, is a wrong minded strategy.”

“This market-oriented pricing reform is fundamentally flawed. It assumes that households can or will reduce water use when faced with metering and higher prices. However, residential water use is a small fraction of water withdrawals and even draconian water price increases will have little impact on household water consumption.

For most households, water goes towards essential uses like drinking, cooking and sanitation; consumer demand for water does not really change, regardless of price.

Economists call this price inelasticity. Consumers will not drink twice as much water if the price of water falls by half, nor will they reduce the amount of water they drink by half if the price of water doubles. A Food & Water Watch review of the economic literature found only a very modest consumer response to rising water prices. Households generally reduce water use slightly in the face of even steep price increases.”

Maybe we don’t get balanced coverage because the Irish media, who are currently struggling to make a profit, with many relying on paid advertorials from the government, were also receiving up to €3 million per year in advertising revenue from Irish Water?

Even when the government’s own “expert commission on water” published the facts and figures behind our water usage – supporting what Right2Water Ireland has been saying for years – the line from the media was that we need water charges.

Put simply, water can be paid for through three distinct methods:

1. Metered domestic charges (England, France)
2. Local rates (Northern Ireland, Scotland)
3. General taxation (Republic of Ireland)

The question everyone should be asking is, which is the optimum method of paying for water from an environmental, economic and social perspective.

With abstraction charges, effective commercial water charges and government subvention, Ireland can ensure we never have water poverty while at the same time providing the badly needed investment in our water infrastructure.

Don’t let ill informed ‘know-it-all’ economists or the media spin their ignorance or their propagenda in pursuit of a neo-liberal policy of water commodification and financialisation.

They did it in housing, health, education and other sectors of our society with devastating impacts, let’s keep our water out of their ideology and their ideology out of our water, and let’s not make the mistakes that the rest of the world has already made – and is paying for now.

Oh, and if you protested against the introduction of water charges, you are a hero, and you should be proud.

Do not let them blame you for water shortages, that responsibility is entirely down to those who refuse to tackle the real wasters (commercial enterprises) and those who cut funding for water infrastructure (Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour and the Green Party).

Now, can we please stop the waste of money on meters, advertising, call centres, consultants, etc, and use the savings to fix the damn pipes?

And finally, sign the petition and call on your local TD’s to support a referendum on water ownership.

It’s Fake News Time Again In Pursuit Of Water Charges And The Privatisation Of Water (Right2Water)


Irish Water Managing Director Jerry Grant (middle) and Brendan Ogle of Right2Water

This afternoon.

Further to restrictions by Irish Water amid claims by managing director Jerry Grant that some householders may be leaving taps running in the cold weather.

The country saw a “spike” of 10%-20% of waterd demand during Storm Emma.

Brendan Ogle writes:

Taps running?


The Irish Water propaganda unit are in full flow again. Never an outfit to waste a good crisis, last week;s freeze has been turned into an opportunity to perpetuate the ‘wasteful consumer’ lies through an all-too willing media.

Yes folks the water privatisation quest continues.

I don’t believe a word of it.

The expert commission on water found zero evidence that the Irish wasted water and did in fact confirm Right2Water’s research that households used significantly less than our U.K. neighbours.

What waste was found was, not surprisingly, related to leaks.

Of course there was more water used last week. A ‘spike’, as they call it. That’s because, hmm let me have a think about this…


More food cooked, kettles boiled, showers run, maybe some ‘waster’ had a bath (hang on for a confession), kids out playing in the snow coming in rotten dirty. It’s not complicated.

Then of course we know the system leaks like a colander anyway, so imagine what the freezing weather has done to the leaks?

And yes, algae has arrived early in the Vartry reservoir [Roundwood, County Wicklow] so that is causing issues too.

There was similar weather across the U.K. last week. Not only did it not lead to interminable news coverage of it but guess what, it’s caused problems with their water system too.

Yet nobody is blaming the citizens over there. No privatisation agenda you see, they already did it. With disastrous results for consumers.

So I’m not buying a word of this nonsense about wasters running taps.

But here’s that confession:

‘Bless me Irish Water for I sinned,
It’s been three months since my last bath
But last Sunday I had one
Because I wanted one
I didn’t even need one
I just wanted one
And I loved it
The Radox smelled lovely
For these and all my baths I am very sorry’

Brendan Ogle is a Right2Water Co-Ordinator, Unite’s Political, Education and Community co-ordinator. and blogs every Thursday here.


April 2015

Elizabeth Arnett, head of communications at Irish Water, with Alen Kelly, then Minister for the Environment, defend the Irish Water shambles.


Elizabeth Arnett, now head of corporate strategy at Ulster Bank, defends the institute’s tracker policy described as “robbery’ at a Joint Public Accounts Committee yesterday.

Good times.

Ulster Bank CEO absence blasted at hearing (Irish Examiner)

Anon writes:

“So Irish Water texted me for a refund, but I have never registered. So where did they get my phone number? It’s unlinked on the Electoral Register…”



Former Irish Water managing director John Tierney

At Dublin City Council, he forced through the Covanta waste plant.

Following this he oversaw the launch of Irish Water.

How can we thank John Tierney?

Ken Foxe writes:

Irish Water had to put aside more than €470,000 as part of a special deal to ensure former boss John Tierney could be paid his full pension aged 57 and after working for just three years at the company.

Documents have revealed how if Mr Tierney stayed in his previous job at Dublin City Council, he would not have been entitled to his full pension until he was sixty.

However, as part of the deal he made when he switched jobs to take up a position as managing director at Irish Water, his pension instead had to be made payable as soon as his contract ended.

Because Dublin City Council would not have paid Mr Tierney his pension until he was sixty – Irish Water had to make up the shortfall to cover the extra three years.

The special deal had to be signed off by the Department of Housing and by the Department of Public Expenditure, according to Irish Water:

“At the time of Mr Tierney’s appointment [January 2013] the then Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources [Pat Rabbitte] had responsibility for Ervia, and he approved the contract with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure [Brendan Howlin] and … the Minister for [the] Environment. [Phil Hogan]”

Good times.

Why Irish Water had to put aside €473,000 so former boss John Tierney could get full pension aged 57 (Ken Foxe)



Sarah writes:

Important news for everyone in Ireland who objects to paying for water. Irish Water are paying thousands of pounds per day to EY “management consultants ” from London and also paying for their hotel accommodation in the Shelbourne and Intercontinental hotels in Dublin.



Anthony Sheridan writes

Establishment/Irish Examiner journalist Daniel McConnell tweeted the above comment  in response to the Irish Water debacle in Louth and Meath.

What’s really amazing is the apparent ignorance of journalists like McConnell when it comes understanding the real, underlying reason for the rebellion against water charges.

Journalists such as McConnell are apparently incapable of going beyond the economic collapse of 2008 when analysing the on-going, historic changes in the political landscape.

They appear to be completely unaware that the water charges campaign has little to do with water and everything to do with the dramatic and continuing collapse of the old corrupt political regime made up principally of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the now almost extinct Labour Party.

Since the 1992 election when Dick Spring reneged on his promise to rid Irish politics of the disease of corruption by joining forces with the criminal politician Haughey, the Irish people have been progressively losing faith in, not just the political system, but the State itself.

This undeniable and obvious rejection of the old regime is there to see in election results for all those not wearing establishment blinkers.

Those wearing blinkers such as McConnell appear happy to analyse the political scene under the simplistic and insulting (to citizens) idea that it’s all down to an ignorant people, angry with austerity, being led astray by evil Trotskyists.


Daniel McConnell: Happy to wear establishment blinkers (Anthony Sherida, Public Enquiry)


Yesterday evening.

Drogheda, County Louth.

Residents in East Meath and Louth, including Remi Olukokun (pics1-4) originally from Nigeria using the traditional African method to carry water.

Large parts of counties Meath and Louth have  suffered a water shortage due a burst pipe.

Environment Minister Eoghan Murphy (above) faced questions from residents…

On the issue of communication of information to the people who have been affected, the minister said there has been a question around communication and lessons for the future about how to communicate better.

The minister has pledged to fix the issue as quickly as possible.

He said that he has made it clear the Irish Water needs to replace this particular piece of pipe which is vulnerable.

He said it is a particularly critical piece of infrastructure and the 2.2km stretch of pipeline will be prioritised for repair.

Public criticise Minister on lack of accurate updates on water crisis (RTÉ)