Tag Archives: Irish Water

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This afternoon.

Buswell’s Hotel, Dublin 2

Right2Water’s Brendan Ogle and Sinn Féin’s Jonathan O Brien TD announce plans to have what they have entitled ‘ the Last Push ‘ demonstration on April 8 in Dublin city.

Mr Ogle said:

“The demonstration on April 8th will allow the public to demonstrate that this issue is not an issue of political opportunism but is, and always has been, about vindication of our human Right2Water by paying for our water and sanitation through the exemplary model of progressive taxation.

I would like to reiterate our view that charges should be abolished in their entirety and that water metering, which is an enabler of charges, should also be abolished and the associated funds invested instead in our antiquated and leaking water infrastructure.

Fight!

Right2Water (Facebook)

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Simon Coveney 402_90504141

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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

Rollingnews

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This afternoon.

At a meeting of the Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services.

The committee discussed the matter of ‘public engagement and transparency’ with officials from the Commission for Energy Regulation, Irish Water, and the Public Water Forum.

It also held a vote on whether to hear from representatives of the Right2Water group.

It’s being reported that Fine Gael lost the vote 6-12 with the committee’s other members grouping together to ensure Right2Water representatives could speak next Tuesday.

The six Fine Gael TDs on the committee are: TDs Colm Brophy, Jim Daly, Alan Farrell, Martin Heydon, Kate O’Connell and Senator Paudie Coffey.

Government beaten in vote over future of water services (The Nationalist) 

 

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This afternoon.

A meeting of the joint committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services is taking place.

From the meeting…

Watch live here

Previously: At The Water Committee Meeting

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Michael McNicholas, CEO of Irish Water’s parent company Ervia at a meeting of the Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services

Right now.

The Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services is under way with representatives of the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Irish Water, and the Commission for Energy Regulation in attendance.

The chief executive of Irish Water’s parent company Ervia, Michael McNicholas just gave his opening statement.

Readers may recall how the Irish Mail on Sunday, on November 23, 2104, reported that Mr McNicholas, the former CEO of NTR, had shares worth €1million in NTR, which made €2million a year from Irish Water contracts.

It also reported that NTR owned 50% of Celtic Anglian Water Ltd (CAW) which had contracts with Irish Water for meter installation and waste water worth €4million a year.

Good times.

Watch live here.

Earlier: Stop That

Previously: Murky, Murky, Murky

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The first water meter getting installed in Maynooth, Co Kildare on August 8, 2013

Irish Water should stop installing water meters in homes, the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) has declared, warning that the cost of completion will cripple efforts to improve water quality and supply.

In a submission to an Oireachtas committee which is investigating options, the CER – Ireland’s water regulator – said finishing the programme was not a priority.

So far 58 per cent of households have had meters put in place – the installation efforts have been strongly opposed in some places – but several hundred thousand properties remain to be linked. No money has been put in Irish Water’s 2017/18 capital budget to finish the work.

Meanwhile…

You may recall the publication of the Report on the Funding of Domestic Public Water Services in Ireland by the Expert Commission on Water Charges in November.

Further to this.

Today, at 2pm, the report will be discussed at a meeting of the Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services.

Representatives of the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Irish Water, and the Commission for Energy Regulation will attend the meeting.

Watch the meeting live, from 2pm, here.

Regulator says Irish Water should not proceed with metering (Sarah Bardon, Irish Times)

Previously: Denis O’Brien, Fine Gael And The Water Meter Deal

Rollingnews

UPDATE:

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At the meeting of the Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services…

Paul McGowan, of the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), said it is not calling for the installation of water meters to be abandoned completely.

In response to a series of questions from Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell – in which she queried the CER commenting on water meters and asked why the CER thinks it’s appropriate for the project, which, she said, is 75 per cent finished, to be abandoned…

There was the following exchange:

Paul McGowan: “Specifically, in relation to metering, we were asked the committee a number of questions in relation to metering and that was the basis on which we offered ideas and views in relation to the future of metering, at the committee’s request. So, that was the genesis of those answers.”

Metering is a regulatory matter, I would say. It forms the basis in utility regulation for a large element of charging regimes, right across energy, water and other utilities. We recognise that the first phase of the metering was a decision that was taken by Government and that was [inaudible] so to speak to Irish Water, and to us, as a decision. And future consideration of further roll-out of metering.

“For example, to apartment buildings and those houses, or customers, who haven’t been metered in the first place was always going to be something that we would be looking at, in due course, in the overall cost-benefit, the cost of doing it and what would the benefits be.

“And that ultimately we would have worked with Irish Water to determine what’s the most efficient approach to close out the metering programme. So it is, it is something that a regulator would have a very close interest in.”

Kate O’Connell: “So, would you say, sorry, I probably phrased it incorrectly at the start. What you’re saying is that abandoning, or not abandoning it, stopping it, it’s to do with areas that there’s challenges about the metering, it’s not overall metering?”

McGowan: “Well to come back to that..”

O’Connell: “Yeah, I need you to clarify your statement essentially.”

McGowan:To be very clear, we did not say that we should abandon…”

O’Connell: “Right, okay.”

McGowan: “To be absolutely clear. What we said was that, at this time, to proceed with another major programme of metering investment, given that the, as we see it, the proposal from the expert commission, was that the vast majority of water should be paid by the State and that only excessive use charged to customers. In that context, we said that, at this time, there are other priorities for capital investment but that we can come back and look at whether there was a case for further metering in due course.”

“But in the meantime, there were other options that could be looked at. And that was the context within which we replied to the committee. We did not boldly state that metering should be abandoned. We just said, at this time…”

O’Connell: “Park it.”

McGowan: “Yes…”

Watch the meeting live here

UPDATE:

Speaking about costs…

Mr McGowan said:

Irish Water, at this stage of its evolution, is a high-cost utility. We would expect that because it has inherited 34 different water authorities but our analysis would indicate that they’re up to twice the cost of an efficient utility so what we will be doing over this revenue control, and the following revenue controls, is ensuring that they deliver the efficiencies to get down to the level of efficient operation, a level of cost of an efficient operation.”

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From top: Brendan Howlin; from left Former Irish Water head of PR Elizabeth Arnett, Labour TD and former Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly and Pat Tierney, CEO of Irish Water in December 2014

It’s all free water under the bridge.

“We were under the cosh to build a huge utility like Irish Water. To get a national metering programme in place and charge for water in the space of three years, which we just should have said no to. I’m sorry we didn’t.

“Within Government, we certainly had that battle with Fine Gael. At a critical point, the decision we made was to stick with it as opposed to pulling down the Government at that stage.

Because we were afraid of the consequences for our country if we pulled the Government down. But we paid too high a price for that and we should certainly have stood our ground in relation to Irish Water.

“This was one of the things we had to make progress on. Because they were signing off monthly on the paycheck for the nation, in order for us to pay pensions and pay the cost of wages and so on.

“Under normal circumstances, that should have been a ten year project. I certainly think it was handled badly.”

Brendan Howlin, Labour Party Leader in today’s Irish Mirror

Irish Water is Labour’s “biggest regret” while in Government says party leader Brendan Howlin (James Ward, The Irish Mirror)

Lest we forget…

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin has said that there cannot be a situation where people decide to not pay their water bill.

It follows on from Environment Minister Alan Kelly’s comments on Monday night, in which he refused to rule out measures that could mean unpaid charges are recouped from peoples’ wages and social welfare payments.

Outside the Dáil fellow Labour politician, Minister Brendan Howlin told UTV Ireland

There can’t be a situation where anyone of us decide not to pay our bills. If you come to a supermarket checkout and decide “Nah, I’m not paying the bill” and walk off – that’s just not the way the system works.”

Minister Howlin: People cannot decide to not pay water bill (UTV March 24, 2015)

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