My Letter Keeps Coming Back



Talbot Street, Dublin this morning.

Mark writes:

“The We Won’t Pay campaign returned to Irish Water with a wheelie bin of water packs which were collected at demonstrations at the weekend, and set up a stall outside their head office giving out ‘charge free’ water….”

From top: Returned Irish Water mail; (from right): Anti Austerity Alliance candidate for Dublin South, Paul Murphy, Bernadette Rynne and Frank Donaghy; Catherine O’Neill and a ‘charge free’ cup of water.

(Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland)

Earlier: Meterocracy Mouthpiece



Worried couple is worried.

Rob writes:

“The Indo ratcheting up the fear. Who needs a government press office?”

Register with Irish Water – or face crippling bill of €424(Aideen Sheehan,


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91 thoughts on “My Letter Keeps Coming Back

    1. anomanomanom

      It can not be turned. Why does no body check these things out. It states clearly on the Irish Water site that they.can not cut you off.

      1. Loadameballs

        Wasn’t it they can reduce your water pressure to a trickle? So while they are not turning the water off, they make it extremely difficult for day to day use.

          1. Don Pidgeoni

            Sure, best not even try right? Best just give out online and then put up with it like always.


          2. Just sayin'

            I’m pretty sure the European Court of Human Rights is primarily aimed at people denied their rights through torture, oppression, state persecution, etc. and not for someone who doesn’t want to pay a utility bill.

      2. figleaf

        If they can reduce water to a trickle like they did when the reservoirs ran dry and burst water pipes were losing loads of water – then they do have means to cut your water supply. In our house the trickle meant no water at all.

    2. Anne

      There will be some people – I would take it quite a few who just can’t afford it.
      What will they do? They could always start carrying buckets on their heads I suppose some in African do.

      This piece in the Indo sums up why we have this charge in the first place pretty accurately to me:

      “Bankers, speculators and politicians collapsed the exchequer revenue model – to use the jargon. Just to complicate things, the politicians funded a gift of – at a conservative estimate – €64bn to gamblers. Some of them in Ireland, more in the UK, France, Germany and the USA, to compensate the poor dears for their bad investment choices.Since then, there’s been a constant stream of “taxes” and “levies” and “charges” and increases of various kinds, to plug the hole the gamblers kicked in the economy “

      1. Happy Molloy

        we borrow a billion a month to run the country, most going to our generous welfare state which I am grateful for.
        regardless of any bailout we need to spend less, a very good way of doing this is to stop paying for water through general taxation. we were almost unique in doing this.

      1. Zuppy International

        Really? So anyone can claim a contract with you without your consent?

        In that case Jack Aranda you owe me €1 million for replying to your comment.

        1. Bobby

          Can you show that it has legal standing? Because there’s going to be a lot of people losing in court if you’re wrong.

        2. Medium Sized C

          No, but our public representatives can.
          Given we gave them a mandate to consent to things like this for us.

    1. Mr. T.

      Well actually yes it does. You cannot be charged for something which you did not consent to purchase or be charged for.

      1. Paval

        Indeeed. Nothing is stopping you collecting and treating your own water supply from today. But if you continue to use the public water your are implying your consent.

      2. Happy Molloy

        but accepting a product is implied consent and is the actual acceptance towards the contract.

        seriously, you can’t just extract a line from a legal textbook and assume it is completely definitive

  1. Drogg

    From reading the breakdown of what water charges will cost you (sorry broadsheet) i think i will be paying at least €424 anyway.

    1. scottser

      well you may be charged 424 merkels. what you pay is your business – unless you choose to ‘do a johnny’ on it and spend an hour in the joy for non-payment.

      1. Action Man

        Do Irish Water not have to prove that you are a customer of theirs before you are imprisoned? Without the relevant agreement in place, i.e signed contract by both parties, is it not a futile endeavour? Only asking. Where’s legal coffee drinker when you need him/her?

        1. Happy Molloy

          I’m selling apples at the side of the road. you pick one up and eat it. do you owe me money?

          1. Happy Molloy

            fine, but then you should contribute to the maintenance of the Orchard like the rest. of us

          2. Action Man

            Not necessarily, a quick scan of the S.I seems to show that Irish Water is a private company set up to facilitate water metering and billing. Your water is still being provided by the usual water authorities that have always provided it so by continuing to use it you are not necessarily agreeing to be billed by this third party. LCD where are you?

          3. figleaf

            You can take the money, as you said you would, from the €10,000 taxes I pay you each year?
            That should cover your apple.

        2. scottser

          this is it action man. who’s to say you don’t whizz in a bucket and throw it down the shore? or fill up a 5 litre bottle from work, or shower in the gym? this is going to make for some very interesting legal challenges down the road.

          1. Drogg

            Does anyone know is the bill going to be annual or monthly or what? and if so what month will the annual bill be paid?

          2. Ahjayzis

            Quarterly, first bills in January for the three months from now ’til then, as I understand it. But the January bill won’t start accumulating until your meter is read in the next few weeks and the ball starts rolling ’til it’s read again in 3 months. So mid-late Jan I guess.

          3. Drogg

            But there is no water meters installed in my area yet and like they couldn’t pick a worse month to start it like seriously who has an extra hundred euros in january?

      2. Tom Stewart

        Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but non-payment of a bill is not a crime (it is an issue between you and the supplier). You would be referred to a commercial court (not a criminal court) that does not have the power to imprison you.

  2. Gal_Girl

    This is ridiculous – we have always paid for our water in Galway.

    We are no longer getting any/much money from Europe to upgrade our infrastructure…where do people think we will get the money to cover the cost of treating water, upgrading of all the leaky pipes and treating all the foul water.

    These are all services that we should pay for like ESB, Gas etc.

      1. Paolo

        And now it will be pay by use. I don’t have to fund the feckers wasting water and I can have a say over how much I actually pay.

        1. Tom Stewart

          “Now it will be paid by use”

          So in your world you will see a happy reduction in your taxes?

          To be precise: “now it will be paid for twice: firstly by taxes, and then again by use”

  3. Rob_G

    “The Indo ratcheting up the fear. Who needs a government press office?”

    – or The Indo reporting relevant and pertinent news, maybe? Would it better if all the newspapers pretended that water charges weren’t happening?

      1. Rob_G

        If it was only DOB’s media outlets that were talking about water charges you would have a point, but I think most people would concede that it is one of the more newsworthy issues of the moment.

        1. scottser

          my point is that it’s really only INM who are engaging in such blatant scare tactics. RTE last night had a more subtle approach, parading a very nice man involved in water harvesting explaining that harvested water is 3 times the price of irish water. at least RTE give you a reach around..

  4. Medium Sized C

    I’m wondering how it is that Rob feels the Indo should tell this story.

    Should there be pictures of children playing joyously in fields to colour a story about the risk associated with not registering?

    In case there are still people who haven’t noticed, today is the day when people in the republic start being directly charged for the water they consume. It is pretty much THE issue of the day.
    There are very few issues that are more important today.

    The potential costs and potential penalties associated with water charges are the NEWS.
    If the Independant ignored it the penalties would still be the penalties, if RTE didn’t cover the cost structure the cost structure would still be the cost structure.

    I know that we live in an increasingly detached world where shite telly and the internet are acting as a proxy for real experience, but people must surely be aware that this thing is a thing regardless of media coverage.

  5. Wayne Carr

    All these people moaning about people complaining, you’re damn right. Why don’t people just sit down and accept that they can’t make a difference. You, as an individual, aren’t important. So stop arrogantly believing you are. Paul Murphy is just looking for a story to tell his pinko mates in the B*rn*rd Sh*w on a Friday night.

  6. Spaghetti Hoop

    Got my pack (finally) yesterday – indeed, a day before charges come into effect. Stinks of disorganisation.
    Don’t like this ‘guessing’ of water consumption for 9 months one bit.
    I also learn that billing will not include VAT…if they say this is a ‘utility bill’, why then do we pay VAT for the leccy and the gas?

    1. andyourpointiswhatexactly

      Well, you don’t have to return it til the end of the month so you’ve plenty of time to fill it out. I only saw the Irish side ot the letter and it took me ages to remember what Deireadh Fomhair meant.

    2. Action Man

      I don’t like the assumption that the waste water collected is the same as the volume of water supplied. Nonsense. Water absorption? Evaporation?

        1. Action Man

          Exactly, you hang out a wash and about 5litres evaporates and goes no where near the public sewage system.

          1. Action Man

            The charges state that consumption is 2.44/1000L and if you benefit from being connected to a public drain there’s an additional charge of 2.44/1000L to have it taken away, making it 4.88/1000L.
            As they are not measuring the volume of waste water you put down the drain, on their website I.W make a scandalous assumption which states ‘The volume of water supplied is assumed to be equal to the volume of waste water removed’
            This is clearly not so when not all water used by households ends up in the waste water system, so many people will be paying to have waste water taken away that wasn’t taken away.

          2. ReproBertie

            What about the water you take into your house via beer, wine, fruit juices, milk, etc? That’s waste water that needs rid of but wasn’t sourced from the tap in the house.

            The simplest solution is to work on the basis that water in = water out.

      1. anomanomanom

        Don’t be so smart Mr T. Running around shooting your mouth, when ya fall and break your legs, don’t come running crying to me.

  7. sqoid

    I think it’s a bastardisation of you can’t have a contract without consideration.
    i.e. you can’t have a contract unless both parties gain something

    In this case the customer’s “consideration” is the water amd waste water services
    Irish Water’s is the money you pay

    So by availing of the water and using the public drains you have recieved your consideration.

  8. Starina

    legal coffee drinker, where are you? we havent received our packet yet and i’ve heard that they cant do anything if you dont have a contract – including turning your water down or off (it’s in irish legislation; they can only “trickle” water at commercial buildings). i’m tempted to just wait and see what happens if we quietly ignore the whole thing. they’d surely send me a big ol pink letter before taking ua to actual court. but what are the charges? what IS the legality of this contract?

    1. IDB

      And if I say there are ten people living in my house, an I get 10 people’s allowances? Or will they come around to count us?

      1. ReproBertie

        You’ll have to supply 10 PPS numbers to get 10 people’s allowances. No PPS number = no allowance.

  9. scottser

    so, say for example i opt to pay the flat rate at a higher charge, does that mean i get as much water as i want for that set fee? and if so, what’s to stop me from supplying that water to anyone else, for example others on my road, free of charge or in return for other goods and services?

    1. Bejayziz

      I was think this too, theoretically could you not re route one houses water into multiple houses and share the bill, not a difficult process for a plumber id imagine

  10. Ray Luna

    Socialist politicians told people not to pay bin charges, said people got burned with big bills with no help from socialist politicians.

    Socialist politicians told people not to pay property taxes, said people got burned with big bills with no help from socialist politicians.

    Socialist politicians tell people not to pay water charges, said people will get burned with big bills and…?

  11. Moocher

    “Yeah its Paul Murphy here, yeah I didnt get elected to Europe the first time, or the second time.

    Well now I’m running in Dublin South West, so I’m REALLY hoping this water thing works out for me so I’ll finally get an ACTUAL mandate from the people…


  12. Ahjayzis

    My two flatmates and I pay about 400 pounds to Thames Water per year in London, so I’m not ideologically opposed or anything.

    But it’d really boil my piss to give a cent to Irish Water. From start to finish it’s been a stitched up insult to citizens of this state, and it reeks of the same thing government departments are doing, turning the citizen of the state into a customer of the state. It’s really not a subtle distinction.

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      It pains me to give them a cent too. I support water conservation so I’m not against water-charging per se, but the way this has been managed and rolled-out is a joke.

      1. Norbet Cooper

        Fine now were paying for utilities that used to be part of our general income tax, Now we should as Customers of the state question and demand a receipt of where and what is the rest of our absorbent income tax going on?

    2. Original Cynical

      That’s £133 each p.a. which covers unlimited water in + water out. Water wasn’t metered when I lived in London – is that still the case? We will be “given free” the chance to have a quick shower, sh1t and shave before paying through the nose!

  13. Insertus

    I registered online yesterday and a small part of me died in the process. No way can I afford not getting the free allowance (2 person household, one with care needs). I don’t want them to hit me in the pocket but I am very much hoping I’ll get the chance to hit someone, sometime, from Irish water in the face with a rather large water balloon.

  14. Terapin

    They’ve got charitys in Africa that are collecting €2 a month to help people in Ireland that will have to walk miles to find a well with fresh clean drinking water.

    For the people that have already given up lifes ‘Luxurys’ like.. TV and broadband subscriptions, struggling to pay a mortgage that they’re already in arrears with.. property tax, bin charges, the extortionate cost of living in ireland.. this is simply, a kick in the teeth. They are normal people, like a lot of us here just trying to survive, day to day..

    Are we all blind to the fact that people are in need of help?
    Poverty and suicide are going to be on the up, not because of the water charges, but because of a combinination of all these charges/taxes and the arrears hanging over peoples heads.

    What’s Ireland without it’s people?
    Help Irish people survive.

    1. scottser

      ya see, when they have water charges in line with the cost of petrol, then they roll out the car that runs on water.

  15. noncanonicalpokemon

    the extra allowance for certain medical conditions is granted based on an honour system.

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