‘There’s No Clarity On That Right At This Moment’

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90368110Senator Lorraine Higgins at Labour’s 2013 think-in

This morning.

Fear-rattling Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins spoke to Gavin Jennings on RTÉ R1’s Morning Ireland about tonight’s midnight deadline for people to register with Irish Water.

Deadline?

Schmeadline.

Lorraine Higgins: “Everybody will receive a bill, notwithstanding whether they’ register or not, in April. And I do believe…”

Gavin Jennings: “Sorry, I’m confused. What allowances will you not get if you don’t register by today.”

Higgins: “Well there are certain allowances for children that have to be taken into account and if you don’t register by today, by midnight tonight…”

Jennings: “What allowances?”

Higgins: “Well there are certain allowances Gavin, right across the board, for children, in terms of capacity, the number of litres that you get on an annual basis and I would urge your listeners…”

Jennings: “I thought you were being billed irrespective of how much you use, isn’t that right? I thought it was dependent how many people were in the house.”

Higgins: “That’s correct.”

Jennings: “We’ve constantly been told that it’s a simple matter of, you can reiterate if you want, of how much you pay for one person, how much you pay for more than one person. So, what don’t you get if you don’t register by today?”

Higgins: “That’s correct. It’s costing €3 per week and it’s very important to ensure the quality of our water in the future and I know from dealing with people in clinics, Gavin, that you know they don’t have the same degree of difficulty as they had prior to this new range of measures that was brought in by the Government..”

Jennings: “Sorry, just to be clear, sorry, today’s deadline, again. If people don’t register, and plenty haven’t, what don’t they get if don’t register by today?”

Higgins: “Well, you know the department of the environment has come out very clearly and said that there may be a situation where there’d be added cost on to the price of paying for water for this year.”

Jennings: “What added cost?”

Higgins: “That hasn’t been clarified yet and I await to find out what that will be. There will probably be a lot of discussion over the course of the coming week in relation to it.”

Jennings: “So, just to be clear, if you don’t register by today, what happens?”

Higgins: “If you don’t register by today, there will be, there will be a situation where you’ll be given optimal time to actually register, right up…”

Jennings: “So you’ll be given more time, yes?”

Higgins: “It seems to but to be clear, the minister has always stated from the outset and indeed even last week, that the second of February [today] was not a dropdead deadline.”

Jennings: “So, if I’m not sure if I want to register to pay for Irish Water, you’re going to give me more, I’m going to be given more time, I don’t have to do it today, is that right?”

Higgins: “Well it’s very important for people to register today…”

Jennings: “But I don’t have to do it today. I’m not really going to face any problems if I don’t do it today, is that right?”

Higgins: “Well the situation is, and as I said, a release from the department with regard to possible penalties and that needs to be borne in mind.”

Jennings: “What possible penalties?”

Higgins: “There’s no clarity on that, right at this moment, Gavin.”

Jennings: “OK.”

Higgins: “But I wouldn’t be advocating that people break the law like Mary Lou (McDonald, Sinn Féin TD who earlier declared her intention to not pay) seems to be doing. I think it’s interesting, her position, given…:

Jennings: “She’s talking about not paying, we were talking there about not registering. If I don’t pay and I know this is a hypothetical matter because the bills won’t arrive until April. If I don’t pay, what will happen to me?”

Higgins: “Well there’s a situation where there’ll be an exchange of information from the Revenue. We expect that there’ll be legislation brought in over the course of this month where it’ll be possible to put a charge on property. It’ll also be possible for landlords to bill their tenants and take it out of their deposits.

Jennings: “Not yet though, no?”

Higgins: “Well this is something that’s going to be looked out over the course of this month and we hope to have legislation in place before the end of February.”

Jennings: “So, at the moment, if I decide I’m not going to pay, you don’t know what’s going to happen to me yet, is that right?”

Higgins: “Well that’s the position right now but as soon as the legislation is prepared and brought before the Houses of the Oireachtas, it will be expected that there will be a charge put on people’s properties and landlords will be permitted to take the cost of water out of a tenant’s deposit.”

Jennings: “How much of a charge do you think should be put on people’s property if they don’t pay?”

Higgins: “I can’t say that, Gavin and I’m not going to speculate on that.”

Jennings: “But you’re one of the…you’re a member of a party who’ll be legislating for it, what’s your opinion?”

Higgins: “Well I haven’t given it significant thought but I would urge people that’s important not to break the law, I wouldn’t be throwing it around, the populist line that Sinn Féin currently are, you can see how Mary Lou stuttered and stammered over the issue about how she was going to pay for water and how the Government would pay for water in terms of taxation.”

Jennings: “You can’t tell me what would happen if I don’t pay for water.”

Higgins: “Well these are decisions that’ll be made by the Government, Gavin.”

Jennings: “But they haven’t been made yet. There’s a deadline in place for today to register. The bills are going to arrive in April and we still don’t know what’s going to happen if people don’t pay.”

Higgins: “Well I’ve made it very, very clear that there will be a charge put on property and landlords will be permitted to take the price of Irish Water out of deposits.”

Jennings: “Senator Higgins, a large number of people haven’t registered today, thousands of people have protested on the streets and are continuing to do so, there’s no grant in place yet, the amount of income that Irish Water is going to get as a result of people paying bills has already been lowered. There’s no guarantee of passing the Eurostat test, no clarity on what landlords are expected to do, if their tenants don’t pay. What part of this plan has been a success so far?”

Higgins: “First and foremost, I don’t share your view Gavin when it comes to the numbers that have registered. There’s almost 1.1million that have responded – that’s 60% of where it needs to be. And there’s quite a large number…”

Jennings: “There’s a million people who haven’t.”

Higgins: “But look I mean, as I said, the second of February, isn’t a dropdead deadline, you know..”

Jennings: “The first deadline was last year, a million people still haven’t registered.”

Higgins: “Mistakes were made last year, there’s no question of that, we’ve held our hands up to that but all you’ve to do is look at the protests over the weekend, you know, the numbers were significantly down.”

Jennings: “What part of the policy, so far, has been a success?”

Higgins: “Look we’ve had difficulties, any time you’re trying to set up a new utility, it’s going to present some degree of difficulty. And I think you will acknowledge that.”

Jennings: “But has there been any success yet?”

Higgins: “Of course there’s been success. You can see the silent majority that have paid, or have registered rather, to pay the water charge, at 1.1million as it stands.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: Taking The PPS

Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

103 thoughts on “‘There’s No Clarity On That Right At This Moment’

  1. JimmytheHead

    Person with invested interest in Irish Water tries to convince public to register with Irish Water before the “discount” expires…. Pathetic. I hope her and all the I.W. crew are outed for the selfish vultures they are once all this nonsense stops.

    1. Drogg

      Higgins really is a dope. If i was a member of her party i would ban her from speaking publicly for the party cause all that comes out her mouth is nonsense.

      1. Gone North

        Bizarre that she’s still being sent out to bat for Labour following so many meltdowns in the last few months.

    2. dtephen

      This Higgins woman really is a stupid person oh my God just like end a and his government going to run us all into the ground and it has to stop people before it’s to late

  2. Soundings

    “Well there’s a situation where there’ll be an exchange of information from the Revenue. ”

    WTF!

    1. Zuppy International

      “Well I’ve made it very, very clear that there will be a charge put on property and landlords will be permitted to take the price of Irish Water out of deposits.”

      So Alan Kelly’s concessions were actually a distraction. Labour will now seek to punish people for claiming their right to life and denying Denis O’Brien another windfall profit.

  3. Clampers Outside!

    Once again, reading that, I was laughing at the incompetence of this muppet who is on talking about a subject which she herself says “I haven’t given it significant thought”….

    The only thing she achieved here was to make a complete fool of herself.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      …and she’s an Inda ‘appointee’ to the Seanad …she represents no one.

      Up there with Fidelma Healy Eames in the ‘WTF Is That Person Doing On The Radio’ category of politician.

    2. scottser

      it’s like the sheet of paper they’re given titled ‘this is what you must say about irish water’ has no bearing on the questions they’re being asked.
      bless..

        1. Nicelives

          Only got 4.94% of the vote in the Euro’s too beaten comprehensively by Ronan Mullen, it’s profoundly undemocratic to have her make a decision on any of us

          1. Soundings

            After Colm Keaveney’s defection to FF in the Galway East constituency, she possibly harbours hopes of election in 2016.

            Colm won 7% of the vote in 2011 and was elected on a Labour ticket. Lorraine won 6% of the vote in the same election and didn’t make it.

            We can but cross our fingers that she disappears from Irish public life in 2016.

        2. huppenstop

          In fact, she failed repeatedly in a single year. Failed to get elected to the Dáil, then failed to get elected to the Seanad via one of the vocational panels during the same election period. After which she was simply appointed to the Seanad by Enda. This is the main reason why I don’t like this person, as I don’t think she has any respect for the democratic will of the people. Also, she is pretty dim.

    1. Joe the Lion

      It’s a far bigger scandal than the water charge – the fact that public funds are supporting this limited form of plant life

    2. bobsyerauntie

      ahh I see..

      I knew she was a senator, but just presumed that she was an elected TD before that.
      It makes sense now.
      Her contempt for the general public is always pulsating through whatever medium she spews her nonsense through.. and she has a horrendous attitude…
      She’s extremely unlikeable..
      or as my mother used to say..
      “She’s just not a very nice person”…

  4. ollie

    Are you sure that her interview wasn’t a gift grub sketch? seriously, if you haven’t listened to it you should. it’s priceless, definitely one of the funniest pieces of radio ever broadcast.

  5. Dubloony

    Would it kill someone in government circles to provide these idiots with speaking points so that there is at least consistency in their answers. It’s not that bloody hard.

    If you register with IW, you get correct billing and water conservation grant. €60 for single adult household (including any children), €160 for adult couple household (including children).

    If you don’t register, the assumption is that you are a couple headed household and will be billed for €260, as the water conservation grant will not be available to you.

    If you do not pay, your bill will be added to the one next year and arrears will build up.
    Your water will not be cut off. (unlike electricity and gas which are cut off if you do not pay)

    1. Soundings

      Yes, but if you don’t register by when?

      If I don’t register, and I receive a bill for €260 in April, I am minded to sit on that bill and not pay it until 2016, and depending on the lie of the land at that stage, and if water charges still exist (I think they’ll be quietly abandoned like the broadcast charge) then I may pay, but pay €60 for a single-person household or €160 for others. If they try to collect more than I offer to pay, then, and only then, I may register.

      But it’s all moot anyway, IW is a dead duck and has only managed to get less than 30% of households to register (that’s assuming the 800,000 odd households registered include 400,000 who are on group schemes or have own septic tanks and won’t need pay IW, so just 400,000 out of the 1.3m that will need pay IW have registered, and I’d love to know how many of the 400,000 that have registered have the surname “Duck” or “Mouse”! It’s probably closer to 20% of those required to pay who have actually registered and that’s after two deadlines.)

      1. Dubloony

        I don’t think that they will be dropped.
        Too much has been invested in IW already. The water infrastructure really does need work. I’d really would like the debate to move to discussing what the alternative plans are for that.

        There’s over 1,000 small treatment plants all over the place, location based on country boundaries rather than where the water is or is needed.
        The property charge is now fully in place after protests, this one isn’t going away.
        Bills will just quietly pile up over time.

        1. Joe the Lion

          What got less press is the fact she admitted today there is new legislation being prepared to formally enable the application of unpaid water bills to the property and to allow landlords to bill unpaid water charges to tenants. That’s what she said. Surprised Bodger did not highlight this.
          When folks realise this is for real I predict bedlam on the streets (for once).

          1. Soundings

            + 1

            That, and the sharing of info with the Revenue Commissioners. This isn’t a utility company any more, it’s a government department.

        2. PhilJo

          The Property tax can be collected by revenue because it is not an attempt to set up a vehicle for the privatisation of our water. Personally if a water tax is introduced I’ll pay it but you can go hang if you think I’m chipping in for setting up Bechtel’s next investment.

  6. More_Bemuda_Than_Berlin

    She was on with Matt Cooper too last week, up against Paul Murphy, and the protestors against the President.

    I was surprised someone so incoherent was actually allowed toe the Govt line in public – have they not got enough spin-masters, thought I.

  7. ahjayzis

    I really took almost an instant dislike to Higgins.

    Her arrogance, smarm and aura of entitlement have no place coming from a ‘politician’ who, at every single opportunity, the electorate have declined to elect. I mean she’s lost quite a few elections for a fairly young woman.

    I really think it’s becoming of appointed, non-elected, non-supported, unpopular parliamentarians to maybe tone down the condescension.

  8. bobsyerauntie

    It’s an absolute disgrace that people like Lorraine Higgins think there is nothing wrong with shoving an austerity tax down people’s throats and in turn insinuating that a landlord will possibly have a right (by law) to take this charge out of tenant’s deposits. Does she not see how fascist she sounds? Does she not care that she might scare old people living alone in bedsits, vulnerable on state pensions? No, clearly she doesn’t give a F*ck about the vulnerable in Irish society. Also, Higgins has a brass neck to talk about democracy. Her political position was appointed (by Enda Kenny) therefore she is an unelected representative of the people, she represents Enda Kenny and Fine Gael, not the people of Ireland. I am absolutely ashamed to have people like Higgins think that they represent me, does she know nothing of Irish history? of the oppressive taxes and laws during the colonial era? I imagine that Lorraine Higgins would be the first to collaborate with an invading imperial power agsinst her own people, if she did live in those times. Irish Water is an austerity tax, and Lorraine Higgins and politicians of her ilk do not represent the Irish people… so bloody sick of these sociopaths running the show… get them out!

    1. DD

      Looking on the bright side, the arrogant fool is more damaging to the grovelment than its enemies could ever hope to be.

      1. bobsyerauntie

        Indeed..

        but I can’t help thinking isn’t it darkly ironic that a German led- EU dictates austerity polices to Ireland and a supposedly left-wing Irish senator gleefully imposes them as if she was jostling for a position in the next Reich?…

        Something very unsettling about the whole thing..
        Lucky I haven’t had my breakfast yet..

  9. Clampers Outside!

    You know what… i’m fuppin’ pissed off with complete and utter idiots like this being shoved onto the airwaves to talk nonsense.
    It’s offensive that our government treats the public with such contempt and expect us to listen to a complete and utter moron like herself.

    1. Drogg

      Where was someone of the opposing view to bring balance to the interview? Someone ring the BAI quickly.

  10. Soundings

    I see BS has edited the title of this a couple of times, and the landlord angle is certainly noteworthy, but the Senator also stated “Well there’s a situation where there’ll be an exchange of information from the Revenue.”

    If that is the case, there’s no need for registration. The Revenue know who’s in every household in the State, what age they are, and everything else needed for IW’s bloody registration form.

    Also, there’s no risk for non-payment (as with the property charge) because the Revenue can provide the details to enable a charge on wages and social welfare payments.

    Looks like the government has studied the property charge debacle and how that only came under control when it was passed to the Revenue. Looks like this is what is now happening with the water charge.

    1. Original Cynic

      Ahhhh the threats are starting …..

      They cannot do the above and sell it on, which is their ultimate aim! Expensive consultants will have pointed this out to them.

  11. bobsyerauntie

    That’s what I said ‘Landlords minion’! ..
    She is a minion of the Fine Gael/Troika Austerity agenda..
    Glad she didn’t get those cheap apartments off NAMA..
    Imagine having her as a landlord?..

  12. bewilderedspectator

    This is hilarious..
    This is not a tax..it is a charge so they cannot pass the buck onto Revenue or to Landlords to collect.
    Can Vodafone do that?.. of course not..
    If you haven’t signed your valuable signature on the end of that piece of paper..you haven’t contracted with them so they have absolutely no right to “punish” you…& if they just conjure up a new legislation to allow them steal it from your washes or dole or pension like the property tax well then you must accept that democracy no longer exists and we are being sold out by a cowardly fascist regime.
    Higgins is great to have on their team..she does more damage to them than any citizen movement.

    1. Joe the Lion

      The Specious Branch warned Bodger that Broadsheet servers were infected by sinister fringe elements

  13. David Carroll

    Heres an interesting fact about “senator” Higgins – how many times has she won an election of any description (local, national, European etc)? That’s right folks – not once! Every single time she has run for a political position, the electorate have flatly rejected her. But thanks to our dear leader, she managed to weasel her way into the Seanad. So she is able to represent your interests and make decisions that affect your life! Still think you live in a democracy?

  14. Thomas Clarke

    What a lode of horse poo. Sen Higgins is a complete waffler and has no idea of the facts! She is a total embarrassment and shows up the politician bankrupt system for what it really is ( Jobs for the “insiders” and members of the elite club) We can do better for Ireland ! Stand firm and refuse to pay Irish water! My God we are really in the poohouse if this is an example of the complete idiots we have running the country!

    1. bobsyerauntie

      @Thomas

      Couldn’t agree more, not only does Higgins make me ashamed to be Irish but she also makes me embarrassed… I’d cringe if she was an elected representative coming out with such utter gibberish but considering she is an unelected senator, you’d have to wonder how do these people get to slither their way into powerful positions, quite disturbing really…

      I thought for a long time that she was the typical ‘Fine Gael’ right winger with her contempt for the poor and the working class when I saw her on Vincent Browne a few years ago, and I was horrified by her entitled attitude- but upon discovering she was in fact- a Labour politician, I realized that things were much much worse…

      We would be better off just sinking the whole island to the bottom of the Atlantic at this stage, if this is the best we can come up with to represent us..

      She’s the Irish Sarah Palin..

  15. phil

    1,000,000 people haven’t signed up and hopefully will never sign up. Try take the money from 1m people, i dare ya government.
    We paid for this poor water system through ridiculously high taxes over the years and what have we got in return. Fluoride and other chemical laden water that pet dogs don’t even like, they even prefer drinking from the puddles out the back, that should show people that the water we drink is NOT fit for our consumption.

    Also a private company profiteering over us drinking a daily need, that falls from the sky is very Fascist, USA style Capitalism going on

    1. Soundings

      No, 840,000 households haven’t signed up. There’s an average of 2.7 people in each Irish household so it’s well over 2m people who haven’t signed up. And of those that have, it’s likely many won’t have to pay because they have local water schemes and septic tanks. And I’m fairly sure all the Mouse and Duck households which have registered won’t be paying up either!

      IW, as an enterprise will probably survive but water charges? Dead in the water.

    2. Drogg

      Phil you where doing good there and then you turned the crazy to 11 with your anti fluoridation crap, if your dog won’t drink the water out of the tap it is more likely that your dog is fussy or your in an area that the water has cryptosporidium in it then anything to do with fluoride.

  16. Banotti

    You’re a sad bunch obsessing over this non issue. It’s a measly charge that is normal the world over.

    1. Zuppy International

      You’re right, it is a non-issue because the people have spoken and said no to this unlawful revenue gathering exercise. The only one bleating on about it are Sinister Kelly and his idiot minions with their ever changing deadlines and the shills like you who belittle the proud and noble people who stand within their rights to tell the Oireachtas to PFO.

      Water is already paid for. If it wasn’t it wouldn’t be coming out your taps in the morning.

      They collect €1.2 billion a year to pay for it. Where has that money gone? I want to see the receipts. Until you can prove that this money is being spent wisely and prudently then you you have no right to ask for more.

          1. Will-billy

            I’m going to piss and shit in your water Zuppy and you know you’re going to lap it up and beg for more

          2. Zuppy International

            And now you’re issuing threats? You’re a fantastic example of the state propaganda machine.

        1. Will-billy

          And you dare to speak of maturity while going by the name of a stuffed glove puppet? Unless there is some ironic subtext there that I don’t ‘get’.

  17. Some User

    It was a farcical segment of radio, preceded by more idiocy wherein Mary Lou McDonald could not provide any answer to the simple question of where the money would come from to pay for water services.

  18. Inooways

    thoroughly misguided politician, of a thoroughly misguided party
    out with the pro-austerity lot next GE!

Comments are closed.