‘We Make Our Money On Our Reputation’

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Elizabeth Arnett, the current spokesperson for Irish Water and former spokesperson for RPS Consulting Engineering 

On RTÉ Radio One’s This Week programme yesterday, journalist John Burke reported that, after five years and €2.2million in legal fees paid by Dublin City Council, the council has dropped its Supreme Court appeal against a High Court judgement made by Mr Justice Liam McKechnie in 2010.

In his judgement, Judge McKechnie found RPS Consulting Engineering – which had been hired by Dublin City Council to carry out a review of Dublin’s waste policy – had altered official data and waste reports to suit Dublin City Council’s agenda.

He also heavily criticised the then assistant city manager Matt Twomey.

In his ruling, Judge McKechnie said:

“In the course of the hearing, a number of draft reports, prepared by RPS and Dr Francis O’Toole were handed up to the court which contained comments written by the respondents indicating which parts of earlier drafts were acceptable to them and either deleting or rewording those parts which would not have supported their position. Whether or not the city managers were aware of this fact is, in my opinion, immaterial. Mr Twomey certainly was. Such massaging of reports which were later, in their edited versions, released publicly is a strong indicator to me of unacceptable influence in a process supposedly carried out in the public interest. Some view must have been formed in order for the process to start. However, in my opinion, the actions of the respondents in this case, and particularly Mr Twomey, go far beyond this. The indicator rigidity of mind so that from the start there could have been no other outcome. This is particularly serious, notwithstanding any subsequent public consultation. It is clear that such consultation not only did not have, but could not have had any affect on the outcome of the the variation process. It was a given from the start.”

On yesterday’s programme, Mr Burke played a clip from RPS’s then spokesperson, Elizabeth Arnett – the current Head of Communications and Corporate Service at Irish Water – after the ruling was made.

She told RTÉ’s Prime Time:

“RPS were certainly not massaging the figures and I want to categorically refute that. In producing a final report, you produce drafts and you edit and you consult with your client, to make sure you get the right result, that is the way we produce reports. That you get a report, that the figures can stand up. The Environmental Protection Agency can approve, the EPA can approve and all of the statue bodies can approve…We stand over all of the reports. We would never change fact and we would never change our opinion. We might reword, we might delete, we might sharpen up text, to edit it. We would never change fact and we would never change opinion. We make our money on our reputation to be able to provide facts and to provide opinion. I think the entire judgement is wrong.”

Readers will recall that, in November 2013, it emerged Dublin City Council had paid more than €30 million to RPS for its services over the previous ten years in relation to the Poolbeg incinerator, even though the council’s contract with RPS was originally estimated at €8.3million.

The European Commission eventually found that the contract did not conform with EU law.

Readers may also wish to recall that Jerry Grant, a former managing director of RPS from 2002 until 2012, is now Irish Water’s head of asset management.

There you go now.

Listen back in full here

Council drops appeal against Poolbeg incinerator judgment (Irish Times)

Previously:  The Insiders

‘The Contract Did Not Conform With EU Law’

27 thoughts on “‘We Make Our Money On Our Reputation’

  1. Kolmo

    A perpetual never-ending conveyor belt of utter horseplop. Good ‘ol boys. I think the Japanese government should roll in here as a nixer for 2-8 weeks, they’ll have all this sorted out – and if they didn’t, at least they would have some sense of shame, or at least apologise for the slight delay….

    1. classter

      The Japanese govt. – one of those which has presided over decades of economic & cultural stagnation?

      Or the one which is currently picking at the scab of WWII – denying the atrocities committed by Japasnese troops & helping to raise tensions in South East Asia?

      1. Kolmo

        the one that had the post-earthquake devastated areas up and running in no time (excepting the economic stagnation and WWII awfulness points….)

  2. Mr. T.

    “you edit and you consult with your client, to make sure you get the right result”

    That’s classic vague-speak. Could mean lots of different things.

  3. ollie

    “We would never change fact and we would never change our opinion. ” said Ms Arnett.
    Funnily enough Judge McKechnie agrees. RPS decided from the get go what constituted fact and didn’t change their opinion, despite several reports that differed with their “truth”.

    “I think the entire judgement is wrong.””…….. and I think that Ms Arnett should keep her opinions to herself. I also think that she’s not capable of giving a straight answer to any question posed of her, and that she needs to change her hairdresser. That’s my opinion.

  4. realPolithicks

    The golden circle goes round and round. Ireland, the best little country to be corrupt in.

  5. Bridget the Bridget

    I have personally been asked to alter data on reports provided to a certain Elusive Public Authority. But sure maybe it was just another H20 reporting dream. Silly Bridget!!

    1. Kieran NYC

      Have you or will you inform the relevant authorities of this or are you just going to spout off online?

      1. Jon

        given the way whistleblowers are routinely treated in this country, if i were bridget i’d keep it to myself.

    1. ollie

      John Tierney, responsible for such notable achievements such as….

      Responsible for such notable cluster fcuks as:
      Dublin Bay incinerator
      Eyre Square cost overruns
      Irish Water

  6. bobdolr

    ms arnett as a fellow of the irish institute of engineers is obliged by their rules to uphold their highest ethical standards and anyone who feels she may have broken those ethical rules can complain to them

  7. bobdolr

    isn’t Ms Arnett also a Fellow in the Institute of Engineers? if so she is bound by their code of ethics

  8. James

    Why is John Tierney rarely mentioned in all these situations where he was the “man” making the decisions leading to these incredibly unacceptable outcomes? It’s embarrassing really that he “manages” to get such positions.

  9. Derek Peyton

    Does IW’s Arnett ever think before she opens her mouth. What a stupid biddy for a P.R. person
    But then she doesn’t know that final plans are afoot to cripple IW and consequently in a matter of months it will collapse – remember the date now, Oct.5th – Tierney, Arnett and all existing top management sacked. Minister Kelly will resign.

    1. Michael

      And leave the taxpayer with a whopping great bill of wasted expenditure and bank borrowings. Like other members of the political and quango elite, they gallop off into the sunset with a nice pension.

  10. Siofra

    RPS also helped push through the Corrib gas project. When Shell weren’t getting their own way, RPS came on board. Their PR stunts at the 2010 Oral Hearing were sickening. RPS have a lot of experience bullying people to impose corporations wishes

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