The Blame Shame



Michael McNicholas, CEO of Ervia, the parent company of Irish Water

This morning Ellen Coyne and Niamh Lyons, in the Irish edition of The Times (not The Irish Times), report:

“Politicians and the media did not do enough to explain to the public the importance of Irish Water, the head of the utility’s parent company has claimed.”

“Michael McNicholas, chief executive of Ervia, attempted to divert responsibility for the various controversies and setbacks involving the utility at the Environment Ireland conference in Croke Park yesterday.”

“Asked what he would have done differently, he suggested there had been a communications failure. “In hindsight, I don’t think there was enough done right across all of Irish society, that includes politics and media, to really set out the facts of the situation,” he said.”

Politicians and media ‘share blame’ for Irish Water row (The Times, Irish edition)


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.

In July 2012 – almost a year before Mr McNicholas was appointed CEO of Bord Gáis, now Ervia – the Sunday Independent reported Mr McNicholas saying: “The metering of Irish water opens up opportunities for Celtic Anglian Water. Celtic Anglian is well-positioned to provide those services.”

In an interview with Cathal MacCoille, on Morning Ireland, on Monday, November 24, 2014, – the day after the Mail story – Mr McNicholas said:

“I spoke with NTR and I said that I no longer can sit on their advisory committee, even though it’s to do with renewable energy and it has no conflict whatsoever with my role in Ervia. I feel that’s no longer appropriate for me to sit on that committee. I do hold shares in NTR and they are restricted but I am divesting of those shares as a restriction is lifted. I am looking to see if I can accelerate the lifting of those restrictions to divest myself of those shares and, just to finish, my final point, any proceeds that come from the sale of those shares, we are, myself and my wife, as we always have intended, are donating the proceeds of those to Focus Ireland which has always been our intention.”

Previously: Murky, Murky, Murky

Sponsored Link

16 thoughts on “The Blame Shame

  1. Punches Pilot

    Tiny pool. All inter connected. We’re idiots for taking it but there you go. Course its all cronyism but its not like it’s new to us. Do any of us really believe a word of anything any of them say when its so bloody obvious what’s going on or are all of these people who land from one job to the next contract to the next advisory board just the luckiest feckers on the planet. Give me break. Their bowler hair cut faces doing impressions of an 8 year old in front of a headmaster denying all and sundry is just a Irishism for ‘yeah we all know its true but nobody’s ever gonna call us out on it let alone do anything about it’ Next >>>>>>>>>>>>

  2. ollie

    Let’s overlook the fact that IW charges would have been the highest in the EU, that the staff are paid twice the Uk avergae for a water company and that the headcount is twice the UK average for the population.
    Let’s also overlook the fact that Labour opposed water charges in their manifesto and that Fine GAle opposed water charges until all properties were metered.

    Lets ignore the cronyism that exists within the Ervia board and the political appointments that Fg said they would stamp out.

    1. Miko

      Let’s overlook your first sentence is a lie
      Let’s overlook that water companies in the UK have been in operation for many years and achieved their efficiencies much like Irish Water will. That they were as “inefficient” as IW when they took over the Enlish local authorities and unless you are a complete idiot realise that you can’t just fire 100’s of staff with no consequences.
      Let’s overlook that labour were a minority coalition partner and that a manifesto is not a legally binding document in a representative democracy and the second part is a lie.
      Let’s overlook that buzzword bingo doesn’t make things true. The true cronyism in Irish Politics are a deeply imbecilic media that repeats dishonest analysis for “balance”
      The truth is people only care about IW because they will get a bill. Nobody is out marching for psychiatric services or any of the other real problems in our society. IW far from perfect but probably as good as any organisation could be given it had to takeover the LA’s and decades of underinvestment.

      1. Punches Pilot

        A message from your local Labour constituency office on behalf of soon to be unemployed TDs who’ll inevitably end up on some board or in the senate or as an “advisor”

        Give it a break lad. Sell that clap trap elsewhere. We’re all full up round here.

  3. Starina

    aha, so now it begins…the dispersing of blame. Definitely not paying my bill now, as people distancing themselves from Irish Water means the whole thing is going to implode soon enough.

  4. Clampers Outside!

    They can share a small bit of blame.

    But the main problem with IW is in IW, and the hiring of the utter incompetents from RPS really beggers belief.

    ‘RPS Consulting’….? Did that stand for Really Pitiful Services or something?

    Bunch o’ muppets in-house of IW fupped up, and take the vast proportion of the blame for communications problems. John Tierney has a track record of incompetence for Christ’s sake and RPS and Arnet have a history of just making stuff up to suit themselves.

    The problem is in IW (and Ervia could get infected).

  5. fmong

    “my final point, any proceeds that come from the sale of those shares, we are, myself and my wife, as we always have intended, are donating the proceeds of those to Focus Ireland which has always been our intention”

    I larfed.. such cynicism.. it’s bad enough to be shilling your own country men for cash.. it’s a extra level of arseholery to try, along the way, to present yourself, and your good wife, as a pair of caring philanthropists while you’re at it..

  6. ivan

    I’m all for paying for water, but way i see it, paying my bill is essentially saying ‘you’re all right lads, keep doing what you’re doing’.

    It’s a blunt instrument, for sure. If anybody’s genuinely got a more effective mechanism for me to employ right now to register my displeasure at the way Irish Water has been set up etc, I’d genuinely like to hear it. I’ve a notion that a letter to Irish Water won’t do the trick…

    1. ahjayzis


      It’s not about disagreeing with paying directly via bill for water as a whole concept for now and for ever.

      It’s that giving money to Irish Water would be an abject humiliation – an endorsement of the kind of shady, incompetent and lazy mismanagement we voted to get rid of, admitting to the government that I am the fool they take me for to swallow this bullsh1t all over again.

      1. ivan


        If I pay a bill today, then I become part of the statistic that Elizabeth Arnett et all can trot out suggesting that because people are ‘engaging’ with Irish Water, then everything’s alright, and frankly, the sooner the rest of you soap dodging numpties get with the programmer the better.

        So I don’t want to *give* her that ammunition, because everything ISN’T alright. I do want to pay for water. I do think that, regardless of rainfall levels, you do have to pay for a clean efficient water delivery service. But I’m hopping mad at the way it’s been done, the cackhandedness of Hogan, Inda telling people to ‘toddle on’ down the corridor etc, and so here’s where we are…

  7. Kolmo

    The important people have made their money from this exercise, they will now quietly exit stage left, one by one, blaming everyone else on the mess on the way out, and we (the taxpayer) are left standing there like total gobshites wondering what happened. How is this well-paid incompetence not jailable?
    Anti-society willyheads.

Comments are closed.

Sponsored Link