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From top: Fine Gael MEP Mairéad McGuinness and Brendan Ogle

Fine Gael MEP Mairéad McGuinness and Brendan Ogle, of trade union Unite and campaign group Right2Water, spoke to RTÉ’s Seán O’Rourke this morning about Irish Water.

The discussion followed reports that legal advice – commissioned by Irish Water’s parent company Ervia – apparently shows water charges can’t be abolished.

At the beginning of the interview on Today with Seaán O’Rourke, Mr Ogle accused Irish Water of selectively leaking the legal advice to a national newspaper (Irish Times), before calling on Irish Water to publish the reported legal advice on its website today.

From the interview…

Mairead McGuinness: “The privatisation issue which Brendan raises is for ideological and political reasons and I said earlier, we have politicised this issue far too much. There are over 60% of people paying their charges, it is controversial, I understand that but remember that those who obeyed the law will continue to obey the law and should be respected for it.
And, certainly from a Fine Gael perspective, our position on the water, Irish Water, and charging for water, is clear: I acknowledge that the handling of it may not have been the best of practices but we now have a structure in place which knows what’s happening above ground and below ground. And believe me, it is not pretty. We know where the investment needs to be made and we know where we need to protect our water sources and I think, if that were to be interrupted and interfered with we are going back decades and I think that would be reprehensible.”

Brendan Ogle: “Well the water notices were dealt with in Roscommon through paying progressive general taxation. There is no doubt that water notices are a disgrace, we need more investment, we need to fix the system and the way to fix the system is not to be spending €2.6billion over the next number of years on meters, it’s to put that money into fixing the leaks, protect the water in the constitution and me and Mairéad will agree on all of that. Stop wasting money on meters, stop wasting money on legal advisors, stop wasting money on public relations, put the money into fixing the leaks and protect water in public ownership.

Listen back in full here

Previously: The Privatisation Of irish Water Is Ultimately Envisioned

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33 thoughts on “Reprehensible

    1. Paddy

      Mairead ‘Annie get your gun’ McGuinness thinks that over 60% are paying. I suppose being in Brussels has helped her forget the hole in which FG has left the population of this country.

  1. Anomanomanom

    Why such a short extract. Amazing how that exact bit was chosen. I’m not paying my bill, but BS stop with the anti-everything.

  2. Jake38

    All the Irish water fiasco tells us is that we are incapable of investing in and maintaining public infrastructure in this country for the common good.

  3. Steve

    Debating the merits of an argument is fine.

    But where is ogle getting his 2.6 billion on meters over the next few years??

  4. panga panga

    why is the money raised through indirect taxation not ringfenced for the water system?
    since 1997 5% Motor Tax and 2% VAT has been harvested

    What has it been spent on…cos it ain’t the water infrastructure

    Bit of transparency called for there too

    1. Paddy

      And it was Howlin that raised those taxes in 1997, to make up for his last failure to introduce water charges. And he’s failed once again. People power will eventually overcome oligarch power.

  5. mildred st. meadowlark

    Ogle has the right of it. When I think of the sheer amount of taxpayer money wasted on Irish Water, on the set up and saving each and every subsequent feck up, on the reports and ‘conservation grants’ and everything else, I really am disgusted. What a spectacular waste of money that could have been better served as a direct investment into our water system.

    I don’t really like going on ‘fupp Irish Water’ type rants, but when it is clear that our money could have been infinitely better invested, and to the good of many communities who badly need a functioning water system, not poxy water meters.

    1. Pip

      Well said.
      They really lost me at the ‘conservation grant’ – it would be interesting to survey at what f/up point, of the many to choose from, each of us decided to opt out for good.
      A hundred euro..???? Wow, that makes up for everything…..

      1. mildred st. meadowlark

        Here, have this lovely bribe, all wrapped up in this shiny conservation cover, just for you!

    2. ahjayzis

      It’s just so insulting. It’s an actual humiliation to be required to give hard-earned money to something that in it’s every utterance, action and basic tenet has been an absolute botch job of a con of a waste of money.

      An organisation who’s incompetent oaf of a progenitor was later promoted to a really prestigious European job. An outfit whose gormless head-honchos were hired after demonstrating gross incompetence in Dublin.

      It’s a poll tax, flat charge, regressive tax half-heartedly labelled things like conservation and charges – I would cringe so much I’d fracture bones if I was to hand over money to something that so, so, so patently does not deserve my money and insults my intelligence as a citizen. It’d be a matter of self respect for me.

  6. Kdoc1

    “There are over 60% of people paying their charges, it is controversial, I understand that but remember that those who obeyed the law will continue to obey the law and should be respected for it.”

    Methinks Mairead is wrong. I paid the water charges in the beginning, but I haven’t paid the last two bills. I won’t pay any further charges until the political debacle is sorted and we have a guarantee that it won’t be privatised.

  7. Jake38

    Paying taxes to government to fund local authorities to provide water. Result, incompetent disaster.

    Paying money to Irish Water to provide water. Result, incompetent disaster.

    Bring on privatisation. Maybe we’d get a service.

      1. Jake38

        Are we paying less here in taxes for the same? Are we getting value for money? Who knows? Maybe we’re paying more.

  8. Eoin

    They are determined to flog this dead horse all the way down. A good civil servant would admit defeat on this and move on. But unfortunately we’ve got to deal with politicians (and their private agendas) instead. Simple fact is if the next coalition insists on pushing this disgusting, immoral and extortionate charge, then they’ll be facing 100k+ marches at regular intervals. And we’re just heading into the summer too so the weather will be a lot nicer for protesting.

  9. Tish Mahorey

    The ONLY reason Irish Water was set up was to move yet another state owned public service and utility into the hands of private revenue flows.

    This is all about the private sector getting control of the flow of money in transactions. When banks see money moving around outside of their control, they move to seize it via ‘privatisation’.

    Banks loan to money to investors who in turn buy the utility. Banks earn interest and fees on the transactions and the revenue flow is taken out of public ownership.

    In some cases, this makes sense, like telecoms and some transport services but not in the case of something so vital, so essential to life as water.

    Charging for water usage within public ownership is not a bad idea. But privatisation is absolutely immoral. The two need to be separated out as entirely different issues.

    1. Paddy

      One step that might clear this up a lot would be to hold a referendum asking whether water and its delivery should be in state ownership. But FF FG LAB…. None of them are putting that forward. Kellys ‘plebicite’ kite was an attempt to pull the wool over people’s eyes. A plebicite does not have to be acted upon. Then we had the ‘it’s written in law’ kite – except that laws can be changed, and it only takes the signatures of two ministers anyway to sell out the nation.
      Referendum please – then perhaps people might consider paying, say, an extra charge for a limited time to upgrade the system, and once upgraded to an acceptable level, the general taxation (Howlin VAT and Motor tax increases in 1997) would pay for the maintenance of the newly upgraded system.

  10. Maria

    Irish Water are spending money left right and centre on anything but water. That alone should be the basis of abolishing this quango. Water should be in a State company belonging to the people. This is OUR money they are squandering. I’m a law abiding citizen but now and then if they laws are unjust we have to stand up and protest. This is one of those times.

    1. ahjayzis

      Oh clamp up yew ye tick ye!

      This has been such a debacle one looks like a compliant idiot who’ll fall for anything for not calling it out every chance one gets. :)

  11. Truth in the News

    How much money has the ESB being paid for water taken from the Liffey
    that the people own, abolish Irish Water and eradicate whats remains of
    them in the body politic, Incidently when is Tierny pulling out, and what is he getting….no doubt McGuinness will tell us.

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