Doing The Same Thing Again And Expecting A Different Result



Irish Water protesters outside the GPO in Dublin on June 20, 2015

This morning, the Irish Independent‘s environment editor Paul Melia reports that Irish Water will need approximately €300million from the State to make up the cost of suspending water charges.

He also reported that Irish Water is to rerun its public information campaign to “convince” people to pay.

Mr Melia spoke to Katie Hannon earlier on RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke show.

From their discussion.

Katie Hannon: “According to documents seen by the Irish Independent, as the phrase goes, the Government has been informed that Irish Water is going to require almost €300million to compensate for the suspension of water charges. The Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government said the shortfall would be made up for in 2016 but haven’t announced their intentions for the next two years. Additionally, Irish Water believes that it is going to have to launch an enormous and costly campaign to convince the public of the need to pay for water services if charges are re-introduced after March of next year when the current period of suspension will have run its course. Paul Melia, environment correspondent for the Irish Independent has been writing about this and he joins me on the line now. Paul, welcome.”

Paul Melia: “Thank you.”

Hannon: “Almost €300million is what you’re saying the cost will be upfront. Can you break that figure down for me?”

Melia: “Certainly, these are financial projections that were provided by Irish Water to the department in June and what they’re saying is that, for 2016, there’s going to be a revenue shortfall of €123million or so. Now this figure isn’t new, we know this figure and that’s basically because charges are going to be suspended, have been suspended for the second half of the year. So, Irish Water says this is the cash shortfall we’re going to have. Now, the Government has said that they will make up that difference and, you might recall, there was a water conservation grant last year which cost €110million. This shortfall of €123million – there’s a gap there of somewhere of €13million, up to €20million that the Exchequer will be able for this year. So that’s all been addressed and sorted out. There’s no funding issue for this year. Where it gets interesting is that Irish Water has come up with two scenarios. A scenario if billing returns next year and a scenario of no billing returns. And what they have said to the department is: if billing resumes from the second quarter of next year, which is expected, or sorry, that’s when a decision will be made, there will still be a revenue shortfall of about €125million now this is because there will be no billing for the first three months, so there’s about €65million or so missing there. And then, also, the balance is made up of they believe that people just won’t pay, that they’re going to have to go back and re-engage with householders and say to them: ‘look, we’re Irish Water, this is the job that we have to do and this is how we have to pay for it’. So, their public information campaign starts all over again.”

Hannon: “And tell me Paul, before I let you go any further, remind people how much has already been spent on convincing people that they need to pay for water?”

Melia: “Well I mean there’s been two, certainly in May, there was a report, Irish Water had spent about €350,000 on outside public relations, this was on top of their fully-staffed press office which I think has three people in it. And then there was an expensive advertising campaign last year as well which talked about basically how water came from the clouds to the tap essentially, that cost about €650,000 or so. So there’s about €1million all in, there’s probably more than that. But that’s certainly, more or less, what’s been spent to date. So, they’re talking about rerunning a lot of that stuff again. If the charges come back in…

Hannon: “Of course, just to stop you there again, ‘if’ is a very big if there, isn’t it? Because certainly the political temperature would indicate that that is a very big if.”

Melia: “It certainly is. I mean I think more than 100 TDs in the Dáil are opposed to water charges in any way shape or form and this expert commission that the Government has established, that’s meant to look at the long-term funding model for Irish Water, in other words, how will the day-to-day operations, which cost in or around €1billion a year, plus the capital expenditure programme be funded. They’re due to report back at the end of March of next year. And then they will recommendations with the Dáil committee. That Dáil committee then will examine that and it will make recommendations to the Dáil itself and it will be put to a vote. So TDs will ultimately decide whether or not domestic water charges are reintroduced or whether they’re abolished permanently. As you said, the political temperature at this stage certainly is that they’re not going to be reintroduced.

Listen back in full here

Irish Water needs €300m to make up for loss of charges (Irish Independent)


71 thoughts on “Doing The Same Thing Again And Expecting A Different Result

      1. Zuppy International

        Not true Harry Molloy. Since 1997 the Irish people have directly paid the equivalent of €20 Billion for their water. What has all that money gone?

        If the administration in Lenister house wants to save itself a few quid (of our money) it can shut down the unnecessary and inflated quango that is Irish Water and then stop funding the gambling debts of the criminal banking fraternity.

        We already pay.

          1. Zuppy International

            @ Harry Molloy

            “We’re” not running any kind of deficit. The administration are because they guaranteed the non-sovereign debt of the criminal banking fraternity. The people have (always) paid for their water services. It is the administration’s duty to provide the services and infrastructure that we have paid for. Don’t blame/penalise the people because the administrators are deliberately sh1t at their job.

            We already pay.

          2. Paolo

            We are running a deficit because of government mis-management of our tax contribution for many years.
            We have paid already and to come back looking for more because of their incompetence will never work.
            Accountability is something they are going to have to understand.

          3. Martin Heavy-Guy

            @Harry – the administration is voted in by a minority and don’t represent the public in general, just a small cross section, so they are certainly not ours (i.e. mine or yours) unless you voted for them.

      1. Boj

        How about instead of simply paying more money the gov should look at where the current pot is going and budget accordingly. There are some very large figures being bandied about still with no specifics. Even yer man reporting on it doesn’t know exact figures…very vague language used.

      2. Vote Rep #1

        Irreverent, IW is gone and dead. When given a choice between a slightly more expensive, botched but at least somewhat long term solution and the FF option, they have chosen the FF option.

        We will do as we have always done and kick this problem down the street until it all comes to ahead at some time in the future.

        1. Zuppy International

          What’s the actual problem? I have (paid for) water in my tap so nothing wrong at this end.

          It seems the real problem is the plan to offload Irish Water Services to Private industry has floundered because the people (the living souls that government is supposed to serve and be responsible to) told Kenny, Kelly, Hogan, Noonan et al to FO.

          We already pay.

  1. Cian

    I don’t think theres “more than 100 TDs” opposed. Might be difficult to find 50.

    FF aren’t opposed – they leapt on a bandwagon and if they can blame the EU for an excuse to stop beating the drum, they will – immediately. Add in FG, Labour, Greens and some independents and you’re closing in on 110 not opposed. Maybe not “for”, though – there’s a huge level of indifference in the middle, possibly only a tiny few would be outright “for”.

    1. 15 cents

      there full-on is not 100 TDs opposing it. Sure they voted recently, and by far the majority were for charges, including loads who said they were against the before getting elected.

  2. Jimmy 2 tones

    The largest mass movement protest in the history of the state….they can keep ignoring it but facts are facts the people are not backing down from this corruption this time.

  3. Pip

    Say you stop a child’s pocket money for some (presumably sound) reason.
    If and when it is reinstated should they be looking for a large sum to cover losses sustained during the suspension?

    1. Cian

      If you’ve continued requiring the child to pay for outlays that you’ve (potentially, different debate) benefited from, there’d be a case.

  4. Clampers Outside!

    ” He also reported that Irish Water is to rerun its public information campaign to “convince” people to pay. ”

    Em…… advertising doesn’t “convince” anyone of anything, it nudges. And people are going to need more than a nudge to be convinced.

    This’ll be a total waste of money.

    1. Vote Rep #1

      Nobody is going to pay for something which will be, in its current form at least, gone in a few months. I am not sure what weird bubble these people are living. Possible a very bored one since they would seem to have nothing to do in work anymore.

  5. Tish Mahorey

    The ONLY reason for introducing water charges is to prepare our water infrastructure for privatization. Water privatization is an international campaign being run by the World Bank on behalf of merchant banks like Goldman and Rothschilds. The plan is to take control of municipal water supply and convert it into a revenue generating vehicle. This then creates a new consumer market out of an essential natural resource. It takes the service out of the control of a government for its people and exposes it to free market inflation and interest rates.

    The argument is the that money is for delivery of water, not the actual water itself. That is just a red herring argument to justify placing a financial burden on the procurement of water by citizens. The other argument is conservation. That too is bogus as water can be conserved by issuing usages limits, above which people can pay for more usage.

    The people who advocate for privatization are wealthy will never ever have to suffer from the burden of paying for this natural resource, the most essential of all for human life.

    By tricking Governments into so called bailout loans, the creditors extort those nations of their natural resources and essentially rob the people of the assets they own as citizens of the state.

    It is a criminal enterprise operation on an international level with the cooperation of national politicians.

    1. Jake38

      “The ONLY reason for introducing water charges is to prepare our water infrastructure for privatization”

      No one would buy our water infrastructure at present because after 80 years of local authority “management” it is crap.

      1. Sheik Yahbouti

        Jake, you are a very, ignorant and very annoying shill. I don’t normally respond to your trolling, but on this occasion I will, because of the importance of the issue. Thick, get this – wedge – thin end of – versheghen?

  6. phil

    If IW was a normal business , would it not make sense to have a round of redundancies about now ? If you think about why this has not happened , I think you will understand the problem with IW.

  7. some old queen

    Two quotes come to mind.

    “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” – Henry Ford


    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

    So exactly what has changed?

          1. rotide

            There isn’t a single verfied attribution of the quote to him.

            This is one of those things like ‘play it again sam’. He never said it. Accept it and move on.

          2. rotide

            Well it wouldn’t but people generally wouldn’t use it with an attribution if it was said by Joe Bloggs. People use it because Quoting Einstein lends weight to their claims.

            It also doesn’t REALLY matter who said it except you spent a fair amount of time arguing that it was indeed einstein.

            A ‘fair cop guv, live and learn’ would have done.

          3. Deluded

            rotide is correct. All kinds of boll0x is attributed to famous people to lend weight to trite, redundant non-aphorisms.
            “Fail again, fail harder” David Norris
            “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. Abraham Lincoln
            “If you are going through hell, keep going” Winston Churchill
            “Fall seven times, get up eight” – trad. Japan
            … yet …
            “insanity is doing the same blah blah blah” – some loser yesterday.

  8. Panty Christ

    The “conservation grant” is being realigned and reclassified to cover loss of income to IW.
    That’s about €109m right there. Hurray for subvention.

  9. Disasta

    I buy all water because the water from my taps is horrible.
    Not a chance you’ll get a penny IW.

  10. perricrisptayto

    Katie Hannon and Paul Melia” discussing water” eh?.
    Who’s their employer again?
    More “discussion” to soften us a little bit more.
    As Curtis Mayfield said; People get ready..

  11. ollie

    charges will be introduced. legislation will be passed to take monies owed directly from salaries. IW will spend another million in advertising, yet ultimately charges will be abolished.

    1. Disasta

      How can they take money from my salary if they dont know me?

      Also when i do buy it’ll be septic tank, distilled water from a well for drinking and the rest from the well for other services.

  12. Sheik Yahbouti

    Regardless of the usual shills (instant recignizable) the Sheik confirms he will march until he dies to ensure that such an essential resource remains in the ownership of the Irish people. Nestle, Veolia and all the rest of these crunts can go away. The vultures who would own the stuff of life can go to hell. Referendum NOW, and then I will pay what is REASONABLE. Think for yourselves, just for once, shills – do what is right for posters.

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Not for posters – rather posterity (don’tcha just hate predictive text?) does me head in.

      1. Pip

        Notice all the MSM people, esp on the radio, with their scripted stuff, dumbly reading out the predictive and auto complete mistakes – best one recently was on Newstalk when Jamie Oliver’s wife was revealed as Jools (which she is) Holland (which she is not).

    2. some old queen

      Ownership is the red line issue. It is downright bizarre why a goverment which got so hammered at the last election will still not allow a referendum. What are they hiding?

      1. Pip

        “An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.”
        Simon Cameron, US politician, 18th century.

      2. Sheik Yahbouti

        Seriously, some old, what do you think they are hiding? The fact that the deals were done, the incentives set in concrete, the bribes paid, the contracts signed, four years ago? That might be it, alright.

  13. Junkface

    No one will pay the water charges unless it is written into law that it will NEVER be privatised.

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Amen Bro. The most cursory research shows that Multicorps with the balls to do it can seize any infrastructure, in any country they choose, with a payment to the right person. Noonan, Cowen et al – I’m talking about YOU.

  14. Fact Checker

    It is ALREADY written into law that water infrastructure cannot be privatised without a plebiscite.

    Section 2 of the Water Services Bill (2014) (

    2. (1) A Bill providing or allowing for the alienation of any share or shares in Irish Water to a person other than a Minister of the Government shall not be initiated by or on behalf of a Minister of the Government in either House of the Oireachtas unless—

    (a) a Resolution of each such House is passed approving a proposal to provide or allow for such alienation,

    (b) a proposal to provide or allow for such alienation is submitted by Plebiscite for the decision of the People, and

    (c) a majority of the votes cast in such Plebiscite shall have been cast in favour of the proposal.

    (2) Whenever Resolutions are passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas in respect of the proposal referred to in subsection (1), the Minister may by order appoint the day upon which and during which the poll at the Plebiscite on the proposal shall be held.

    (3) An order under subsection (2) shall be published in the Iris Oifigiúil.

    (4) On such Resolutions being passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas, the Clerk of the Dáil shall immediately inform the Minister accordingly.

    (5) A person who has the right to vote at a referendum on a proposal for an amendment of the Constitution shall have the right to vote in the Plebiscite.

    (6) The Plebiscite shall—

    (a) put a proposal for a decision of those persons entitled to vote in the Plebiscite as to whether the Government may, if it wishes to, cause the initiation of legislation as referred to in subsection (1), and

    (b) be held in accordance with regulations made by the Minister providing for the holding of the Plebiscite and for other requirements and arrangements that will apply in relation to the Plebiscite.

    (7) The Minister shall publish details of the proposal and the reasons for it to be submitted to the people in the Plebiscite not later than 30 days before the day fixed as the polling day for the Plebiscite.

    (8) In this section “Plebiscite” means the Plebiscite to which subsection (1)(b) refers.

    1. Kevin M

      There has been one plebiscite in the history of this state, about 78 years ago.

      A plebiscite is simply to ask the opinion of the electorate, it is not legally binding, it does not protect ouor water supply. We know this because Irish water is handing out contracts for the running of water treatment plants to private enterprises like Veolia.

      If the government continues this injustice, you can guarantee a hardening of the position of some water protesters.
      The people of Ireland voted, this issue a large part of how people voted. The neoliberals, salivating at the possibility of a privatised water supply, will have to chalk this one down to experience and move on.
      There is precedent in EU law on this issue, to have some faceless bureaucrat writing letters to Coveney, does nothing to change that point.

      September 17th Dublin 2pm, Hueston/Connolly station

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          If it’s legally binding then it isn’t a plebiscite. That’s what plebiscite means, “Fact Checker”

  15. whut

    good thing: we as a nation finally stood up and said no for once.
    bad thing: even with 1000s marching and people rejecting the charges, FF and FG are still in power. They must feel invincible. FF broke the entire nation, FG made it worse. and they’re in power. they can do literally whatever the hell they want and they will still be in power. thats heartbreaking. theres no punishment for them.

    1. Martin Heavy-Guy

      There’s just no alternative. But the collective share of the vote for FF/FG fell below 50% in the last General Election for the first time since the foundation of the state. So maybe we are slow, but we’re getting the job done…

  16. Truth in the News

    The political sub serviant class to Europe and the World Bank are still in denial hopeing it will also go away…..well it hasn’t.

  17. Mad Mike

    Can’t pay. Won’t pay.

    And I reserve the right to vote in a shower of independent muppets on that basis, who couldn’t agree on what to drink in a brewery. And I don’t mind what other daft policies and populist tax hikes are put in place as long as you scrap Irish Water.

    Yes, scrap USC and hit all the so called middle income earners for much more tax to compensate.

    I don’t care as long as I don’t have to pay a quid a day for water.

    I definitely have my priorities right.

Comments are closed.