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From top: Brendan Howlin; from left Former Irish Water head of PR Elizabeth Arnett, Labour TD and former Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly and Pat Tierney, CEO of Irish Water in December 2014

It’s all free water under the bridge.

“We were under the cosh to build a huge utility like Irish Water. To get a national metering programme in place and charge for water in the space of three years, which we just should have said no to. I’m sorry we didn’t.

“Within Government, we certainly had that battle with Fine Gael. At a critical point, the decision we made was to stick with it as opposed to pulling down the Government at that stage.

Because we were afraid of the consequences for our country if we pulled the Government down. But we paid too high a price for that and we should certainly have stood our ground in relation to Irish Water.

“This was one of the things we had to make progress on. Because they were signing off monthly on the paycheck for the nation, in order for us to pay pensions and pay the cost of wages and so on.

“Under normal circumstances, that should have been a ten year project. I certainly think it was handled badly.”

Brendan Howlin, Labour Party Leader in today’s Irish Mirror

Irish Water is Labour’s “biggest regret” while in Government says party leader Brendan Howlin (James Ward, The Irish Mirror)

Lest we forget…

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin has said that there cannot be a situation where people decide to not pay their water bill.

It follows on from Environment Minister Alan Kelly’s comments on Monday night, in which he refused to rule out measures that could mean unpaid charges are recouped from peoples’ wages and social welfare payments.

Outside the Dáil fellow Labour politician, Minister Brendan Howlin told UTV Ireland

There can’t be a situation where anyone of us decide not to pay our bills. If you come to a supermarket checkout and decide “Nah, I’m not paying the bill” and walk off – that’s just not the way the system works.”

Minister Howlin: People cannot decide to not pay water bill (UTV March 24, 2015)

Rollingnews

85 thoughts on “We Bottled It

  1. Cot.

    Utter rubbish. Howlin was very happy to work with Noonan. Howlin was very happy to implement austerity. Does he really think we’re going to swallow this pack of lies. The Labour Party is dead. Howlin, Joan, Kelly, etc. killed it.

      1. Cot

        It’s not dead. But it’s not Labour anymore, it’s not the Labour Party of Connolly. It’s not even the Labour Party of the 1980s that was social democratic. Now it’s the Labour Party that feels comfortable nominating Ivana Bacik to the Senate. It’s a liberal middle-class party that has dumped Keynesianism in favour of cut backs and a good dose of neoliberalism.

      2. realPolithicks

        Labour will survive, but it will always be a virtual non-entity due to its inability to stick to it’s professed “principles”. True left wing parties do not go into government with right wing parties like FF and FG.

  2. Sheik Yahbouti

    True. When you think of men of integrity, such as the late Jim Kemmy, who went before this appalling bubble on a pisspot Howlin, the demise of the Labour Party comes as no surprise. A party now more blueshirt than the Blueshirts themselves. Utterly disgusting.

  3. Martco

    worlds tiniest violin etc. you poisonous little tart

    I can’t wait to hear whatever it is you’re gonna tend to say when you’re in an election

  4. DubLoony

    This is a great site for those who love their data on unemplyment, debt, trade, revenue etc on Ireland and around the world. You can compare the data agains other countries like Greece, Portugal & spain.
    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ireland/employed-persons

    Every indicator show the depth of the crash and the absolute crisis that hit the country.
    And that we have been steadily recovering since 2012. We’re not back to 2007 levels of employment yet, nor house building obviously. The scars of that crash will haunt people for the rest of their lives.

    A water charge of €3 a week was the biggest thing protesters could complain about for most of that time. Not health, housing, climate change or any of the real stuff. Water charges.

    1. JIMMYJAMES

      water charges was only the straw that broke the camels back after years of bullsht austerity..
      a scheme agreed to with unpublished terms from EU bureaucrats.. the eventual privatisation/selling off of IW leading to unregulated increases till your grave was the agenda…never admitted to, hogan etc. cudnot give a fly’nf about water conservation, infrastructure upgrading & all that was claimed.

      Dog in the street knew it.

      Billions P!ssed away..Billions that should have gone towards housing

    2. Yep

      It wasn’t just the charges though. They came to represent something much larger.

      “Not health, housing, climate change” Numerous protests on this issues just not to a similar scale.

    3. LiamZero

      @Dublooney: Go back to your figures and have a look how much it cost to set up Irish Water and how much it has cost/ still costs to run. Now tell me where did all that money come from? So yeah, your €3 a week comment is pretty much nonsense.

    4. Cot

      What’s our national debt post-Crash? We’re doing well? Really? The debt is totally unsustainable, no amount of growth spurt can save us from it.

        1. Cian

          because countries don’t pay back national debt. They service it (pay the interest), and then they wait for inflation and/or economic growth to make it smaller. And then they borrow more.

          We never paid back the billions that Haughey borrowed in the 80s. Our national debt stood at €30bn in1986 (142% of GNP) this gradually increased to about €40bn in the ten years to 1996 and remained at that level until 2007. By 2007 this was only 24% of GDP.

    5. Daisy Chainsaw

      If their stats come from the government, rather than independent sources, then it isn’t worth a curse. FG Fraperoom spin spin spin!

    6. Sheik Yahbouti

      I can only think that your entirely missing the point and the mechanism of the protest must be wilful, loony. Get back to your Fraperoom.

        1. Sheik Yahbouti

          So is anyone who says ‘Lol’, and you can pass that to your buddy in the next cubicle.

    7. DD

      Only a moron would believe that the water tax would remain at €3 per week after privatisation.

      The best thing the Slave Labour party ever did was elect Burton as leader, she certainly worked her magic.

      Already pay for water, not paying again.

      1. classter

        Only a small proportion of the protestors were motivated by the fear that IW would be privatised.

        And preventing the setting up of a national utility in the fear that it might one day be privatised is rather peverse, don’t you think?

        1. winner

          Did you interview them all personally or just conduct a closed blind random sample trial to an alpha=0.05 significance level?

          It’s hard to know what’s worse – know it all Farah slacks wearing duffers patronising the uneducated or the anarchist mouthpieces themselves

        2. DD

          @ classter
          No, I don’t think it’s perverse to object to the setting up of the inefficient shambles that is IW.

          1. classter

            Objecting to how the utility was (and is) being set up is a different matter.

            Some of this was due to the pressure from anti water charge campaigners.
            Some of this was due to the incompetence of Hogan.
            Some of it was due to the reliance of the public sector on external consultants.

            Setting up a water utility is a tricky job – but a central utility in a country of approx 5m makes a lot of sense.

        3. Sheik Yahbouti

          And you have this on whose authority, classter? More horse puckey from the fanboys – you disgust me because it doesn’t matter at all to you people, but has huge significance for others who are less well off. Have another Frappucino and think about what you’re doing with your life.

  5. 15p

    tryna claw back some popularity .. Howlin’s doin a way better job of it than Kelly, who in his interview with Horan, couldn’t keep to the script and still managed to show his vitriol for the irish public and his love for irish Water. Labour should rename themselves, they don’t have any features that resemble socialism at all. They’re as right-wing as FG and FF, who also don’t know theyre right wing.

    also quite funny, Howlin saying “Because we were afraid of the consequences for our country if we pulled the Government down” .. lol . you mean the consequences for your party.

  6. Richard Pound

    Just vote for anyone else other then than FF & FG & Labour…you might be surprised at what great things will come for it …stop voting FF/FG & labour, they are a curse on this country …

  7. Daisy Chainsaw

    Brendan Howlin can fupp the fupp off. He didn’t want to bring the government down over IW because he was too busy racking up pension points with the rest of the Smoked Salmon and Champagne “socialists” in Labour. They were more concerned with their expenses claims than staying true to Labour ideology

    He’s a sellout surrounded by fluffers. His local cheerleaders in Wexford make the Swift squad look indifferent.

  8. Truth in the News

    Ah, the offical drowning of the “Water Tax Party” and long that they may be submerged and Howlin should trot off to Opera House and Kelly to admire the monkeys in the Phoenix Park.
    They along with Joan,Pat, Eammon destroyed the Labour Movement on the altar
    of political expediency to sit in Cabinet and implement treachery on the people who put them there, as a matter of principle their perks and pension’s that they
    can claim should be forfeited
    The electorate did a good days work in February 2016 and they need to finish
    the reamaining imposters off when they get the next chance and its not far away.

  9. Liam Deliverance

    Any fine folk from Wexford who are expecting this traitor on your doorstep with the next GE should have this article printed, he won’t be long getting of your property. (Keep it ready for FG too)

    1. classter

      Somehow, Howlin is a traitor but Wallace (tax defaulter, welcher on his own debts, transferred property to his brother’s name, etc.) is not.

  10. crazy horse

    Howlin is howling out his arse as usual, you do walk out that store if the price isn’t right. consumer protection laws say that. it’s when you take it with you out the store like the scrotebags shoplifting then you’ve a reason to rattle the gallows..

  11. Murtles

    “If you come to a supermarket checkout and decide “Nah, I’m not paying the bill” and walk off – that’s just not the way the system works.” Up yours Howlin ya sneaky bastage, the proper analogy for Irish Water is I’ve paid my bill at the checkout but now there’s a second checkout charging me to get out the door.

    1. classter

      Seriously f*** off repeating that canard.

      You do not pay an adequate amount for your water now.
      You did not pay an adequate amount for your water in the past.

      As a result our water system is a shambles.

        1. classter

          It is widely accepted that our water infrastructure is not up to scratch & has been under-invested in for decades. Local councils always found a more pressing use for money than water infrastructure investment & maintenance.

          During the entire time the water charge protest was ongoing there was a current account deficit, meaning that the state was spending more than it was taking in.

          1. 15p

            the infrastructure updating would have been covered easily by the amount of money the gov. pumped into Irish Water. You also mention ‘other countries do it’ which is baseless. Each country have differing societal make-up. All balanced differently, what’s for one is not necessarily for another. Ireland need to step away from apeing other countries because we don’t know what to do for ourselves. Insular, narrow minded people like you set that back. You peddle all the same reasons for irish water as the gov., who aren repeatedely proven to be highly inadequate at their collective jobs.

          2. classter

            ‘The infrastructure updating would have been covered easily by the amount of money the gov. pumped into Irish Water.’

            I am afraid this is complete fantasy.

            Even if it was true (it isn’t), it ignores the fact that the existing framework did not have the scale or technical competence to deliver the capital infrastructure & process improvements required.

            Think about how the NRA delivered a motorway network in a short period of time & now imagine if the state had tried to implement that via all the shabby, corrupt little county councils around the country.

        2. classter

          @winner

          I have posted a number of times on Broadsheet about what an adequate amount might be- with reference to how much is actually spent on water, how much should be spent on water, how much is paid in other European countries etc.

          1. Loan Some Cow Boy

            I’m not winner but are you for real?

            The lad asked you a fairly simple and straightforward question and rather than answering it you refer him to scroll through pages and pages of unsearchable guff you probably spend half your life posting on here posing as some kind of moderate?

            If you don’t know the answer why not just say so? Loser.

          2. classter

            Pricing water is not a ‘simple & straightforward’ task with a one-off round number as an answer, must be evident to you. Do you really not understand that?

            It depends on all sorts of varying factors. Part of IW’s remit is to reduce the operational cost of running the water & wastewater networks – currently they are up to double the equivalent figures in the UK.

            What is clear is that we have massively underfunded the system for decades – so whatever one’s position on the topic, ‘I’m not paying twice’ is a complete canard.

          3. classter

            No, I’m saying there is no simple, single answer.

            And that I previously posted lots of stuff about the likely range etc.

      1. Murtles

        Not my fault Mr C, that’s successive Governments faults since at least 1997 when their Local Government (Financial Services) Provision Act was enacted. This authorised them to use Motor Tax and certain VAT payments to pay for water charges. The fact of the matter is, my motor tax and what VAT I pay on local services has not been reduced but another charge was introduced. I’m sure your swimming in money but I’m not. Howlin said it in the article, a 10 year plan tried to be crammed into 3 years. I’ll pay for water if it’s an equitable system (and also if the board of Irish Water aren’t ex County Council Managers, already on fat pensions, then getting huge salaries from my charges). Sham from the start.

        1. Cian

          The same people who used to run the water services as 30-something county councils are grouped into a single entity called IW. So there isn’t any difference in who is being paid or how much they are paid.
          The difference is that there is a single entity controlling all water (and waste). And they are charging people directly that are using the service.

        2. classter

          Taxation in Ireland for lower & middle-range earners is not particularly onerous by OECD standards.

          Part of the merit of water charges is that it ring-fences a pot of money to pay for water & it puts an explicit value on an important resource.

          1. classter

            Does it not strike you as odd that almost every other OECD country charges for water, if there is no merit to it?

            I’m not suggesting that we follow everyone else but does that even give you pause for thought?

          2. 15p

            The international merchant banks want Ireland to have water changes so they make billions from interest and investment in privatized water supply and their shills are in Irish mainstream media, the Government, the EU institutions and any influential institution.
            The Troika loan had water charges written into it, not because it was seen as an efficient tax base but because it would require private merchant bank investment and guess who advised the Government on that loan? Goldman Sachs and Rothschilds who are heavily invested in water treatment and supply around the world.
            This is about the theft of public resources by international investors. Nothing else.

          3. classter

            Considering how other countries do things & why is not insular. it is precisely the opposite of insular. And it doesn’t mean that we are bound to ‘ape’ them.

            On this topic, almost every single developed nation does it differently to the approach you advocate. Almost nowhere tries to pay for water as an unmeasured good, paid for from an undifferentiated public pot.

            Why?

          4. classter

            It was in your comment further above though.

            ‘Ireland need to step away from apeing other countries because we don’t know what to do for ourselves. Insular, narrow minded people like you set that back.’

            Or are there two posters named 15p?

    2. Harry Molloy

      The following is an extract from an interview with Alan Kelly in this weeks Sindo. Now, most of you will have made up your minds before reading it because you are unable to separate what is being said from your feeling towards who is saying it, but he makes very pertinent points –

      “We need €6.6bn to fix the water and waste in this country,” he says. “€6.6bn,” he repeats.

      “So where are we going to get it? Do you know where we are going to get it now? From the working man and woman. They are going to pay for it through their general taxation.

      “And the guy with the swimming pool can fill his pool every night and no one will care, another guy can water his garden, wash his cars and so on, and no one will care and yet the business people still have to pay their water charges and, here’s the best one of all, 400,000 families in rural Ireland who have wells and group schemes, they will have to pay anyway.

      “They’ll have to go out and work and they’ll pay in their general taxation for everyone else.”

      He goes on to cite families in Lahinch, Co Clare, who have “raw sewage running into their rivers and on to the beach. For the people who will be reading this – raw sewage is what it says on the tin.

      “It is better known by a four letter word. And do you know people get sick because of this? And not alone do people get sick, but environmentally – for the health and image of Ireland – it’s a disaster.

      “I am demonstrating the issue in relation to water just to show you where populism ends. We need €6.6bn and now the working man and woman is going to have to pay for everything and that is wrong. The working man and woman has had enough. I am sick and tired of workers paying over the odds and that is where I am going to focus all my political energies for the foreseeable future. It is where I am going to focus in on because the Labour Party represents working people. We need to keep our eye on that into the future.”

          1. Harry Molloy

            I don’t know about the figure to be honest, but do know it’s billions rather than hundreds of millions and that his points above are correct.

            There were rightly concerns about the efficiency of Irish water itself, which were worth protesting, but this craic of never paying for water is short sighted and wrong.

          2. classter

            Obviously estimating a figure like that is prone to all sorts of uncertainties – population growth, spatial variations in development, changes to construction costs, unforseen technical challenges etc. – so there are various figures ‘floating’ around, developed by state agencies, IW etc.

            Engineers Ireland gives a figure to address all known water deficits of €13bn.

            There are some horrifying facts out there. 48% of treated water is leaked, operational costs PRIOR to Irish Water being twice those in the UK, tens of thousands undergoing boil notices at any one time, dozens of locations discharging raw sewage, no resilience or capacity for growth in large population areas etc.

            In that context €6.6bn does not seem an unreasonably large estimate

      1. Richard Pound

        Utter rubbish…Kelly is a liar. His brother will benefit from water privatisation, & all he cares about is his own greed. BS all you want but Kelly is a corrupt liar.

        1. classter

          Kelly may be a liar & he may be greedy.
          Many politicians & indeed many humans are.

          Is he wrong here though? Can you point out which aspects you actually disagree with?

          1. Richard Pound

            He is completely wrong. Everything he says is a lie. You know it & everyone knows it. It’s about water privatisation. Stop pretending it’s not. People have woken up to scummy corrupt politicians in this country.

      2. Daisy Chainsaw

        It’s a bit like someone trying to sell you a clapped out banger on the promise that they’ll fix it up like new after you hand over your money. Half a billion has already been diverted from LPT to Irish Water and for what? It funds a billing scheme, not any water infrastructure.

      3. 15p

        said it already, but pay attention…

        The international merchant banks want Ireland to have water changes so they make billions from interest and investment in privatized water supply and their shills are in Irish mainstream media, the Government, the EU institutions and any influential institution.

        The Troika loan had water charges written into it, not because it was seen as an efficient tax base but because it would require private merchant bank investment and guess who advised the Government on that loan? Goldman Sachs and Rothschilds who are heavily invested in water treatment and supply around the world.

        This is about the theft of public resources by international investors. Nothing else.

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