Water Under The Bridge




From top, left to right: Charlie McConalogue TD, Barry Cowen TD, Jim O’Callaghan TD during government formations talks last year; Derek Mooney

On Monday, Derek Mooney speculated on the possible outcome  of a deal between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael suggesting water charges were dead for both parties.

Derek writes:

While the agreement on the future funding of domestic water as hammered out at the Oireachtas committee is not a bad one – the issue now is more about the process and the path to its arrival.

It proves the truth of the old adage, usually attributed to Bismarck: if you want to keep your appetite then there are two things you should never watch being made: laws and sausages.

The Committee report does include an important climbdown from the government that now accepts that there should be a future referendum on the public ownership of Irish Water.

The fate of individual metered water charges was sealed politically at the last election and sealed technically at the committee with the evidence given by the officials from Scottish Water.

Scotland does not have individual metering, the charge comes from the council tax (in our case from income tax) and they are held to be in compliance with EU Directives.

Most discussion at the Committee since that evidence has been a proxy battle between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael fought on extremely narrow grounds via lawyers and competing legal advice.

The outcome was a draw nil all draw, not that the result matters too much as the crowds had been so frustrated and irritated by the carry-on on the pitch that they stopped watching and went home ages ago.

The only outstanding questions are: why did no one in Government look at the Scottish model before now and what was all that furore and activity between 2011 and 2016?

Expensive wasted water under the bridge it seems.

Derek Mooney is a communications and public affairs consultant. He previously served as a Ministerial Adviser to the Fianna Fáil-led government 2004 – 2010. His column appears here usually every Monday. Follow Derek on Twitter: @dsmooney

Earlier: They Think It’s All Over

Monday: Pointless Water Torture

36 thoughts on “Water Under The Bridge

    1. martco

      and I do really believe it will be Dav

      and I’m hoping the one positive thing that has come out of a light being shone on the endless endless lies deceit mistreatment and contempt that the usual suspects (FF FG LAB) have perpetrated over the years since I’ve been alive and aware of politics is that the voter might just get angry enough now to force a proper change

      I’ve made my mind up what to do come next available GE

      I’m just amazed that anyone bought FF story at any point on this particular issue (FG are FG…their blend of corruption and aim is in plain sight for everyone to see….but FF rebranding I think failed today and we should be thankful for that)

      2 cheeks of same arse as u say but what did anyone expect?

      1. Sheik Yahbouti

        Martco, I commend you on your excellent post. May it be so. It’s up to us, you know.

  1. Sheik Yahbouti

    Your question is easily answered, Mr. Mooney. Government did not look at the Scottish model because funding of water services through central or local authority taxes would not have allowed for the privatisation that was so obviously the aim from the very beginning. Started by Fianna Fail and enthusiastically embraced by Fine Gael..

    1. classter

      The Scottish model is crap.

      There should, of course, be some link between level of use and amount paid.

  2. curmudegon

    Wow this article really asks a question to sidestep the reality that Irish Water was simply another entity set up to extract tax from citizens and enrich the already very rich. Hence the appointment of John Tierney to CEO and the siteserve contracts for DOB.

    1. TheDude

      The meters must be near end of life now, I dearly hope someone is contracted to replace them

    2. Sheik Yahbouti

      Not forgetting that Mr Mooney was an “Adviser” to FF when they hatched the plan to sell off the nation’s water.

  3. gringo

    Fianna Fail were upset that their scrotes didn’t get the gig.Either that or they were badly advised.

  4. Ratatattat

    Even though they are like two oul wans for once I agree with both jusayinlike and dav here. Even worse is that lads like Derek get to make a living as a “consultant ” presiding over these lamentable excuses for representative parties

  5. Steve

    Important clarification needs to be made between Scotland and Ireland.

    Collecting water charge through council tax in Scotland is not the same as collecting through general taxation in Ireland.

    The water element of the Scottish council tax is ring fenced for funding Scottish water. It’s a line item on the bill. Scottish councils are basically a middle man – they pass all cash collected to Scottish water.

    With Irish general taxation, VAT, VRT etc it all gets put into one pot to fund roads, hospitals, teachers etc. Only LPT has element of service following the money – I.e money goes to Local authority receiving in area.

      1. Steve

        Im not expressing an opinion – just pointing out a fact. I’d like IW in the constitution. I accept water charges are gone etc etc.

        But this is an opinion….The above is why I reckon the Scots are deemed compliant with EU law – even though their model isn’t connected to usage, i.e more valuable gaffs don’t use more water, it’s down to occupancy – they still have a ring fenced funding model for water services. We don’t. But maybe we should. That would probably get us by Brussels

        1. Sheik Yahbouti

          Except Steve that this dishonest Government didn’t “ring fence” LPT. Large parties of Dublin’s LPT were siphoned off to other counties. They can’t even be trusted to correctly administer that much.

          1. Sheik Yahbouti

            Three things: 1. The hint is in the title LOCAL property tax. 2. Larger authorities have much more services alleged to be provided – plus since you’re fond of googling, have a look at some of the ‘junkets ‘ complaints re Donegal and other counties. 3. See para 8 of what you posted. None of this was described prior to the imposition of LPT. dishonesty on the part of Government and not ’eminently fair ‘.

  6. GiggidyGoo

    When, at the beginning, it was stated that IW was being prepared for privatisation, the alarm bells rang. And since then, Fianna Gael, Fine Fáil, Labwhore have all avoided addressing the referendum question. They’ll address very very quickly anything to do with penalty points and tax collection (LPF anyone?). But putting a referendum about a natural resource required for maintaining life? No….Dinah awaits his cut.

          1. GiggidyGoo

            Nice policy paper – co-written by a PPP in a certain golf resort near Thomastown by two people that accidentally met (at breakfast) but who were seen having a discussion the night before

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