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Sarah writes:

Important news for everyone in Ireland who objects to paying for water. Irish Water are paying thousands of pounds per day to EY “management consultants ” from London and also paying for their hotel accommodation in the Shelbourne and Intercontinental hotels in Dublin.



78 thoughts on “Ask A Broadsheet Reader

  1. Kolmo

    We all do pay for water – more than once. Object or not. Nothing is free – It’s tax-payer funded. We all pay taxes. A lot.


    1. Rob_G

      Given that this payment model is so effective, should we extend it to other things like electricity, gas, petrol or food?

      1. Boj

        Oh gawwwd….this one again…
        What is not effective is how it has been and is currently spent as is/was always the case when those in power get their hands on our money. It’s easy to waste cash that’s not yours, ask any politician. Where’s the Minister for Accountability? Retired on 4 pensions?

        1. Rob_G

          “Oh gawwwd….this one again…”

          – you see, I have never come across a good argument why any of these should be paid from general taxation; but then people seem not to extend the logic to include water…

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            You have but you’re a right wing ideologue who doesn’t *want* to hear anything that contradicts your hilariously naive world view.

          2. Boj

            Well the plan was to create Irish Water with it’s own billing model, much like elec/gas, however there was no intention to lower general taxation in line with this transfer of funding..where’s the logic there? There was no logic in any facet of the Irish Water debacle, just another money grab and sorting out ‘the lads’ as per usual.

          3. GiggidyGoo

            People buy food out of their income.
            People buy water out of their income. The ‘bill’ is Income Tax, USC, PRSI, Levies etc. Water is a product that is supplied and it’s provision and is included in these ‘bill’.
            Same as your restaurant bill. You don’t see a separate one for supplying the oils, sauces etc. that are used, or the shoe leather of the chef.

        2. Cian

          Boj. Should the water infrastructure be sold off then? If the public service can’t run it efficiently surely the private sector will.

          1. Boj

            No, the water network has been grossly mismanaged – my point is that there was no accountability for this mis-management. If anything, those involved were rewarded! Private sector will run it efficiently and for profit! Would you like your air supply provided to you for profit also?

          2. Cian

            Boj. You stated the “water network was grossly mismanaged”. I asked by whom.
            You made a very general statement. I’m asking for clarification.

  2. Owen

    First, EY are Ireland and London based, with offices in both. Second, IW are a useless group of hopeless dopes, so I am delighted to hear they have brought a decent consultant to the table rather then burning more cash on trying to do things themselves.

    1. Blonto

      EY were complicate in signing off on banks audits. These same banks had to be bailed out costing 64billion. Oh and they were consulted on the bailout of the banks that they incorrectly signed off on.

      They’re decent alright. Ordinary Decent Criminals?

    2. gerry

      It says the EY consultants are from London. EY having an office in Dublin doesn’t disprove that. There is no source cited so I don’t know either way.

  3. rotide

    I would really like just once someone to explain to me the difference between water and electricity when it comes to public services like this. I know i’m very late to the party with this question but with IW dead in the water , I’m wondering will we look at dismantling the ESB next and pay for that through general taxation.

          1. pedeyw

            Except not really under Irish Water: “The Customer shall not allow the discharge of rainwater run-off from roofs, paved areas or other surfaces into any Sewer, except as may otherwise be agreed in advance with Irish Water in writing.” So you can collect it and maybe drink it but you can’t use it it clean or cook or anything that allows it to run off without written permission.

          2. pedeyw

            Rainwater run off and compost/general waist are hardly the same thing. Also, the sewers are designed to deal with rainwater as well as private waste water, and would be regardless, so why the written permission?

          3. Cian

            @pedeyw: I don’t know why IW did that.

            Moyst was trying to suggest that one could grow ones own food – and I was countering that one could capture one’s own water.

            The waste removal (food/water) point is moot. Anyways after washing your newly-grown carrots in your freshly captured water – you shouldn’t waste it – instead use it to water the rest of your carrots!

          4. MoyestWithExcitement

            The argument was that because we pay for wood, we *should* pay for water. Except we don’t actually have to pay for food. So we don’t have to pay for water. You were actually helping my point. Of course you didn’t see that though because someone’s a cranky pants.

          5. pedeyw

            And my point was that Irish water aren’t really giving you the choice to use your own water. You can, but only at their discretion.

          6. ReproBertie

            Rain water is not supposed to run directly into the sewer. That’s the purpose of the IW clause you’re highlighting.

            If you capture that rain water and use it to flush a toilet there’s no issue. If you have the downpipe from your roof running directly into a sewer there is.

        1. Cian

          @MoyestWithExcitement: “The argument was that because we pay for food, we *should* pay for water. Except we don’t actually have to pay for food. So we don’t have to pay for water.”

          You’re not wrong, but you forgot the end of the sentences:
          We don’t actually have to pay for food “if we grow it ourselves“. We don’t have to pay for water “if we collect it ourselves“.

          The corollary of this is
          We have to pay for food if we don’t grow it ourselves.
          We have to pay for water if we don’t collect it ourselves”.

          1. Rob_G

            I do hope that Moyest let’s us know how he gets on with his switch to drinking untreated rainwater.

            Moyest, maybe set up a livejournal?

    1. Blonto

      Trolling moron. Or just an simpleton who doesn’t know the difference between electricity supply and water supply?

      1. Cian

        @Blonto: Perhaps you can explain the difference between electricity supply and water supply? Namely why one should be paid by the individual based on usage, and the other collectively?

    2. rotide

      So in a turn of events that shocked entirely no-one, not a single person answered the question.

      Well done chaps.

      1. Ian Sultan (National Intelligence)

        Water is used for essential stay-alivey things like cooking, cleaning and drinking – and we all generally use about the same amount. So a standard charge, payed out of taxes, makes perfect sense.

        Electricity, on the other hand, can be used to power a literally bottomless list of unnecessary luxurious nonsense, and new and staggering ways to take the p1ss would no doubt be concocted on a daily basis. Hence the need to charge based on individual usage.

        And tomorrow, we’ll do the letter ‘F’.

        1. rotide

          That’s interesting. Two of my neighbours have their sprinklers on every day in the summer. A lot of my neighbours have a lot more people living in thier house than I do in mine. Explain to me again how I generally use the same amount of water as they do?

          1. Ian Sultan (National Intelligence)

            It doesn’t matter how many people are in a particular household, or not, if every individual pays their share through taxation.

            Would those entire two over-zealous sprinklers bump up the average usage figures even a jot? I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who even owns a sprinkler system tbh, but a fair few who could show a bit more love to their WC, for example – (minor) swings and roundabouts… Let’s at least try to be rational here.

          2. anne

            “sprinklers on every day in the summer” lol telling porkies i see again Rotsy.. unless you’re living in Arizona.. you’re a class A bullsh*tter.

          3. Rob_G

            @ Ian Sultan

            The problem with having no water charges is that there is no incentive for conservation. If someone is already paying the top rate of tax, why would they not water their massive lawn as often as they like?

            “Water is used for essential stay-alivey things like cooking, cleaning and drinking”

            – food is also quite a ‘stay-alivey’ commodity, but we still all pay for that ourselves.

          4. Spaghetti Hoop

            There is still NO incentive from Irish Water to turn off the tap and conserve water – which is a renewable resource in Ireland by the way, but not a well-managed one.

          5. Nigel

            I doubt there’s anyone who think IW is doing any of the things a water utility is supposed to do. I personally think the only rational argument against setting up a water utility is ‘Look at the mess they made when they tried to set up a water utility.’ Mind you I think it’s a stronger argument against everyone responsible ever having a position of power or authority ever again, but there you go.

          6. Rob_G

            @ Hoop

            – You’re right, it doesn’t the way it charges now. I think that pay-by-use should have been introduced immediately, personally.

          7. rotide

            Are you saying that a household of 7 people with 5 kids uses the same amount of water as a household of 2 people?

            It’s entirely possible that the household of 2 people will be paying more tax while using far less water. Maybe the household of 2 don’t have a garden while the household of 7 have a large garden. These are all examples along the lines of your electricity examples (which I agree with).

            Anne, It’s mad the things we have in the big smoke. It’s not all cider and heroin you know.

        2. Cian

          I don’t agree with your electricity usage point.
          I would say that most households use a similar range of electricity each month (excluding people with electric cars). The biggest differentiator would be those that use electricity for heating.
          As for misusing electricity to take the píss – lots of people have leaky taps/toilets and don’t get them fixed. Is that not the same thing?

          1. A snowflake's chance in hell

            Who are “lots of people”? Can you give us a count or tally?

            In my experience the only people who do this are farmers who operate faulty cattle drinkers. Is that what you meant?

            In general anyone with a leaky garden supply for example in an urban setting will create a problem for them or neighbours which can be deal with under the law as a public nuisance, in the same way as disrespectful littering. Maybe where you come from there are ‘lots of people’ who do this, but that says potentially more about you than your contrarian, nonsensical badger-baiting hasn’t already revealed.

          2. Ian Sultan (National Intelligence)

            Ah c’mon now Cian, be honest, can you just imagine what would happen if a blanket rate for electricity was brought in. Central heating systems would run from August to June, with windows cracked if it got ‘a bit close’. Boiling water tanks would stand guard 24/7, just in case. Container ships full of clothes dryers would suddenly clog our bays. Little electric blankies for Rover, Felix and Tony the turtle would sell out in seconds. Then add in every other electrical gizmo ever invented.

            You’re probably right that most households currently use a similar-ish amount – and that’s because they pay for it – show me a child in the land who isn’t screamed at to turn lights off, for example, and they cost micro cents to run.

            There’s just no comparison with water

          3. Rob_G

            I find it strange that seem to perfectly understand why it would not be a good idea to charge for electricity this way, but fail to see that the same drawbacks apply to charging the exact same way for water…

          4. Ian Sultan (National Intelligence)

            The same drawbacks? Seriously?

            What possible motives would the average person have for over using water?

          5. Rob_G

            What possible motives would the average person have for over using electricity?

            Well, they don’t, but the average person tends not so give a shoite about the environment, so long as it doesn’t cost them any money. Any office building that you walk past late at night that has a load of lights left on is testament to this phenomenon.

          6. Ian Sultan (National Intelligence)

            Have you amnesia?

            I literally just listed several motivations for the excessive use of electricity, which you agreed with.

            Office blocks and a dozen rich a-holes sprinkling their private golf courses does not answer my question of what would possibly motivate the average person to over use water.

            The whole conservation angle is a disingenuous crock

          7. Rob_G

            I know – I keep pointing out that we are making the same argument (only you for electricity, and I for water), and yet you fail to see it. I’m afraid I can’t help you any further.

          8. Ian Sultan (National Intelligence)

            You’re hilarious Rob, I’ll give you that.

            My argument, as you well know, is that electricity can be over used in countless ways. Not so with water.

            Nightly jacuzzi orgies on the roof? Personal water parks on the patio. Unfortunately, I don’t think so….

            Bye now

          9. Cian

            A quick websearch suggests that the average household uses ~250l per day in Ireland.

            I already mentioned dripping taps. If you have a slow-leak tap that has 1 drop every 3 seconds, that adds up to 7 litres per day. One slow-leak tap adds 2.8% waste per household. At a minimum a household has 7 taps [kitchen sink x 2, bathroom sink x2, shower x2 + toilet (I’m including the toilet cistern as a tap)] then add 3 more for additional loos, and 5 more for en-suites. That’s a lot of potential for drips.

            I don’t know the percentages for Ireland but this US site suggests “ten% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons [340L] or more per day” which is more than the average Irish household consumes!

  4. Vote Rep #1

    Can Sarah explain why this is a bad thing? What are they discussing or are we just to assume that everything IW does is bad? And when something goes wrong due to inaction by IW, this is then also bad?

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      IW’s money is ours. They are spending it on 5 star hotels for English accountants. Why do you need someone to explain to you how one might view that unfavourably?

      1. martco

        +300 (per night b&b)

        Ok maybe the OP could have worded it a bit better but what you have written up there is exactly the scenario! whatever column it’s coming out of IW are burning big money like nothing’s happened and I’d like to know on what exactly seeing as it’s YOUR/MINE/OUR money. And it ain’t being spent on pipes is it??

        Why are IW still in existence? Farce.

        I can’t believe some of the troll style snidery above over this, Jesus seriously wept (that’s be some commodity, wha?)

      2. martco

        oh and by the by let’s not forget who ERNST AND YOUNG are

        Anglos finest auditors

        EY my botty :) you can do all the fancy smanchy branding reworks you like but this is who were talking about here ffs

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