Irish Water – A typical Irish fiasco

First things first. There were, allegedly (depending on who you ask in Fianna Fail these days) two underlying reasons to set up Irish Water. First was to invest in our Victorian era water and sewage infrastructure, secondly was conservation. By having metering and charges, we would all be less flaithúlach when washing our nether regions and cleaning the spuds. It is a popular left and right wing delusion that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and general uselessness. We could’t be further from the truth. Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money. Let me give you an example of this elaborate planning.

To date, the cost of putting 893,000 meters in the ground has cost the state €465 million. This includes towns in Ireland without proper drinking water. Remember all those towns that had boil water notices? Those were some of the first towns in Ireland to have been metered. Castlerea Town residents who had no drinking water for up to four years, were left wondering if Irish Water were literally taking the piss, after their homes were selected for water meters. Why did they have no drinking water? There was a parasite found in the water called Cryptosporidium. At best, this parasite will have you running back and forth to the toilet like an Olympic sprinter. Exposure to Cryptosporidium can cause a persistent cough, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. If you smoke 40 a day and like to booze then you might not even know you have it. At worst, it can kill you. Just ask the people of Milwaukee and Wisconsin, 69 people died during an outbreak there in 1993. So what do Irish Water do, they put water meters in a town where they can’t even drink the stuff in case it kills you. It’s no wonder Irish Water have spent €316,948 since January 2014 on PR firms. If there is an exception to the rule there is such a thing as bad PR, Irish water embody it.

Lets talk bad PR. The latest PR nightmare for the government is that it turns out Irish Water have been paying on average €5,000 in bonuses to all of it’s 675 staff. This despite Irish Water not collecting or issuing any bills on domestic users for the last few months. Irish water have also been spending your hard earned taxes on providing specialist fitness lessons for staff who avail of an in-house gym. Classes are said to be mandatory to comply with “health and safety regulations”. I have a fitness recommendation that could save the tax payers a few bob. How about we send Irish water staff door to door to collect those unpaid bills. Being chased up and down the streets of Ireland by irate customers will have them fit as a fiddle in no time. I can’t guarantee their safety but they will be fit. We’re in useless quango territory here. Did we not learn anything from the FAS fiasco. How can you justify giving out bonuses to company staff employed by the state that have already been labelled redundant by the very government and people they are meant to serve?

The average punter has more trust issues with Irish water than a cheating spouse. There have been numerous data protection breaches. Lies about overrun costs. We were told €50 million was being spent on consultants for setting up Irish Water. It later emerged that €86 million would be spent on consultants, contractors and legal advice. They also wanted our PPS numbers, this was after Irish Water sent 6,239 letters with incorrect names to customers. The letters asked customers to confirm their personal details at the wrong addresses. Carlsberg don’t do irony but if they did……… The minister in charge at the time, Phil Hogan said “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs”. The jury delivered it’s verdict on the sincerity of Hogan’s ignorance and Enda had to ship Hogan off to Brussels for his own safety.

Personally I have never objected to the principle for paying for water, but if you tell me, my tax is being spent on fitness instructors and unmerited bonuses for civil servants then you’re going to lose a supporter. Dublin’s water supply has been in trouble for many years because of shortages and an aging infrastructure. A 150 year old tunnel at Callow Hill, which supplies South Dublin and North Wicklow from Vartry reservoir, is in danger of collapse and won’t be fixed until 2020. In a report the EPA describes water delivery being at risk of failure, with Dublin City Council warned in 2011, that the Callow Hill tunnel could suffer a “partial or total collapse” at any moment. This would result in “significant supply problems for an extended time”. That means the good folk of leafy South county Dublin and North Wicklow will be smelling worse than a toilet bowl that’s just endured an outbreak of Cryptosporidium, for weeks, if not months on end if the tunnel does collapse. You can imagine the restaurants of Dalkey full of people that are literally filthy rich. In county Kerry alone almost 30 water supplies are in need of upgrades. Anyone that’s been to Copper Face Jacks when Kerry are playing in Croke Park will tell you Kerry people smell anyway, but they should at least be allowed a glass of water after a heavy nights drinking. How much is all this upgrading around the country going to cost? Billions is the answer. The Callow hill project is estimated to cost €200 million. Keep in mind the Luas was estimated to cost €288 million but ended up costing almost €800 million. Lets hope they get that tunnel fixed before the thing collapses. The birth rate on the east coast will plummet otherwise, it’ll be like the famine all over again.

Who’s to blame for the Irish water fiasco? Politicians are of course. The far left ran a very effective media campaign to abolish charges. When I say effective, of course I mean their candidates lies were better than the governments. You will pay for Irish water, it might not be called a water charge but you will pay for it through indirect taxes. The country is still broke and borrowing billions just to keep the lights on. If that tunnel that supplies Dublin does collapse you can be assured Richard Boyd Parrot will be demanding to find the money from somewhere so his constituents can have a wash before they vote him out of office. Fianna Fáil are the most duplicitous political party in the history of the state. Ok, the bar is set low but they always manage to crawl under it. If Fianna Fáil were your friend in school they’d be dropping the hand on your nice convent – educated – girlfriend behind the school shed while you were studying hard for your leaving cert. Fianna Fáil fathered Irish water but are now denying paternity. No one is quite sure what they stand for. Democracy is being allowed to vote against the candidate or party you disagree with the most, but no one knows what Fianna Fáil stand for. That’s why they are hugely successful. Fine Gael are in an abusive relationship with Fianna Fail and are now being left to hold the Irish water baby, and will be punished for it at the ballot box. Better to be principled and stick by the charges rather than being seen to be craven to stay in power for powers sake. Go to the polls with a new dynamic leadership and take your chances rather than be hostage to Fianna Fáil. Sinn Fein are Sinn Fein, they will say with a straight face they are against household charges but they always seem to vote for increased household charges in Northern Ireland. But they are consistent, like a petulant child who’s only word is no. As for the Labour Party and Social Democrats, no one cares. They will eventually merge to be one party again.

We now have a semi-state utility that is like a broken cannon. It won’t work and you can’t fire it. It is scrap. If you think Irish Water is expensive now………..wait till they try to scrap it.

About Paul Duggan

Politics, humour, Liberal, Curmudgeon, Rogue. Creator and author of Irish Shades of Grey.
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