Internal party rift casts further uncertainty on the farce that Irish Water has become


The Irish Water debacle is certainly one for the books, featuring as a test case on ‘How to shove an unwanted utility down a country’s throat.’

Further controversy surrounding the moribund utility has arisen today, as Fianna Fail TD Barry Cowen seems to once again confirm that the issue of Irish Water is ‘red line’, meaning Fianna Fail will no enter into any coalition government unless both the charges and the company itself are put to sleep.

He said “Our position on Irish Water is in our manifesto. We haven’t entered any negotiations yet,”

“Our manifesto contains more pages than the section on water charges.”

Last week, Mr. Cowen said in two occasions that his party will insist on commitments made regarding water charges (i.e., scrapping Irish Water and suspending charges for at least five years.)

However, party leader Micheal Martin later appeared to contradict this, and making a somewhat typical U-turn and saying that the charges were not ‘red-line.’

In the meantime, most people have by now reportedly cancelled their direct debits with Irish Water, in light of its doomed future.

The protracted death of a stillborn utility: No refunds for those who have paid their water bills, if Irish Water is scrapped


From day one, the inception and spawning of Irish Water was a calamitous disaster that went from bad to worse. Controversy after controversy, and bill after bill, the grave for the most wretched utility in Irish history has become a blackened pit to swallow it whole, along with millions of taxpayer money.

And in further proof that Enda Kenny sees the Irish population as specks of dirt on the underside of his moccasins, only now that Fine Gael sees itself in a compromised position, ruminations come from the party’s bowels that ‘it’s willing to talk about water’, despite the continuous popular opposition from the very beginning.

And the icing on the cake on Irish Water’s tortuous path to extinction is that those who have paid their bills will get no refund when it all comes crashing down in a short time.

Fianna Fáil have said that the scrapping of water charges is a ‘red line’ issue if the party is to enter into any coalition with Fine Gael.

The king is dead, long live the king! Irish Water boss John Tierney set to retire


Irish Water is poised to undergo a catharsis in its troubled existence.

The company is set to lose its top man, John Tierney, who will say cheerio to the spectre of public derision after nearly 40 years of service, no doubt collecting a tidy sum before leaving the building.

Irish Water itself is gearing up for its new phase of development, and the top brass is reportedly working on a “re-branding” of the company, in an effort to rid itself of its own wretched reputation.

The cost of such re-branding has not yet been revealed, but proposals will go before the Government in the near future.

The latest poll revealed that 60pc of the population abhor Irish Water and believe it should be removed from existence altogether.

The Irish Bank Guarantee: A night of infamy


It’s now one hour to midnight. Sixty minutes to destiny.

It’s the last night of September, 2008. On this night, Government Buildings play silent witness to the unravelling of Irish history. The drama unfolds as the citizenry prepares for bed. The main players in this tragedy scuttle about shrouded by darkening skies, as if the absence of light somehow justifies their impending act of financial treason.

Now it’s 30 minutes to the end of times. Time ticks down fast and hard. The blade of fate is about to thunder down on the nation’s neck.

It’s a cold night outside, about 3 degrees. Even the weather is unkind tonight. Yet, nature holds no grudges against the country’s population, nor does it have any hidden agenda, unlike the characters who, acting purely upon their own selfish instincts of self preservation are about to demolish the hopes of an entire nation and lay waste to a whole generation of Irish.

Ten minutes to the threshold of madness. 600 seconds.

Things happen faster now. The players of Ireland’s ill thought out financial final solution gather around the table, and talk.

It is now two weeks earlier. Lehman Brothers bank, once a mighty titan, spectacularly collapses and goes bankrupt. Nobody expected this to happen, nor had it even been considered by anyone as a possible outcome. At the other side of the Atlantic, Anglo Irish Employees watch their Lehman colleagues hurriedly exit the building carrying their belongings inside cardboard boxes. The writing is on the wall.

Around the table, a cabal of bankers and government representatives discuss the half truths and outright lies of a banking system that has reached critical mass. An unstoppable chain reaction is about to take hold of the country’s financial pipework, its momentum reaching terminal velocity in a matter of minutes.

It is 2007. The so called credit crunch. Irish banks have lent beyond deposits taken and their liquidity has evaporated. The void within the system grows larger with every passing day. The issue of Irish banking turns into a poisoned chalice, and soon we will all be satiated from it.

The traitors talk, because that’s what traitors do. The traitors also lay blame on others, and assume no responsibility for the government-sanctioned piece of abhorrent legislation christened as the Bank Guarantee. It’s just what must be done to safeguard the soundness of Irish banking. Within five minutes, they will rubber stamp a nation’s generational burden of around €64 billion. The financial death knell for Ireland is about to toll loudly from within Government Buildings.

It is now September 29, 2008. 24 hours before the end of days. Two well known players of the Irish financial landscape, Sean Fitzpatrick and David Drumm, scuttle about Dublin’s city centre calling at doors behind which they know money is plentiful. It’s cash they’re after, plain and simple. During the month of September, ever since those Lehman employees streamed out of a fallen giant, Anglo Irish Bank has been hemorraghing deposits to the tune of €1 billion a day. The bank’s shares are next to worthless, having lost about 46 percent of their former value. If money is not found pronto, the jig is up in two days’ time at best. This is a last ditch attempt to save an apostate idol.

Fitzpatrick and Drumm enter and exit these financial institutions via back entrances. There is no fanfare or red carpet receptions. An outside spectator could be forgiven for thinking they were the fax machine repair guys. Yet, these people’s one track mind deviated not from their one and only desire; money, and fast.

And yet, their requests are politely turned down, first by Bank of Ireland, then AIB, and finally by Irish Life & Permanent. Anglo’s lack of liquidity and inability to offer collaterals are quoted as reasons for this denial. The thwarted and deposed kings are pushed against a wall with nowhere to go. Hopes of a last minute solution to Anglo’s monumental debacle vanish into the ether. The fate of a nation has been sealed.

The meeting at Government Buildings is in full swing now. Beside Fitzpatrick and Drumm, representatives from Bank of Ireland and AIB are also in attendance. There is no time for niceties, nor there is time to consider the ramifications that a wholesale bank guarantee will have on the Irish nation. All there is time for is getting the Government to cough up the dough, and take an Everest-size pile of private debt off their backs and politely mount it on the saddle of the Irish peoples as a whole. In a well-rehearsed pharisaic act, the bankers lay their demands in front of the purse holders.

It is now two minutes to midnight. One hundred and twenty seconds upon which the future of Ireland rides headlong into darkness.

The bankers end their exposition. If the money is not forthcoming, the Irish banking system will face the business end of the financial Grim Reaper’s scythe in a matter of days. They must act. Now. And guarantee every last unsecured penny in circulation.

It’s one minute to midnight now. The detonation of the Bank Guarantee nuclear device is imminent. The seventh seal is about to be broken, and a cohort of angels shall blow their trumpets one after the other. Like Abbadon, the Irish Government shall hail a far-reaching, nationwide plague of financial pestilence.

It is now six years since the Doomsday clock struck midnight. The hands of time stir the ashes of their vengeance…

A tax too far


In 1944, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery conceived and planned Operation Market- Garden, whose goal was to bypass the Siegfried line and trap the German 15th Army, then cross the Rhine and swiftly advance to Berlin. In Montgomery’s eyes, the operation would result in a decisive victory for the Allies and a quick conclusion to the war.

Not quite so, as history would have it. For several reasons, Operation Market-Garden ended in a resounding failure. It was indeed a bridge too far for the Allies.

Last week, the water supply in my locality was temporarily shut off while a leak was being repaired in Limerick city. On that same week, tap water at my place of work had an unsightly brownish hue. In some areas of Co. Clare, it has a yellow tint instead. Drops in water pressure are commonplace, not to mention the dangerously high fluoride content.

Yet, despite all this, our Government has seen fit to grace us all with a Water Tax. In other countries this fact would be seen as a seemingly incongruous conundrum, when taking into account all the aforementioned issues. Not in here though. A new tax on the liquid1 manna sent from heaven is just the thing. And why not waste a few extra million in setting up a new quango to manage it all while we’re at it? About 180 million euro of public money was spent in the set-up of Irish Water, a great chunk of it (86 million, to be precise) was taken up by consultancy fees.

Water is a refreshing necessity kindly given to us by Nature. It cannot be manufactured, just as it cannot be stopped if a flood hits. Nevertheless, we need water to live. In fact, one of the reasons life is so abundant on planet Earth is that very same liquid gold which the Irish Government, through its puppet quango -Irish Water- now wants us all to fork out good money for.

But other European countries have been paying water charges for decades, I hear you say. True. But these countries have a proper infrastructure in place, one that is properly maintained, does not leak like a sift, and usually does not make you sick just by drinking the stuff. In 2007, for instance, an outbreak of waterborne cryptosporidiosis in Galway made over 200 people ill. A boil water notice remained in effect for 5 months, including  the peak tourist season, with the corresponding loss of revenue to the hospitality business, damage to the country’s reputation, etc.

The spectacular demise of the so-called Celtic Tiger brought about dramatic changes in Irish society. And through the gross mismanagement of the flailing economy by successive Governments, the country handed over its economic sovereignty to European loan sharks. Among the many conditions such group imposed on us in exchange for cash was the introduction of a new water charge. The Government, never one to shy away from pandering to Euro whims, gladly concurred.

Such charge has faced stiff opposition from the very beginning, from all corners of the country. Scuffles have broken out everywhere, water meters have been forcibly removed, and even the Taoiseach was hounded by water charge protesters during a visit to Limerick. People are rising against a new tax by stealth.

Irish Water itself, the Government owned body tasked with managing the installation and maintenance of new water has been embroiled in controversy over set-up costs and overblown consultancy fees from its inception. John Tierney, head of Irish Water, always insisted that the Government was fully aware of such exorbitant fees from the outset. At the time, however, ministers claimed they ‘heard it on the radio’.

Whatever the case may be, Irish Water are here to stay. lt is claimed that 115,000 meters have already been installed around the country. Precise details of exactly how much of our money will be taken from us by this new utility company have yet to emerge. Also,  it was originally claimed -before the local and European elections- that every child in the country would receive a free water allowance of 104 litres per day, which equates to 38,000 liters per year). Now, based on their own research, Irish Water claim that children appear to consume less water than originally believed. Hence, they are attempting to reduce this allowance.

The Government are treading dangerous water (pun fully intended) with this one. With a little bit of luck, it will prove a tax too far.