Watering It Down
In my parents and grandparents time they always had running water in their homes. When the British left us there remained behind a Victorian water supply structure and the new Irish State simply assumed control of it. The workers who operated the supply remained in their jobs and the water continued to flow.
In those days each citizen paid their taxes to maintain the State and the lump sum of those taxes were doled out to the various arms of the State from central taxation. For water services this meant a subvention to the local authorities around the country to cover the cost of providing local supplies. It was never free because it couldn't be and rates of taxation went up as each arm of the State incurred increasing costs. So your parents and mine all paid water taxes through they were never given that name. The money just came out of the tax take.
If you think about it though, how could it ever have been free? Somebody had to pay for it and the politicians do not have any money that we don't give them through our taxes. So the ordinary citizen has always paid for their water. This then is the underlying fallacy about "Irish Water," the new so-called utility. It is a brazen effort to extort a water tax twice. Over half of the population has seen that and refused to pay. Since the beginning of this fiasco the Government has bluffed and blustered in an attempt to bullshit us into it. They have lied, threatened and pleaded with us to no avail. They have walked themselves into a crisis, (for them), through this effort at extortion. It is no exaggeration to suggest that Irish Water could end the hopes of this coalition for re-election.
Contrary to popular opinion, water is not a precious commodity in this country. Fresh water rains down on us all year round and it has a natural system of re-cycling itself. Our Atlantic position ensures this will continue. Ireland, in fact, could become a huge exporter of fresh water to those countries that have a real shortage and thus earn itself the kind of real money that could offer us all free water here for the first time in the history of the State. That would be an imaginative solution for all.
But our bureaucrats don't do imaginative. Instead they set up a company that seeks to punish us for their own short-sighted stupidity. Given the go-ahead yesterday for the company to borrow another €550M the total borrowings for Irish Water now stand at €850M. In their first round of invoicing they took in just €30.5M, (http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/water/irish-water-crisis/total-debt-at-underpressure-irish-water-now-tops-850m-31387172.html). Had that €850M been given to the Local Authorities to improve the infrastructure then progress could have been made already. Instead this money has been pissed away.
It is critical to understand that Irish Water does NOT supply you with water. Your supply is coming from where it always came from. Irish Water is an expensive "Metering & Billing" company, pure and simple. They have been authorized to send you an invoice for something you already pay for through your taxes. Irish Water is a scam on a grand scale. What is truly telling however is that Irish Water is being treated by Government almost as if it is a State or Semi-State company whereas it is an off-budget item supposed to be a self-supporting private company. You do not need to be a cynic to see that it is being fattened up for quick sale to a foreign investor. To understand just how frightening that could be, I urge you to read both of these articles, (http://andrewgavinmarshall.com/2013/04/22/human-beings-have-no-right-to-water-and-other-words-of-wisdom-from-your-friendly-neighborhood-global-oligarch/), and (http://action.storyofstuff.org/sign/nestle_water_privatization_push). If Nestle or its like were to gain control of a private Irish Water then all of us will suffer, take my word for it. As the articles suggest, "Safe water will become a privilege only affordable for the wealthy."
It may have started out as a water issue but it has developed into a political problem and the Government are terrified of backing down in the face of so much opposition. It has become Enda Kenny's ego and political legacy versus the good of the electorate. (http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/gene-kerrigan/theyre-losing-the-game-but-they-have-to-fight-on-31387177.html). It is laughable that so many many people gratefully accepted the €100 grant/bribe to pay the charge and yet they took in less than they paid out in that bribe. As such then the big question is, will the Irish Water debacle puncture Enda's ego at the General Election. As the man might say himself, It is a hard decision," I don't think.