The strong suspicion is that Irish Water was set up to sell the utility to a large Corporate for a one-off bonanza of cash. But for any Multi-National to be interested they would need to see an infrastructure already in place, (tick√), trained staff in situ, (tick√), and masses of paying customers signed up and trained to fork out for water, (Aaaagh!).
The Government repeatedly says they don't want to sell Irish Water but stubbornly refuse to enshrine that fact in the Constitution, meaning nobody believes the lying bastards. The people stood up for themselves and by refusing to pay, they have made Irish Water an unattractive proposition for a greedy Multi-National Company.
That is the current stalemate and even sitting Ministers are now admitting that we always paid for water through central taxation. So where do we go from here. I am one of the hundreds of thousands who refused to pay but I am not an unreasonable man. I have given some thought to how we might proceed so if you'll bear with me, you might even be able to add some helpful ideas of your own.
Firstly, fresh water is certainly not a precious commodity in this country. We are drowning in the stuff and it is free. I suspect that per capita we are one of the richest countries on earth when it comes to fresh water. So the product is not the problem but the distribution of it to the businesses and homes around the country is. We have too few collection points with water purification plants and the pipeline structures were laid down in Victorian times.
To my way of thinking then there are two major construction projects needed and both will incur large one-off capital costs which are not currently covered by the central taxation we all pay for the supply of water. The projects would be on the pipelines and the creation of many new collection points for water including adjacent purification plants. A costing needs to be done to discover what these two projects would come to on a one-off basis and whatever it is forms the bill we will all need to pay to ensure fresh water for the ever expanding population over the next hundred years.
That is a reasonable if unexpected expense for us all and if this infrastructure development is commissioned and built over a ten year period, our country can borrow the necessary finance to cover it. However, those borrowings would need to be repaid and that is where all of us come in. I can honestly see the need for a temporary tax whether it be on income, an increase in VAT on spending or even a direct monthly invoice to every home in the country but it must only be for the duration of the construction. The day the last one goes live the tax must stop immediately.
In that way, we could modernize our water supply system and then the central taxation we already pay for it can continue without any need for further bills being incurred by home owners. Indeed, we have so much fresh water occurring naturally in Ireland that we could bottle and sell as much as we like overseas. The demand for fresh bottled water has been on the rise worldwide for the last fifty years and if we did it right it could make Irish Water a profitable company for the State.
To bring the citizens willingly on board for such a project/s the Government would first have to enshrine our fresh water in the constitution as a commodity owned by the people and never to be sold at any time in the future. I believe such a move would tip the doubters in favour of modernization with all the costs we will incur. It is sensible and after the bank fiasco and the State bailouts, we have already indebted our children and grandchildren and they will be paying our debts far into the future. So let's, at least, do something worthwhile for them now and guarantee their fresh water for a hell of a long time.
I don't know about you but I'd sign up for that.