View Full Version : The History of Water Privatisation - a Zombie Policy - Dead But WIll Not Lie Down

02-08-2011, 08:10 AM
Todays IT has a piece by a former Dublin water engineer making the case for a water authority, as apparently agreed in the EU/IMF/ECB Memo. (I find it hard to believe they got to that level of discussion so one can presume that it was 'offered' as a gesture of goodwill.....)

The IT piece contains all sorts of guff and some ridiculous crap - for example -

"How many countries do Irish people travel to every year where tap water is not considered suitable for drinking and where the local population drink only the bottled variety?"

Well, answer the question......how many?? Bottled water is either a hangover from the days when they had bad water or bottled water has become a fashion statement....

He goes on to argue for investment in water security. I assume the idea of the authority is to raise money not spend it. Privatisation is not mentioned but it is assumed by many to be the general objective. I've argued elsewhere that there won't be many bidders for Irish water, we have a rubbish network, poor quality (the IT item argues we are up with the best, the EPA wouldn't agree), and you'd inherit all the county councils' personnel....

What exactly would a water authority do?? Another layer of bureaucracy? Will the personnel in the CoCos be kept on board like the HSE affair?? Just why will be have one?

02-08-2011, 08:56 AM
If it happens it will be a debacle, with the government paying more to the privatised company to "fix" the network than it would cost to actually fix the network.

One of the Irish oligarchs will no doubt control the privatised company

C. Flower
02-08-2011, 09:13 AM
It will be required under the IMF/EU Programme. One of the main purposes of the IMF is to break up public resources for exploitation by the private sector.

That is why they are preparing to spend hundreds of millions of public funds on installing water meters.

02-08-2011, 10:11 AM
History teaches, that the IMF always gets hold of the water supply first. It is, after all, the safest bet.

That is why they are preparing to spend hundreds of millions of public funds on installing water meters.

Home owners will have to pay for the installation of water meters.

C. Flower
02-08-2011, 10:24 AM
History teaches, that the IMF always gets hold of the water supply first. It is, after all, the safest bet.

Home owners will have to pay for the installation of water meters.

And those of us who have private wells will have to pay an annual "testing fee"...

IMF programmed countries famously pass laws against gathering water on roofs (traditional in the Med and Africa).

Get ready to River Rock :D

02-08-2011, 10:34 AM
Water harvesting will be criminalised, indeed.

02-08-2011, 11:02 AM
page 12

- Government will prepare proposals for implementation of the recommendations of the independent assessment of transfer of responsibility for water service provision form local authorities to a water utility in consultation with the European Commission Services with a view to starting charging during the EU/IMF Programme period.

Baron von Biffo
02-08-2011, 11:57 AM
If it happens it will be a debacle, with the government paying more to the privatised company to "fix" the network than it would cost to actually fix the network.


The bad state of the network would be an asset rather than a liability for the buyer - A river of taxpayer's money to repair it and a built in excuse for poor quality delivery.

Kev Bar
02-08-2011, 01:14 PM
Are ya going for a pint?

02-08-2011, 01:16 PM
Are ya going for a pint?

Count me in, matey.

Captain Con O'Sullivan
02-08-2011, 06:12 PM
Can't wait for an IMF sponsored bunch of busybodies going around telling farmers that they have to pay for water. Wait for the explosion. Funnily enough as soon as they start wandering on to farmer's private property and telling them that they have to pay a an annual tax or have a water meter that could be the small thing that makes the countryside blow.

I pity the little man from Dublin who might get that job. He'd have a shorter life expectancy than a WWI pilot.

02-08-2011, 08:37 PM
Can't wait for an IMF sponsored bunch of busybodies going around telling farmers that they have to pay for water. Wait for the explosion. Funnily enough as soon as they start wandering on to farmer's private property and telling them that they have to pay a an annual tax or have a water meter that could be the small thing that makes the countryside blow.

I pity the little man from Dublin who might get that job. He'd have a shorter life expectancy than a WWI pilot.

Can we not give the job to a little man from Limerick?


Baron von Biffo
02-08-2011, 09:53 PM
Can we not give the job to a little man from Limerick?


He's probably aware that farmers have had water meters for decades and pay for what they use.

02-08-2011, 10:02 PM
He's probably aware that farmers have had water meters for decades and pay for what they use.

yet another attack on rural Ireland!

Baron von Biffo
02-08-2011, 10:08 PM
yet another attack on rural Ireland!

Farms are rural businesses, they pay for water just like urban businesses. It's equal treatment.

03-08-2011, 02:39 PM
page 12

I presume that is P12 of the prog for gov.?

If so, it doesn't say privatise, it says collect money.... IMO, that is what the IMF wants, money. I don't agree that the IMF requires a privatised source of getting money, in Ireland, even though the IMF has form in that area.

My feeling is that they will try - at least the FG bit will try - to privatise, cue more money for consultants, and will have difficulty getting takers unless they sweeten it. Then the IMF might say, the nett result of the water thing will be less than just charging, so don't privatise with sweeteners. In addition, water charging is, like all taxes, a flexible friend, you can shuffle it up and down, depending on the electoral requirement.

The real value, if there is any, is ecological, metering will be a pay as you use tax, so there will be incentives to collect rainwater, etc. I don't see even a crowd of right wing fundamentalists like FG trying to stop that.

OTOH, where will the readies come from to install the meters?? Have the IMF been told?

22-01-2012, 05:45 PM
Commercial sensitivity (http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2012/01/19/commercial-sensitivity/)

17-04-2012, 04:03 PM
Irish Water will stay in state control con what may according to Phil

Count Bobulescu
17-04-2012, 04:50 PM
A water authority does not automatically have to be private a la the UK. Here’s a model for water and sewer that works pretty well, bar the odd political fight, for a bi-county area of 1,000 sq miles and a population of 1.8 million. Not hugely different from Dublin. It’s the 8th largest in the US and has been around for 90 years. Funding authority is granted/provided by County Councils. A team of politically appointed Commissioners act as Board of Directors. They hire a manager who hires his team.


17-04-2012, 05:01 PM
Were they forced into charging (again) for water in the first place as a condition of IMF 'aid'?

Baron von Biffo
17-04-2012, 05:07 PM
Irish Water will stay in state control con what may according to Phil

For the time being.

17-04-2012, 05:15 PM

Bailout II will see to that.

17-04-2012, 06:21 PM
Been checking out a few bits on Maude Barlow, world leading expert on water and privatisation by the looks of things.



17-04-2012, 08:18 PM
Don,t forget that Bord Gais has already been put up for sale under the Govts Privaitisation of State assets plan.

Might be the reason they got the new Water Company gig.

17-04-2012, 09:20 PM
Interesting to see how the tendering for the contract to install these water meters is handled. A subsidiary of Denis O'Brien's new acquisition, Siteserv,already has a exclusive contract with Bord Gais to service household boilers. They could well be a leading contender when this contract is put into play;)

17-04-2012, 09:28 PM
Hogan said you " will pay through the nose " for wasting water a few months back.

Today, he has no idea about the rates, nope, nothing to do with him

17-04-2012, 09:31 PM
Hogan said you " will pay through the nose " for wasting water a few months back.

Today, he has no idea about the rates, nope, nothing to do with him

It's another hasty announcement under pressure because the Troika arrived in town today. Any old nonsense will do for the moment.

17-04-2012, 10:04 PM
One wonders following the HHC, if they're frontloading this storm and more to come so they can bugger off holidays in two months, from the public eye at least.

Ah Well
17-04-2012, 10:07 PM
For the time being.

Precisely my thoughts upon hearing this

17-04-2012, 11:16 PM
For the time being.

Could be used to add a bit o value to Bord Gais when they get sold in the fire sale...

06-05-2013, 07:43 PM
Good post


When the debate on privatisation in Ireland happens, there were be talk of increased efficiency, reduction of waste, and savings to the taxpayer. Short-term financial gain will likely hold the day. Dr Frank Groome predicts that privatisation will not take place until after public funds have covered the upgrade of the water supply network – “an irreversible and costly investment that no private company could afford or would be willing to pay for”.

The most likely eventual buyer would be one of the major multinational water companies such as Veolia, Suez or Thames Water. Veolia already have a sizable water operation in Ireland. The other likelihood is retaining Irish Water in public ownership, but allowing for competition from private companies. PriceWaterhouseCoopers, who conducted an independent assessment of Ireland’s water provision in 2011, suggested that:

… once Irish Water is well established as a self-funding utility the Government and Regulators may wish to assess international experience of the introduction of competition in water and sewerage services to identify whether Ireland could benefit from competitive markets in the water sector at a later date.

The privatisation of water has had disastrous results in other countries. Two Irish filmmakers, Muireann de Barra and Aisling Crudeen, have made a documentary Water Rising on the impact of privatisation of water in Bolivia. The Bechtel corporation was effectively forced out of the country following a popular revolt against its water policies in the city of Cochabamba – a licence was required to collect rainwater – and the water supply was returned to public ownership. In 2004, the people of Uruguay voted in a constitutional amendment to ensure State ownership of water. This is a suitable but unlikely candidate for consideration as part of Ireland’s current Constitutional Convention. A constitutional commitment would offer far more legal certainty than legislation as to the future of Ireland’s water

19-03-2014, 12:22 PM
interesting, potentially


Commission says yes to first successful European Citizens' Initiative

The Commission today decided to react positively to the first ever successful European Citizens' Initiative, in those areas where it is able to act. Organisers of the Right2Water ECI called on the Commission to ensure that all EU citizens enjoy the right to water and sanitation, to exclude water supply and management of water resources from internal market rules and liberalisation, and to increase its efforts to achieve universal access to water and sanitation around the world.

Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said: "Europe's citizens have spoken, and today the Commission gave a positive response. Water quality, infrastructure, sanitation and transparency will all benefit – for people in Europe and in developing countries - as a direct result of this first ever exercise in pan-European, citizen-driven democracy. I congratulate the organisers on their achievement."

The Commission's reaction is set out in a Communication which starts by outlining the enormous amount of work already done by the EU in the field of water and sanitation. For example, within the EU, it has set ambitious water quality standards, and provided financial support to expand and improve water infrastructure in Member States.

The decision on how best to operate water services is firmly in the hands of the public authorities in the Member States, and the Commission will continue to respect Treaty rules requiring the EU to remain neutral on national decisions governing ownership of water undertakings. Similarly, in international trade negotiations, the Commission will continue to ensure that national, regional and local choices on how to run water services are respected and safeguarded. The unique nature of water and sanitation services in satisfying the basic needs of the population have been consistently acknowledged in EU legislation. Water distribution and supply, as well as wastewater services, are already expressly excluded from the application of the cross-border freedom to provide services. And last year the Commission excluded provision of water services from the Directive on the awarding of concession contracts, as a direct result of public concerns.

Globally, the EU and its Member States currently provide close to €1.5 billion/year for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes in developing countries, making the Union the largest single donor in the world in this area.

In light of the European Citizens' Initiative, the Commission sought to identify any remaining gaps and areas where more efforts - at EU or national level - need to be made in order to address the concerns motivating this citizens' call for action. Today it committed itself to the following concrete steps and new actions in areas that are of direct relevance to the initiative and its goals:

step up efforts towards full implementation of EU water legislation by Member States;

launch an EU-wide public consultation on the Drinking Water Directive to assess the need for improvements and how they could be achieved;

improve information for citizens by further developing streamlined and more transparent data management and dissemination for urban wastewater and drinking water;

explore the idea of benchmarking water quality;

promote structured dialogue between stakeholders on transparency in the water sector;

co-operate with existing initiatives to provide a wider set of benchmarks for water services, improving the transparency and accountability of water services providers by giving citizens access to comparable data on key economic and quality indicators;

stimulate innovative approaches for development assistance (e.g. support for partnerships between water operators and for public-public partnerships) and promote best practices between Member States (e.g. on solidarity instruments);

advocate universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation as a priority area for post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals;

finally, invite the Member States, acting within their own competences, to take account of the concerns raised by citizens through this initiative and encourage them to step up their efforts to guarantee the provision of safe, clean and affordable water to all.


The European Citizens' Initiative was launched in April 2012 as a powerful agenda-setting tool in the hands of citizens. It allows 1 million citizens from at least one quarter of EU Member States to invite the European Commission to take action in areas where the Commission has the power to do so. The first successful ECI, Right2Water, collected 1.68 million signatures, passing minimum thresholds in 13 Member States – far above the legally required minimum. Altogether, more than 5 million EU citizens have now signed up to more than 20 different initiatives.

Communication on the Right2Water ECI:


MEMO on EU international action on water and sanitation:


European Citizens' Initiative website:


Right2Water website:


Frankie Lee
19-03-2014, 12:29 PM
interesting, potentially


Looks like a positive development but indicative of how messed up things are that it is required.

From listening to politicians and hacks on the radio recently the language used in relation to Irish Water has been very commercial sounding.

19-03-2014, 04:33 PM
From the constitution

Provision may also be made by law for the management of land, mines, minerals and waters acquired by the State after the coming into operation of this Constitution and for the control of the alienation, whether temporary or permanent, of the land, mines, minerals and waters so acquired.
What does the last part mean?

C. Flower
07-10-2014, 11:17 AM
The United Nations recognises water as a human right. However, the World Bank and IMF have aggressively used their financial power since the 1980s to leverage privatisation where-ever they can. It is an explictly politicised policy in tune with the neo liberal agenda. Business-friendly governments have been keen to comply for the obvious gains to themselves and cronies. However, as a policy, it has substantially failed and been reversed by re-nationalisations.

In spite of denials, the corporate and centralised frorm of Irish Water is clearly designed for easy privatisation. While at the moment the Government says it does not want to privatise, what is the betting that the next economic crisis (whenever that is) is used as an excuse for sale of the company ? Given that parties lie in election campaigns how can we know if they will or won't sell off our water ?

Some examples from the history of water privatisation.

The current experience in Ireland is a demonstration that in many cases the policies required to promote efficient use of water are often the same as those required to prepare public water systems for privatisation. Public fears that metering and full cost recovery are Trojan horses for selling off of water services cannot be lightly dismissed, given the history of similar policies in the waste sector, for example, and the less than convincing claims by European authorities to be entirely neutral on the question. - See more at: http://www.iiea.com/blogosphere/who-owns-our-water-in-europe-and-does-it-matter#sthash.TBmyb2OF.dpuf

Fragiska Megaloudi - water campaigner


The privatisation of state water companies around the world almost always has one common denominator: it is made ​​under the pressure of international lenders in countries with large debt or under the pressure of multinational corporations and politicians in countries with a strong economy.

The dominant argument is that the state takes too long to provide the necessary services which are deemed ineffective; in reality, however, the countries that have applied this doctrine were led to the creation of a powerful private monopoly where acquisitions and mergers shattered any sense of competition and hope for reduced tariffs.

From the beginning of 1980s until 2000, there was a huge pressure from international financial institutions and multinational corporations to privatise public water companies. The result was that 5 major corporations, Veolia, Suez, Agbar, RWE and Saur, held 71% of the global water market in 2001. But the reaction of citizens, led to renationalisation of the networks. Today, large corporations own only 34% of the market while 90% of the 400 largest cities in the world still have a public water network. In 2011 only 12% of the water on a global scale was in private hands. Privatisation has now taken the form of investment in hard technology and purchase of water rights.

But what has happened in countries where the network was privatised?
Argentina was one of the first countries to privatise the water network. In 1993 the government gave the municipal water supply in a consortium of multinational and local companies. The World Bank rushed to congratulate Argentina´s move, describing it as the most promising investment. But the joy did not last long. Companies placed their friends in key positions of the government paying them huge salaries, which led to imposing high tariffs that affected millions of poor. In many cases companies increased their profits by reducing maintenance costs and did not replace old pipes, thus the water flooded the poorest neighbourhoods. With the economic crisis that followed, consumers could no longer pay for their water bills in 2005, the corporations Suez and Aguas de Barcelona withdrew from the program. The government renationalised the network whose damages were so severe that it had to be restored from scratch.

In South Africa, the privatisation of water supply resulted in one of the worst cholera epidemics in the poor neighbourhoods of Johannesburg in 2000-2002. The outbreak started when residents of slams were disconnected from the private water supply because they could not pay their increased bills. Without safe sanitation and no access to clean water, residents were forced to drink water from contaminated rivers. The cholera epidemic resulted in more than 100,000 people becoming ill and at least 100 losing their lives. The government reacted vigorously and forced the private companies to provide at least 25 litters of water per day to every resident during the epidemic. While companies had strongly protested against this decision they complied but continued to disconnect the water for the poor.

In Africa, perhaps the most striking privatisation case is that of Tanzania. In 2003 the country was forced by the World Bank and the IMF to immediately privatise their outdated and inefficient public water supply network in exchange for loans. Since nobody wanted to invest in the market of Tanzania and the IMF exerted increasing pressure, the country was forced to sell off the network to the British company Biwater. The irony of the decision was that the Tanzanian government had to participate in the financing of the investment with Biwater, using the same loans that were given by the IMF and the World Bank in exchange for the privatisation. Within a year of the advent of Biwater, consumers saw their water bills tripling while the poorest got disconnected from the main water supply. In fact, 98% of the network served the wealthy few, leaving millions of people without water. The company made no investment which was against the agreement and accused the government of giving false evidence and claimed that the investment was unprofitable. Tanzania finally renationalised the water network and expelled Biwater from the country. Biwater then led Tanzania to court but lost the lawsuit in 2008 and was forced to pay 3 million pounds to the government in compensation.

The selling of the water supply network in the capital of the Philippines, Manila, was regarded as the most ambitious and "successful" privatisation experiment. In 1997 the government faced financial trouble and after following the World Bank's advice decided that, in order to fill the financial gaps, water must be sold. The network was already in poor condition and 4 out of the 11 million inhabitants had no connection. The network was divided into two zones and was given to a consortium of companies (among them was Bretchel, known by the subsequent invasion in Iraq). During the first years prices were reduced by half and connections reached 87% of residents, due to competition. As of 2001, however, the situation changed dramatically. Prices went up 500% compared to 1997 levels and the average family spent 10% of its income on water bills. About 40% of the bill was not related to consumption but to illegal charges. In 2003 more than 800 people were affected by a cholera epidemic in the network, caused by poor maintenance of piping and non-repair of leaks.

In 2008 in France, the city of Paris decided not to renew the contract with the companies Veolia and Suez who owned the network since 1985, and to assign the water system to the municipality. In 2010 the municipal company Eau de Paris was founded and the city managed to save 35 million euros per year while reducing the tariffs by 8%.

In Germany, water agencies are owned by the public sector everywhere except in Berlin while the Netherlands in 2004 declared by law the participation of any private agency in water services as illegal.
Thus, while privatisation of water has failed and there is a strong tendency worldwide towards renationalisation, the European Commission requires the selling of water supply as a condition for the financial bailout of Greece and Portugal. The Greek government and its supporters, regardless of the consequences, fully endorsed the legislation on privatisation, including the water supply network.
Who will pay the actual cost remains to be seen.

An earlier version of this article appeared in Greek as a part of a larger civil initiative to prevent the privatization of state water company by the Greek government and it was translated in English by Yannis Fanourakis
Follow Fragkiska Megaloudi on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Fran221175 (http://www.twitter.com/Fran221175)

Binn Beal
07-10-2014, 04:05 PM
People often say that they would privatise the air if they could. Well I wouldn't hold my breath (too expensive) as I'm sure they'll come up with a plan.

Meanwhile, a Canadian company has bought the seaweed around our coasts: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/gaeltacht-development-company-defends-sale-of-state-seaweed-company-to-canadian-multinational-1.1859803 And guess who the villains of this story are? Not the grubby politicians and business interests but "unlicensed harvesting by traditional cutters" or, in other words, the local people who have been using this resource in a sustainable manner for centuries.

And now that rainwater is being collected by more and more people, just watch and see how quickly there will be new 'health and safety' regulations governing the amount, size of tank, frequency of inspection and licencing of this resource.

Let's work to make sure SF\Left\Indos get rid of this FFGLB government while we still have a country.

(Sorry for derailing)

07-10-2014, 05:03 PM
Govt report on water provision says (http://oireachtasretort.tumblr.com/post/98830312120/some-notes-on-introduction-of-water-charges)

….once Irish Water is well established as a self-funding utility the Government and Regulators may wish to assess international experience of the introduction of competition in water and sewerage services to identify whether Ireland could benefit from competitive markets in the water sector at a later date.

C. Flower
07-10-2014, 05:34 PM
Govt report on water provision says (http://oireachtasretort.tumblr.com/post/98830312120/some-notes-on-introduction-of-water-charges)
Indeed. Is there a copy anywhere of the wording that was withdrawn from Irish Water's website, on privatisation ?

disability student
07-10-2014, 05:45 PM
Govt report on water provision says (http://oireachtasretort.tumblr.com/post/98830312120/some-notes-on-introduction-of-water-charges)

That's euphemism for privatisation really as PWC are anctipating it along these lines.

C. Flower
07-10-2014, 06:00 PM
Well, in Bolivia it was resolved by the Water War and change of government.

Water and Bolivia
The privatization of water in Cochabamba, Bolivia in 1999 was implicated in a multifaceted reconfiguration process of political ecological transformation. The conflict concerning the privatization of water was rooted in a debate over differing claims regarding the role of neoliberal market based solutions in development and best practices of urban water resources management. Before privatization in Cochabamba, water was an affordable public resource governed by local control. By the 1990s, the World Bank viewed privatization as the primary “vehicle to achieve the paramount goal of fostering growth and poverty alleviation,” and proceeded to impose structural adjustment policies in Bolivia to facilitate the privatization of water (World Bank 2000, 16). Once the Bolivian national government and the private company Aguas del Tunari (AdT) signed a contract to privatize the resource, water prices increased significantly and access became limited to those who could afford to pay (Olivera 2004, 11). The Cochabambinos impacted by the restricted access to water responded by revolting and successfully regained public control of the water. The local population’s anti-privatization narrative gained strength by tapping into local control and democracy discourses, ultimately prevailing over the neoliberal development and market discourses of the Bank, national government, and AdT.



07-10-2014, 06:49 PM

07-10-2014, 07:51 PM
Indeed. Is there a copy anywhere of the wording that was withdrawn from Irish Water's website, on privatisation ?

which was this?

C. Flower
07-10-2014, 08:34 PM
which was this?

Now, on the face of it, privatisation is impossible. Last week, we showed that the small print on the Irish Water website referred to a procedure for selling the company, and how Irish Water "may disclose Customer data to the prospective seller or buyer"; and that customers' personal data "will be one of the transferred assets".
Irish Water said that the website shouldn't have said that. The references have been removed.
- See more at: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/gene-kerrigan/never-mind-the-small-print-trust-us-30620675.html#sthash.uAQ6FKZF.dpuf

disability student
07-10-2014, 11:16 PM
Interesting piece re Irish water as a big brother-link:http://irish-revolution.blogspot.ie/2014/09/why-irishwater-really-wants-your-pps.html

Who is watching ?

Your name, address and date of birth are valuable pieces of information. From these bits of data, clever software can work out your approximate social class and target you with direct marketing. The problem with these bits of data is that they are not verified. Nobody actually knows that its 100% real. Nobody knows if Michael Murphy at 100 Main Street is a real and active consumer available to be targeted. Adding a PPS number to this data is a dream for marketers and others that want to track and monitor people. Your PPS number stays with you for life, so by giving this data to a third party they will be able to track every address you lived at and deduce all kinds of information from that (such as who you live with, where your relations are and all sorts of other pieces of what we call “metadata”). Essentially, data and in particular personal data is valuable and becoming increasingly invaluable.

Its not just marketing companies that will love this data, this data combined with records from medical insurance companies will be worth a small fortune. All sorts of big businesses want this data and as technology evolves and improves this data becomes more valuable. In the future, this data will be used in ways that we don’t know about yet. Simply put, we don’t know the value of all this data in 5 years time, that’s why it’s essential it’s kept to ourselves. Does any other utility or service ask the names and dates of birth for all children in a house? No. It’s your private dwelling, which is protected under the constitution and you have the right to refuse to divulge this information.

IrishWater are building a comprehensive database of personal information that will be sold to whoever buys IrishWater. How do we know this? Up until 19th September it was stated on their website

“if Irish Water or substantially all of its assets are acquired by a third party, in which case Customer data held by it about its Customer will be one of the transferred assets.”

Curiously, this piece of text was removed, with the following explanation

“Please see below our updated Data Protection Notice that we are currently reviewing with the office of the Data Protection Commissioner. Amendments have been made primarily to clarify to the customer the purposes for which personal data (including PPS numbers) is collected.”

This means the plan IS to sell IrishWater and its databases, just as Bord Gais was sold and all the senior people getting nice hefty “bonuses” that would make a lotto winner blush.

Even more worrying is this statement from their website

“Data that we collect from you may be transferred to a destination outside the European Economic Area ("EEA"). ”

This means that your data can be exported to somewhere that Irish or European law does not apply. So, by giving any data to IrishWater, it can be whisked away to another organisation at the touch of a button. Both frightening and dangerous. Why have we not heard from any data protection experts through our media? Well, Denis OBrien owns significant amounts of our media, and RTE seem to have a policy of being nice to IrishWater. It’s up to us on social media to spread the truth and inform people, because RTE is now essentially a mouthpiece for the government, you won’t hear the truth there.

Imagine if tomorrow the government said that they might sell the entire database of PPS numbers and associated data? There would be uproar. What’s happening with IrishWater is exactly the same thing. Yes, IrishWater and the government are going to tell us to trust them, it won’t be sold and the usual fake promises. An IrishWater spokesperson said this week “IrishWater can’t be sold because it’s in the legislation that it cant be”. Well, this is Ireland. When the right people want legislation to be changed it happens at the drop of a hat. Remember when the bankers came looking for money? Emergency legislation was passed and hey presto, €80 billion was made disappear over night. Sorry, it did not disappear, we are paying it off now and IrishWater is yet another new tax to pay for the bankers. The tax that we used to use to pay for water has been diverted to pay for bank debt.

Take a look at the personnel involved with IrishWater, the head man, John Tierney (a man whose record of incompetence would make Basil Faulty blush) was responsible for the failed Dublin incinerator project. €100 million was made disappear under the guise of “consultancy fees”. No records of how it was spent, it’s just gone. Not a foundation dug or brick laid, just a big black hole where all our cash went. How this man was given the job to head IrishWater is beyond belief.

Who is installing the water meters? A good friend of FG, Mr Denis OBrien. How OBrien got this gig is questionable at best. A year before the IrishWater tender he bought a company called SiteServ. SiteServ was bust and owed €100 million to Anglo. Other companies offered more money, but for some reason OBrien got his hands on it. Then hey presto, SiteServ’s debt was written off, this means that the debt was moved to the taxpayer. Then another hey presto, SiteServ gets the contract to install water meters. It’s not known how much SiteServ is being paid for this, even though it’s our money being used to do it.

The government and IrishWater tell us that water is a precious resource. Despite what the government and IrishWater want you to believe, we are not stupid and we know that water is precious. How many houses, bars or restaurants do you go into and see all the taps turned on wasting water? Almost none. The vast majority of people don’t waste water. Instead of spending €50 million on consultants, surely a public information campaign on how to conserve water would have been more appropriate? Maybe a subsidy to all households to have outside water containers to trap rainwater to be used for purposes where non treated water is required? No, instead they start with the usual bullying tactics demanding money and data.

IrishWater spent millions on state of the art IT systems, we were told that this was needed to make it a world class company (in reality it’s so it can be sold off quicker). Yet, somehow in the first month of sending out its information packs it accidentally send out over 6000 letters with compromised personal data. Personal data from one person send to another, a data breach.

Can you honestly trust this collection of people with another of our most precious resources, personal data?

IrishWater is nothing to do with conserving water, it’s about lining the pockets of rich politicians, civil servants and their friends.

disability student
07-10-2014, 11:18 PM
Gene Kerrigan in yesterdays Sindo:
What is the legislation that prohibits privatisation? It's the Water Services Act of 2013, part 1, which deals with company formation.

Section 5 (4) of the Act says that the Board will have one share in the company, and all remaining shares will be halved between the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Finance.

Section 5 (6) says: "The Board shall not . . . alienate the share issued to it in accordance with subsection (4)".

Archaic language, but clear enough. Under this legislation, the Board is indeed prohibited from selling its one share. But, see those three dots?

Where those three dots are, the legislation says: "without the consent of the Minister and the Minister for Finance".

So, the legislation prohibits the Board from selling the company - unless the government wants it sold. The law, therefore, specifically allows for privatisation.

At which point, no doubt, our personal data will indeed become a saleable asset.

- See more at: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/gene-kerrigan/never-mind-the-small-print-trust-us-30620675.html#sthash.luTt5Yht.dpuf

C. Flower
07-12-2014, 03:56 PM
From the constitution

What does the last part mean?

Good question.

C. Flower
07-12-2014, 04:09 PM
The full privatisation project is I'm sure entirely on course.

"After an 11th hour legislative u-turn" last week (aka sneaky move) almost €500.00 million in bank debt has been wiped off the balance sheet of Irish Water, thereby washing it face nice and clean ready for the selling of the public's shares.

"The company (Irish Water) is thought to be eager to keep the level of debt on its balance sheet low, in order to maximise the amount these banks will lend to it." (Sunday Business Post, page 3).

This is short for "the value of the company will be boosted by giving it all of the formerly public assets of Irish Water, and none of its liabilities." I do not believe for one minute that all this finance-raising is about environmentally necessary works by Irish Water. Irish Water is an enormously valuable company as it has a monopoly over water resources and can assume it can extract charges from the Irish population ad infinitum.

There are two means of full privatisation - one is to sell the public shares off, and the other is to "outsource" virtually all of the functions of Irish Water to the likes of SiteServ, on long and lucrative contracts.

The advantage to a private owner of having the shares is that they would then be able to use Irish Water as collateral to raise finance (borrow from banks), and on the back of that, borrow massive amounts for, perhaps, buying further public utilities.

Don't forget, Irish Water already is a private company, in law. We just happen to own some of the shares at the moment.

If I'm right, and Fine Gael are still going full steam ahead to fully privatise, then Alan Kelly is planning to let the Irish Water Framework Directive exemption lapse by the end of this year.

Denis O'Brien's Siteserv is already entrenched as a profit making service provider to both Bord Gais and Irish Water.

This Government is toxically dangerous to the State. We need an early election.

C. Flower
08-12-2014, 10:45 PM
More on the funding - Irish Water is raising bank loans right left and centre.

Bank of Ireland loaned €50.00 m last month. The Sunday Business Post covered this :

"Irish Water confirmed that it would be predominantly relying on bank financing and overdrafts to make up a funding gap between its planned capital expenditure and the capital subvention to be provided by government.

However, market experts say Irish Water shoul diversify their sources of funding away from traditional bank finance. Treasury Solutions managing director John Finn said "an overdraft is a very unusual way to fund an entity of that size straight away because it is not, from a best practice perspective, a committed facility." "Legally a bank could recall it at any time, so one must assume either a guarantee backs it up or there is an understanding that it will remain in place., he said" Bond issuances, as per Bord Gais and ESB are the normal way of funding a utiility (presuambly cheaper?)

"A significant risk premium would be attached to any bond sale, with investors nervous to buy-up a portion of the company" -- This is understandable in view of peoples reluctance to pay. But in what sense would bond holders be owners of Irish Water ?

What happens if Irish Water loads itself with Bank Debt, and then can't pay because people aren't paying water charges ? "We have to sell up because it is broke?" Or do the banks foreclose on it ???

C. Flower
13-12-2014, 07:42 PM
There are several different ways in which private profit can be extracted from use of rainwater in Ireland.

Irish Water is a private company that is now the gatekeeper to most water supplies. At present, the majority of shares are owned by the government (not the same as the public).

But Irish Water contracts out work to the private sector - design and build of plant and installation of water meters, for a start, but potentially much else including most administration.

But it also is raising loans from private sector lenders who will charge interest. The more debt, the more private profit, so we are getting a constant hype of about the massive amount of work needed right away.

Why could Irish Water - if genuinely run for public good - accrue a fund for works, and only do what it had money to do ? Undoubtedly there would be Irish Water bond sales, if they would not at present be unsaleable because of the doubt that the public will pay.

So a function that maybe until now was run mainly from the current public budget, becomes a milch cow for investors.

The debate on the Irish Water Services Bill covered some of this -


C. Flower
17-12-2014, 07:48 AM
Eddie Hobbs' piece pointing out how the Constitution in 1937 was drawn up to place natural resources in the hands of the State and to permit the State to privatise. "The people" as such have no overriding rights. This is not a usual arrangement. Robber barons, from the outset.


C. Flower
17-12-2014, 07:57 AM
I've merged the two threads we had running on water privatisation.

Just picked up this link from one of Dr. FIVE's posts - Aarhus Convention - surely this should be a tin opener for extracting information on Irish Water ?

They keep telling us it is to do with the environment.


C. Flower
31-05-2016, 07:08 PM
An interesting tussle on RTE today, with Mary Wilson determinedly - and RTE news - pushing the line that the EU has said that Ireland no longer has any opt out from commercial water charges.

In fact, the EU report on which the story is based is not yet public and has not been read by RTE. They were going solely on the Government's interpretation, which seems to be disputed by every other party.

The nub is whether water charges are "established practice" in Ireland.

01-06-2016, 01:45 AM
from the press release from Lynn Boylan

https://scontent-ams3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-0/s526x395/13332749_954465574670911_3678849516791687956_n.jpg ?oh=07d19ddec2951167c9472d04cea397cb&oe=580D5A81

Now, we can clearly see the distinction here.

There is no way anyone could argue that metering, billing or even Irish Water itself is 'established practice'. Unless of course you are the dopes at RTÉ who claim

"The Commission's written response makes it clear that Ireland's de facto exemption from water charges no longer applies because the Government introduced water charges and metering in 2010.

Specifically, Brussels regards the introduction of water charges as Ireland's "established practice" in ensuring that the princples of "polluter pays", and "cost recovery" are adhered to."

Article 9 in full here (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2010-3366&language=MT)

Article 9(1) of the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC(1), requires Member States to ensure, by 2010, that a water pricing policy is established based on the principles of cost recovery and polluter pays. The water pricing policy shall also provide adequate incentives for users to use water resources efficiently and therefore contribute to achieving the objectives of the directive. The purpose of the Water Framework Directive specified in Article 1 includes the promotion of the sustainable water use based on the long-term protection of available water resources. The environmental objectives are set out in Article 4 and include the prevention of deterioration of water bodies and the achievement of good status by 2015. The provision in Article 9(4) relating to the need to ensure that the purposes and the achievement of the objectives of the directive is not compromised relates to those objectives in Articles 1 and 4.

Article 9(4) provides the possibility for Member States not to apply the provisions of Article 9(1) to a given water-use activity, where this is an established practice at the time of adoption of the directive and where this does not compromise the purposes and the achievement of the objectives of the directive. The use of Article 9(4) is therefore subject to strict conditions.

The economic and social effects of a particular form of water pricing on households will depend on the type of water pricing and the socioeconomic profile of the households. It is for the Member States to decide whether they have regard to these aspects on the basis of an assessment of the effects of the water pricing policy on water users. However, as regards Article 9(1), Member States who wished to implement a flat rate would need to justify that it fulfils the requirements in Article 9(1), in particular with respect to whether it provides an adequate incentive for users to use water efficiently.

C. Flower
06-06-2016, 05:19 PM
From Article 9 of the Directive.

The economic and social effects of a particular form of water pricing on households will depend on the type of water pricing and the socioeconomic profile of the households. It is for the Member States to decide whether they have regard to these aspects on the basis of an assessment of the effects of the water pricing policy on water users. However, as regards Article 9(1), Member States who wished to implement a flat rate would need to justify that it fulfils the requirements in Article 9(1), in particular with respect to whether it provides an adequate incentive for users to use water efficiently.

Funny. Nobody seems to be talking about that part of the Article (in bold). What does the Article mean by "flat rate" ? The same bill for everyone ?

Also water abstraction is not a polluting activity. Sewage disposal is, if it is inadequately treated. A logical way of aportioning cost would be to charge it to local authorities, on the basis of how much they were polluting water courses - whilst of course making sure they had enough funds to treat sewage properly.

The money paid by local authorities could be recouped as part of a local rate, with rebates to people who were paying for their own well-water, and a sliding scale of rates paid, depending on income and property ownership.

Industry and agriculture of course should pay if it pollutes, but also, basically should not be allowed to pollute.