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Tapped Out - Water Charges, By The Meter

category national | consumer issues | opinion/analysis author Tuesday October 24, 2006 16:32author by Elaine O'Sullivan / Seán Ryan Report this post to the editors

The (Tolled) Road To Privatisation

The country took one step closer to water privatisation recently with the announcement that Celtic Anglian Water have landed the contract for the Waste Water Treatment Plant, part of the Waterford Main Drainage Project. The Irish Examiner described them as ‘the international division of Anglian Water’. However, a quick scan of the company’s website tells a different story, Anglian water have only a 50% stake. ‘Celtic Anglian water’ (CAW), is listed on the NTR (national toll roads) website as a subsidiary company. Along with such shining lights of Irish capitalism as Greenstar, Airtricity, Bioverda, Irish Broadband and National Toll Roads themselves.

http://www.ntr.ie/companies/
taps.jpg

According to the NTR website…

“The company currently holds a 20-year contract to operate Dublin's new wastewater treatment plant at Ringsend. With the capacity to treat sewage from a population of 1.7 million, it is the largest and most advanced wastewater treatment plant in Europe.

CAW also operates a new water treatment facility in Sligo and is tendering for further contracts under the government's investment programme for water and sewage services. In 2005, CAW was awarded the Galway Non-Domestic Metering Project Contract.”

With regard to the Galway Non-Domestic Metering Project, The Tuam Herald ran a story on the 24th August last warning its readers about ‘The End Of Cheap Water’. Businesses would bear the brunt, they told us. They would have to pay ‘by the gallon’ from January 1st.

(cut and paste used as password needed to access site)

“Most businesses have been paying fixed charges for water for a number of years, usually referred to as water rates, but many smaller non-domestic users and farms have escaped the net until now.

The last fixed-charge bills are being issued by Celtic Anglian Water in conjunction with Galway Co. Council and this Athenry-based company will be taking charge of all metering and bill services on behalf of Galway Co. Council. The council will continue to be responsible for water supply, pressure and water quality.

Co. Council Director of Service Jim Cullen explained that up to now a non-domestic user such as a hotel would pay a fixed charge for water no matter how much was used. From January 1st next this business will be metered and billed according to the volume used.

This he explained was a fairer method of paying for the service and is in line with EU policy.”

The EU policy he is referring to is called the Water Framework Directive, which requires ‘pricing policies’ to be in place by 2010.

“He (Jim Cullen) added that the metering system was a requirement under an EU directive and it is designed to conserve water by encouraging users to waste less. It is based on the user pays principle and should benefit the environment.”

Very interesting bit of flawed logic in that last sentence as it is not water itself that costs money but rather the infrastructure, which is used by consumers equally. Therefore the costs, if any, should be borne equally by all consumers. I had assumed, wrongly it seems, that that is where our taxes went. Another double taxation anyone?

Schools and Farms, to take two examples, are high users, which under the ‘user pays’ principle would see their costs rocket. The social effect of this policy does not appear to have been a factor in the decision making process. As will become painfully apparent in a few short years when the domestic consumer is expected to pay for their water too, as per the European Water Framework Directive. And you thought the bin tax was unpopular!

Dick Roche seems unlikely to discuss the issue of water privatisation for the domestic consumer before the next election. For a party hanging on by a thread, that is probably a wise move. They have already angered their voter base, the farming community, with these charges. The Roscommon Herald on August 9th carried a story called “IFA meets Minister Roche on water charges issue”. The rocky road ahead for Fianna Fail was apparent in the opening paragraph…

“IFA recently met the Minister for the Environment, Mr Dick Roche, to inform him of the deep anger among farmers in the county at the significant costs which will result from new water charging policies.”

The closing paragraph carried the threat.

“Roscommon IFA County Executive called on all farmers in the county not to pay any water charges until Minister Roche clarified the situation.” And so it begins.

http://makeashorterlink.com/?E3DC13ABD

On Tuesday 25th April, in a Dail Debate, Mr. Roche had this to say…

“Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position on water charges for national schools; if these rates are in line with policy governing this area; the way in which the standard rate is calculated; if the rates increase with the size of the school; and if he will make a statement on the matter?

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. Roche): Local authorities are required to recover the cost of providing water services from the users of these services, with the exception of householders. The cost of providing water services to the non-domestic sector should be fully recovered by local authorities by means of a meter-based volumetric charge. While current arrangements for schools may, as with other non-domestic users, be based on fixed water services charges, local authorities are moving towards the metering of all non-domestic water use.”

http://makeashorterlink.com/?S54D12ABD

These charges will no doubt be passed on to the parents of children attending the school, who will have to foot another bill for ‘free education’.

Just three short days later on the 28th April, IBEC had this to say on the issue of water charges.
“Businesses may be forced to pay higher charges to local authorities if the government fails to reform local government
Business and employers group IBEC issued the warning after Minister for Environment Dick Roche TD refused to implement key recommendations of the Indecon Report into local authority funding published last month - such as introducing domestic water charges and imposing a new tax on non-principal private residences.”
“Many of the services provided by local government were essential to the functioning of all sectors of society, but it was “only business which is picking up the bill”.

Among the major reforms demanded by IBEC were the introduction of water meters into all homes, subjecting the accounts of local authorities spending in excess of €9 billion to review by the Comptroller and Auditor General and the introduction of an efficiency fund to reward Local Authorities that demonstrated high levels of efficiency.

Minister Roche dismissed fears of a shortfall in funding, claiming local authorities “should have adequate resources to meet demands in 2006 and beyond”. He added that he was “fully committed to the pursuit of further efficiency in local government and want to see the bang for every buck that is spent”.

http://www.techcentral.ie/small_business/Higher_charges/

I tend to distrust the use of words like ‘should’ as it implies that maybe they won’t and he knows it and is covering his ass.

So IBEC are spearheading the charge (no pun intended) for domestic water charges on the basis of fairness. It’s damaging to the economy, be afraid be very afraid.

Another incidental, Mr Brian Geoghegan, who is a former chairman of FÁS and was IBEC's director of economic policy until recently, is of course married to the Mammy Harney who just recently got herself out of the line of fire. How unpopular would the PD’s be when Mr Mary Harney’s former group gets its way and you, the ordinary punter, start paying for your water.

Who will you be paying for your water? Most likely a company called Celtic Anglian Water. As mentioned above, they are a joint venture between NTR and Anglian Water.

According to CAW's website ...

"Celtic Anglian Water (CAW) was established in 1998 to participate in the development of Ireland's water and wastewater infrastructure. CAW is a 50/50 joint venture between Celtic Utilities Limited and Anglian Water (Ireland) Ltd. a wholly owned subsidiary of awg plc (formally known as Anglian Water Plc)."

The important information contained on another page in their website tells us that they were

"established to participate in the Government's Capital investment Programme for Water and Sewerage Services"

http://www.caw.ie/

Back in 2001, NTR acquired the majority shareholding in Celtic Utilities Ltd.

http://www.rte.ie/business/2001/0815/ntr.html

thereby becoming AW's new partner and a 50% stakeholder in CAW.

The Indo's business section has this advice for would be investors... "Well, although Ireland is unique amongst EU countries in that it doesn't charge consumers for domestic water, NTR does have a long-term play through Celtic Anglian Water, its partnership with Anglian Water.

It runs the massive Ringsend Treatment plant on a 20-year contract and, although such a deal is a mere foothold in an embryonic market, it's another reason to snap up NTR shares while you still can.

Stock in the UK water utilities is like hen's teeth at the moment, with a number of them the subject of bidding wars.

Water may forever be free in this fair isle, but if it ever becomes metered, I know which company will be in with a fair chance of doing the billing."

http://www.unison.ie/business/stories.php3?ca=80&si=1700226

If it ever becomes metered....?

According to the Water Framework Directive Pricing Policies have to be in place by 2010. Article 9, entitled Recovery of costs for water services, reads as follows...

1. Member states shall take account of the principle of recovery of the costs of water services, including environmental and resource costs, having regard to the economic analysis conducted according to Annex III, and in accordance in particular with the polluter pays principle.

Member states shall ensure that by 2010

- that water pricing policies provide adequate incentives for users to use water resources efficiently, and thereby contribute to the environmental objectives of this Directive,

- an adequate contribution to the different water uses, disaggregated into at least industry, households and agriculture, to the recovery of the costs of water services, based on the economic analysis conducted according to Annex III and taking account of the polluter pays principle.

Member states may in so doing have regard to the social, environmental and economic effects of the recovery as well as the geographic and climatic conditions of the region or regions affected.

Annex III, called simply Economic Analysis contains the following...

The economic analysis shall contain enough information in sufficient detail (taking account of the costs associated with collection of the relevant data) in order to:

(a) make the relevant calculations necessary for taking into account under Article 9 the principle of recovery of the costs of water services, taking account of long term forecasts of supply and demand for water in the river basin district and, where necessary:

- estimates of the volume, prices and costs associated with water services, and

- estimates of relevant investment including forecasts of such investments;

(b) make judgements about the most cost-effective combination of measures in respect of water uses to be included in the programme of measures under Article 11 based on estimates of the potential costs of such measures.

http://www.wfdireland.ie/

The government is currently testing the waters of public reaction to the outrage of water privatisation. The ESRI (The Economic and Social Research Institute), in the last few days have recommended that water charges be introduced.

They've coupled this alongside such ideas as reducing spending on health care. The government may conveniently be forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.

Water privatisation is on the way -

I can feel it in my water!

author by HOOpublication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The country took one step closer to water privatisation recently with the announcement that Celtic Anglian Water have landed the contract for the Waste Water Treatment Plant, part of the Waterford Main Drainage Project. "

How? They have gotten a contract to run one treatment plant in one small Local Authority area. This is really Chicken Little stuff. To even impose water charges on domestic users, legislation would be required. To privatise Irish water would take a hell of a fight to get it through the Dail.

What arguments could be put forward in favour of privatisation? Scare mongering tactics like this will make it more difficult to organise a fight against the real threat: Water charges.

Less of the modern fairytales please.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There are no scare tactics here.

Try reading the article. You'll notice that the phrase "European Water Framework Directive" occurs frequently. You'll also note that in 2010 that a pricing structure needs to be in place, and that this will include "households." The legislation is already in place as this framework is already law and is mostly implemented.

Okay, that's the end of the recap. Try reading the article before you post any more drivel. Just reading the blurb and jumping to comment 'knee jerk' style will lead to confusion and to senseless and useless debate.

author by HOOpublication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Okay, that's the end of the recap. Try reading the article before you post any more drivel. Just reading the blurb and jumping to comment 'knee jerk' style will lead to confusion and to senseless and useless debate."

Must you be so abusive? I am merely disagreeing with you. My comments are not kneejerk or drivel but I suspect that many readers woulde see your abusive resonse as being beneath contempt. I have read the article in full and nothing in it makes me even suspect that Privatiosation is on the cards.

You are introducing red herrings; the thing we really need to fear are Water Charges. Your scare tactics are diverting attention from this very real threat.

author by Council worker - DCCpublication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

City and county councils do not have the power to levy water charges on domestic properties.
Metering of the business community has been in place for years. About 2,500 businesses in Dublin are metered at present, a further 14,500 are on fixed charges. The cost to business is reduced if there is a domestic element to the premises e.g. surgeries.

author by Charles B.publication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"the thing we really need to fear are Water Charges".....
The only thing we really need to fear is fear itself.
Why have yet another campaign against these charges?
We do not live in a socialist society where the state provides for all.
Its not double taxation, its funding for a resource we all use. OK, so its a fairly essiential resource, but would you have a campaign against your electric bill? Maybe against the major cost increases, but not the bill itself.
It costs a lot of money to treat and supply relatively good water for municipal use. And at the moment, the quality of the water supplies in many parts of the country, needs funding, badly.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If water charges are not a possibility, why are all new houses fitted with water meters?

Again... The European Water Framework Directive is already part of the legislation in this country. It's not a matter of having the 'power' to implement anything, this has already been implemented. Ask Dermot Lacey if you don't believe me. He's had loads to say on the subject. Until you learn more please refrain from posting your imaginings as facts. As for disagreeing with me - please refute what has been posted with facts and figures, your opinion is quite worthless, especially when it has already been refuted by the facts printed above.

author by HOOpublication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 13:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No sock puppetery on my part. You seem to have a persecution complex.

"water charges are not a possibility, why are all new houses fitted with water meters?"

I never said they were not a [possibility. I said trhat a campaign would be necessary against water charges. Thats what we should be concentrating on. Not your red herrings.

"Again... The European Water Framework Directive is already part of the legislation in this country. It's not a matter of having the 'power' to implement anything, this has already been implemented."

Any directive would have to be transposed into Irish law. Are you unaware of this basic fact?

" Until you learn more please refrain from posting your imaginings as facts. "

Mr Ryan, you seem to be ignorant as to how European Directives are implemented so I suggest that you are the one who needs to do some studying.

"As for disagreeing with me - please refute what has been posted with facts and figures, your opinion is quite worthless, especially when it has already been refuted by the facts printed above."

You seem to think that you prove something by cutting and pasting large amounts of text. Well you dont. Its obvious that you do not have even the most basic understanding of how EU directives are implemented.

Yopu are giving youre interpetation of the large amount of text you have C&Ped. I disagree with it. There is nothing in it that suggests there is any onus on the Irish Government to Privatise Water Services.

author by Socialistpublication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 13:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Absolutely.

They will attempt to do it at the start of a governments term of office and not in the run-up to an election.

They have also learned the lessons of the last attempt to introduce water charges.

This time around they will use water meters - most, if not all, new houses have them already installed. They will also offer a yearly free allowance (eg 35,000 gallons per household) and then charge for the water used above this amount. Once established the allowance will be reduced (like the wavier scheme).

These measures will be used to attempt to stunt any campaign against water charges. They will create the impression that 35,000 gallons is way more than any household will need (a family of six will use 15,000 gallons per year just flushing the toilet). By giving an allowance it will not be until the end of the year, after the charges have been introduced, that people will receive the bills. The bills are likely to be issued on a monthly basis so the the amount charge will be low. Also people will receive bills at different times depending on when they go over the allowance. This is unlike the bin tax where you had to pay before the rubbish was collected. Also the charge will initially be quite low again to reduce opposition.

The strategy of non-payment, while an important aspect of any campaign against water charges, will not be sufficient this time to defeat any attempt to impose the charge. Becuse of the strategy the government will adopt it will be a lot more difficult to get people actively involved in any campaign against the charge.

author by HOOpublication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 16:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You make some good points there. Any campaign against water charges will have to be carefully built. But it would be dangerous to getting into an arguement over how many gallons are acceptable.

I think it will still have to be based around the argument that water charges are double taxation and should not be paid. Its going to be difficult for any government to introduce domestic charges with the General Election next year and the Euros and Locals in 2009.

author by BA - FFpublication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 16:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You just have to visit the DOE website to get the truth about what will happen under FF/PD. No mention of privitisation.

Government Water Pricing Framework

In line with international practice and emerging EU policy Ireland is moving towards making the full cost of water and waste water services to all sectors transparent, and securing full cost recovery in the case of non-domestic users. To facilitate this a policy framework has been developed to comprehensively apply the polluter pays principle in regard to water services infrastructure and operations. This framework provides for -

collection of capital contributions by local authorities from non-domestic users in a structured and uniform manner and in accordance with the polluter pays principle;

operational costs in respect of the non-domestic water and waste water services to users to be recovered in full;

completion of the metering of all non-domestic users by 2006

continued funding in a transparent way of the cost of providing water and waste water services to domestic users through the capital budget and, in the case of operational costs, through the Local Government Fund, in a manner consistent with efficiency and environmental sustainability.

author by HOOpublication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 16:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The last piece of legislation passed by the Oireachtas regarding water supplies was:

Water Services Legislation
Primary Legislation
Pending enactment of the Water Services Bill, the primary statute law relating to the abstraction of water, provision of water supplies and the disposal and treatment of sewage by local authorities is contained in the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Acts, 1878 – 2001.


http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/acts/2001/a3...1.pdf

This may allow for the privatisation of water supplies but if so, then it is cunningly hidden. So well hidden that no one opposed its passage.

Tthe Water Services Bill as passed by the Seanad is here:

http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/bills/2003/5...s.pdf

Committeediscussion on the Second Stage begins here:

http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/D/0589/D.0589.200410050024.html

The Bill will go before a committee for further discussion in November.

No legislation has been passed, nor is any legislation planned, which allows for privatisation. But of course we should be vigilant.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 16:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for the reply BA. What Irish company will provide this transparent service you dream about?

Will it be owned and operated by the state?

Or are you just spinning?

Are you suggesting the European Water Framework Directive isn't being implemented as it is laid out?

Will you like the Dutch, make a public and written pledge, not to privatise water? They have realised that privatising water is a bad thing and that most governments in the EU can bypass or just ignore bits of European legislation that impedes their ability to make cash.

You named your comment "The real story" - what is it that you have refuted exactly?

I note you refer to polluter pays policy. What effect will this have on polluters like, for example, Alcan in Foynes in Limerick, which has polluted the surrounding countryside, waterways and people for more than a decade now. Note also that this very same polluter was to be given the unpolluted Bleach Lough and the people of Pallaskenry and Kildimo were to be given the river Deel in its stead (one of the most polluted waterways in the country).

To further have a laugh at this polluter pays nonsense, let's look at fluoridation. We see that dental fluorosis and decay are on the increase in Ireland. Fluoridation is to be reduced to 0.7ppm (it is currently 1 ppm) as it has not been effective. This reduces fluoridation to pollution (at best). I guess we are paying for this pollution, so that's ok isn't it?

What about the fact that most sewerage systems in the country are antiquated and too small. Not addressing this also results in pollution. How about paying for this in financial terms rather than in health terms?

author by BA - FFpublication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 17:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You seem to want to move the debate on to other topics. Flouridisation dangers is a fringe topic, you are better off discussing that with conspiracy theorists. Again pollution by industry is another topic, not for discussion on this thread or we will get totally lost.

Water services are not going to be privatised. Not even if the PDs wanted to do so and I dont think they are that silly. Water charges are another matter. There are those at a local level who would like to see them introduced (more funds locally) but who want the central Government to do the dirty work.

author by Me Jaitorpublication date Thu Oct 26, 2006 08:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Very informative article. Even if there does appear to be some confusion between charges and privatisation, this is no big deal if effects are the same.

Governments since Thatcher's departure have often circumvented direct privatisation by hiring out state functions, supposedly to the lowest official bidder. This is what seems to be happening with the FOUR contracts awarded to CAW (not 1 as suggested in the first comment..

NTR is the antithesis of public service, given the traffic congestion it contributes to and the extorsion to boot, so it is no red herring, but real cause for concern.

Strange that they get these new contracts when an example of their previous work can be inhaled on any fine day in the Ringsend/Irishtown/Sandymount area. The stench from this water-treatment plant is attrocious.

Some sort of charges for /all/ golf courses, private lanws, gardens and fountains, would probably be fair, but, like the Eighteenth Century rebels, we cannot trust the government.

btw: re Dáil and privatisation: the Dáil's talking shop toothlessness is obvious, even if Aer Lingus had strayed from being a state service long before the privatisation was shunted through with barely a whimper (excepting Joe Higgins).

author by number 6 - legalise freedom campaignpublication date Thu Oct 26, 2006 21:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

An interesting Article in Focus , a newsletter for returned ex pats, has mentioned the revolt in Bolivia in 2000. This revolt was in response to a corrupt attempt to Privatise the Water , where the Government accepted a $25 million loan from the World Bank with the proviso that Water services had to privatised and subsidies discontinued.

The Water contract was handed to a subsidery Company of Bechtal , which immediatly jacked up Water bills by 50% - 100%. Small wage earners were faced with a decision , to buy food or water.

Troops were sent in to quell the civil unrest and Martial Law declared.

The plan was reversed due to massive public opposition.

Eventually the Water services were handed back , loaded with debts arising from potential loss of earnings to Betchal. Betchal then tried to sue the Government but public outcry grew so massive , it caused Betchal to withdraw.

This senario is coming down the track here , make no mistake.

The only difference here is ..........

1. THERE WILL BE NO PUBLIC OUTCRY.

2. THERE WILL BE NO PUBLIC AWARENESS.

3. THERE WILL TO OBJECT DOES NOT EXIST.

4. THE PUBLIC WILL SWALLOW ALL THE LIES.

5. THE SIX CHEMICALS ALREADY IN THE WATER , WILL REMAIN.(LOBOTOMY)

6. THE PUBLIC WILL COMPLAIN AND PAY AND DO SWEET SHAG ALL.

7. THE PUBLIC MAY HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN WATER AND SOME FOOD.

The above is a part of the new world order plan for you ,me and the rest of us.

Don't complain whatever you do. Just get used to it.

Oh! ..................And have a nice Day.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Sun Oct 29, 2006 16:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some links that show why Anglian Water was awarded contracts in the Republic. Scum always floats to the top and our leaders (Dick Roche in particular) had only to follow their noses.

Anglian Water fined over river pollution: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/1875563.stm

Tennis club lake polluted: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/news/1490460?lang=...egion

Serious criticism of Anglian Water's Environmental Record at Lowestoft: http://members.aol.com/wwanglia/don11.htm

Anglian Water have the third highest number of serious water pollution incidents in the country: http://www.normanlamb.org.uk/news/200.html?PHPSESSID=80...ceb21

Waterwatch in the Anglian Water Region: http://members.aol.com/wwanglia/

Residents near water plant face foul winter: http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=...13046

author by idespairpublication date Mon Oct 30, 2006 18:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have read this string and I am again alarmed at the high emotions shown in the debate. I would expect the contributors to this site to be among the most thoughtful and caring of the population. Unlike the silent freeloading majority, Posters at least care enough to have thoughts and post them.

Therefore it is extremely sad to see so many posters in denial about the way our lazy culture is destroying our planet and exhausting its natural resources.

As soon as anyone on this site suggests that we take personal responsibility for our own lifestyle, our way of transport, our water, our food or our waste, there is uproar from those who think that the state should do all this for us. When are we going to grow up and take responsibility for own actions by changing our own way of living, reducing our own travel, reducing food miles, reducing our waste and saving our water. Until the majority of us think like this and face up to our responsibilities, the future is uncertain. It is madness to expect elected representatives to take a lead in such matters. One poster mentioned 15000 gallons of water a year to flush a family's toilets. Why is that amount necessary? Why is it necessary to use potable (drinkable) water for this purpose when roof water would do just as well? Only when wasting potable water costs the individual money will our lazy atttudes change. When oil prices went up we started cutting back and looking for alternatives. When refuse charges came in we looked for alternatives, left packaging in the shop and started to recycle. Only when potable water is charged for will the required changes in life style come about. Our planet needs water charges!

author by Ishkepublication date Mon Oct 30, 2006 19:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I live in the countryside, I paid 2500 for a connection to a PRIVATE group Shceme. I pay 300 a year maintanance fee. I recetly paid out about 900 in upgrade charges. We are soon to get water meters. Im glad of that because I personally feel I use my water quite economically, Id like to be rewarded for that. People who have three showers a day, wash 3 pairs of lace panties in an empty washing machine, wash the car, the dog, the yard , the fukn walls and the ground every Sunday and flash the toilet three times after a piss should be penalised. Water can not and should not be free. Them days is gone. I used not to feel this way but then i was cured

author by Aquamanpublication date Mon Oct 30, 2006 19:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Water Service is not going to be privatised. As has been stated, EU Directives have no legal force in Ireland unless they are introduced into Irish Law through an Act of the Oireachtas. In existing legislation there is no provision for privatisation.

The bill presetly going through the Dail is the one which is transposing the EU Water Directive into Irish Law. Neither is there any provision for privatisation in this piece of proposed legislation. This article is to say the least alarmist and is tilting at windmills.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Mon Oct 30, 2006 20:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm sick of layabouts not bothering to read what has been written and then posting uninformed and useless tripe as a supposed rebuttal to what has been written here.

Try reading this article again. The European Water Framework Directive is part of Irish legislation. Jesus H Christ! As has been said already - this is a long term plan that is being implemented. It has been mostly finished except for 'unimportant' areas like 'public consultation.'

http://www.wfdireland.ie/Documents/Reports/Ireland_Arti...D.pdf

See section: 1.3.1 Legislation Transposing the WFD into Irish Law on page 5.

Check out page 4 for details about pricing structures to be implemented by 2010.

As for privatision and water charges... Try reading the article again, there are lots of examples and leads to follow that show our water is being privatised and that charges are on the way.

On the other hand aquaman and the other names you've posted under, you've shown nothing whatsoever to back up what you say, i.e. you haven't refuted anything written here.

As for wasting water. I agree with Idespair to a point. We are ultimately responsible for what happens. But we live in a place where water falls from the sky regularly, nobody made it and nobody has a right to act like they own it. As for the provision of the service... that's what we elected them for and pay them to do already. If they cannot do this then they should say so and step down and allow someone competent to do the job.

No. 6 above brings up an interesting topic. At one point in the dispute in Bolivia the government there made it illegal to collect rainwater.

Water is an essential ingredient for life. To dare to try to privatise or charge for it is to presume to be God.

I'm an athiest.

author by idespairpublication date Tue Oct 31, 2006 11:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sean, I find the layabout term a bit OTT and offensive.

Sean, You rightly say " we live in a place where water falls from the sky regularly " however the second part of your statement "nobody made it and nobody has a right to act like they own it" needs clarification.

I am sure you will agree that water is a "public good" like air and soil and as such everybody owns it. Nobody and everybody are two very different parties.

In regard to the "falling from the sky" issue, I am old enough to remember when most houses had a barrel under the gutter and used this water for all their washing needs. Their potable water often had to be carried in buckets from a well or communal pump, some distance away. I have travelled in Africa where the same thing still pertains but supply is so much more precarious.

A very simple, and if fittted at time of construction, cheap, plumbing design change in our houses would allow us to return to using the "water that falls from the sky" for our washing and toilet flushing needs. This would greatly reduce the demand from water treatment and distribution systems and could indirectly address your concerns about privatisation by making control of such systems less of a monopoly and therefore less attractive to corporate interests. It would also make it unnecessary for the proposed Dublin water pipeline from the Shannon.

Even retrofitting a rainwater saving system is a very cheap operation. Properly plumbed houses have the kitchen cold tap plumbed from the rising main, with every other tap in the house fed from the cold storage cistern in the attic. It only requires a small electric pump and float switch, to deliver collected rainwater from the gutter down pipe system to the cold water cistern to make huge changes in water demand. Giving a small grant for such systems would wipe out the need for this monstrous pipeline and the corporate ownership of water that would inevitable ensue from such a high tech expensive system. This is the message that needs to be taken up.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Tue Oct 31, 2006 14:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm sorry you find the term 'layabout' offensive, Idespair. It was not aimed at you. It was aimed at the troll who stalks my every written word here and on the editorial list itself.

As I said earlier, I agree with the substantive case you make. I reckon the collective ownership as you put it or the collective non-ownership as I put it, all boil down to the same point eventhough they seem to be opposites. And that is: that no individual or singular and exclusive collective can nominate themselves to be owners of the water supply.

As for collecting water to flush toilets etc... I'm with you 100% on this. It's just that I think that this issue is somewhat separate to what has been outlined here. We should all do what we can to make the system more efficient and more importantly to make it as least harmful to the environment as is possible.

I do see where you are coming from too, i.e. that the infrastructure needed to cope with demand is greater and more costly than that which would be required if things were to be done properly. I think this issue has already been bypassed to a large degree with the existing infrastructure and that we should be working towards doing something about it. For me it is a matter of prioritisation (I'm not suggesting that my opinion on this is infallible - it's open for discussion), I'm prioritising the attack on my natural rights in preference to the ecological argument. I think that logically my 'natural rights' argument builds a foundation for the ecological fight and that this would not necessarily be the case if I were to reverse my priorities. I.e. the ecological fight and argument already exists and has been put on the back burner big time by the powers that be (although the new reports on the financial costs to do with global warning may prove me wrong in the near future).

So again, I'm sorry that you took it that I was referring to you as a 'layabout.' I could and should have been a lot more specific. I respect what you've had to say, I don't agree with you completely as I've outlined, but I think we're somewhat on the same page.

Regards,
Seán

author by HOOpublication date Tue Oct 31, 2006 15:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

An EU Directive is just that until it is transposed into Irish Law. The present bill going through the Dail is doing just that. Sean Ryan shows that he has no understanding of how EU Directives come into force. They can only come into force if they are incorporated into an Act of the Oireachtas.

Sean seems to have missed the links in previous comments as he says I have not provided anything to back up my views; this one shows the Water Services Bill as passed by the Seanad:

http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/bills/2003/5...s.pdf

Committee discussion on the Second Stage of the Bill begins here:

http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/D/0589/D.0589.200410050024.html

The Bill will go before the committee again for further discussion in November.

No legislation has been passed, nor is any legislation planned, which allows for privatisation. But of course we should be vigilant.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Tue Oct 31, 2006 15:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Again the European Water Framework Directive, is being implemented in Ireland, It has been mostly implemented already. This has not been refuted - at all.

You speak of being vigilant. Take the beam out of your eye first. You are talking of closing the gate when the horse bolted years ago.

Semantics are ruling your thinking. Reality however, is that we are part of the Water Framework, we have divided into River Basin Districts and boards have been and are being appointed. Not bad for something that is non-existent in Irish legislation.

Why not just make a point rather than trying to refute what has already happened and is historically and currently very accurate. DCC are the folks in charge of this project in the Republic. However your friend Lacey has had much to say on this topic and I put it to you that this is why you are trying to muddy the waters.

author by HOOpublication date Tue Oct 31, 2006 15:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sean Ryan gives a link abopve which puports to back up his scaremongering stories about Water Privatisation. However the legislation in question has had a very limited effect and certainly does not provide for Privatisation. It sets up "river basin districts" (RBDs), which have an Environmental Protection role. This sort of body is alwys feared by those who think the State is trying to poison them with Flouride. THe EPA has a co-ordination role for coordination and reporting nationally. It also provides fpr Cross-Border co-operation; even the DUP are not opposed to this.

For your convenience the relevant section is below. The full document may accessed at the link (which was originally provided by Sean).

"In brief the legislation provides for the protection of the status of all waters, the establishment of co-ordination of actions by all relevant public authorities for water quality management in an RBD including cross-border RBDs, characterisation of each RBD, establishment of environmental objectives and the development of programmes of measures and river basin management plans (RBMP). The legislation also assigns specific and new functions mainly to the Minister, the EPAand local authorities. It provides for participation by interested parties and their facilitation in this process by the Local authorities.

The Legislation specifically identifies the EPA as the competent authority for coordination and reporting nationally, the relevant local authorities acting jointly for RBMP and Programme of Measures (POM) and also identifies the co-ordinating authority for each individual basin district.

Eight RBDs have being established on the island of Ireland, North and South (see Map 1.1). The delineation of RBDs has been developed in consultation with authorities in Northern Ireland and interested parties generally. The Regulations identify the seven RBDs established in relation to areas in the South, including cross-border areas. One further RBD is wholly internal to Northern Ireland."

Related Link: http://www.wfdireland.ie/Documents/Reports/Ireland_Arti...D.pdf
author by Seán Ryanpublication date Tue Oct 31, 2006 21:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well at least you've finally looked at one of the relevant documents...

You are beginning to see the point of what has been said so far (and there'll be loads more to come in the following weeks). As has been constantly re-iterated, the European Water Framework Directive has been partially implemented. As I've already pointed out, some parts of it have not been impolemented. One part that springs to mind in particular, is the part about public consultation. This is significant and important because it is supposed to be finished in 2006... which is this year. If you check out various Council and County Council websites, you'll find that it hasn't even been penned into their calanders for the most part. Some Councils on the other hand, say that this consultation process has occured. In these cases the process has been initiated and completed by stealth.

You'll also find that the Water Framework Directive specifies that local communities, are supposed to be involved in the consultation process and that the bodies subsequently 'elected' to govern the River Basin Districts are supposed to contain representatives of these groups. For the most part these bodies have already been put in place and not a one of them contains a singular individual from a residents committee for example.

The big problem with the Water Framework Directive, is not its ecological goals, which on paper look fine, but the way in which it is and has been implemented. The powers that be have cherry picked it and have carved up our country and its waterways to suit themselves and their big business buddies.

Take the Bleach Lough Scandal for example. This is where the peoples of Pallaskenry and Kildimo were being forced to take the polluted river Deel as their drinking water supply in lieu of their Spring Water (unpolluted) from the Bleach Lough. Limerick County Council forced these people into the courts to try and force their hands in the affair. Last month LCC dropped the issue like a hot cake, the reasons for this are many and varied, but rest assured that one of them was that LCC were going to be exposed for not complying with the European Water Framework Directive. LCC had not consulted with locals and had not invited any locals to join the Board for that Shannon River Basin District.
To read more on this case check out this article and its embedded links: Hypocrisy - LCC contemptuously use the High Court to bludgeon activists http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76792

Now about additives. HOO above likes to sneer about fluoride, but can provide no substantive reason for this. The simple point to be made in response to this sneer is that this year, DCC signed a check for around 1/2 million euros to Chemifloc. Chemifloc is a private company that manufactures the dangerous and non naturally occurring form of fluoride that it - Chemifloc - then pumps into our drinking water. This process is barely monitored. The second point is that recently (in the last couple of weeks) it has emerged that the fluoridation of our water supplies is not having the effect that it was imposed upon the country to have. The government response to this finding that fluoridation does not aid in the fight against tooth decay, was to give a directive that the current level of fluoridation 1ppm (one part per million) was to be reduced to 0.7ppm. A good picture of fluoridation was built up in the following piece on the Newswire: Flouride in the water supply http://www.indymedia.ie/article/78141

Now along with Fluoride, we have 4 other additives added to our drinking water, none of which can be shown to have health benefits. Two of these additives are Aluminimum Sulphate and Sulphuric Acid. Aluminimum Sulphate is used to coagulate or floc our drinking water. Aluminium Sulphate remains in the water supply after this, this substance has many horror stories associated with it, but there is no legislation implemented to protect us from this poisonous additive. I wont be going into this any further here as this topic will be dealt with in another article in the near future. Suffice to say the management and control of our water, a basic requirement for life, is already in the hands of private bodies, unelected by the peoples of this country. It just remains to implement charges other than our current taxes, that supposedly pay for this.

author by HOOpublication date Thu Nov 02, 2006 16:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Well at least you've finally looked at one of the relevant documents..."

I have read the documents in full from the start and I still cannot see how any provision in existing or proposed legislation will bring about privatisation.

Look at the Water Services Bill 2003 as passed by the Seanad:
http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/bills/2003/5...s.pdf

and the debate as continued at Committe Stage:
http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/D/0589/D.0589.200410050024.html

Where is the provision for privatisation? Did any TDs or Seanators suggest that Water Services should be privatised?

Now here is one which hasn't been cited earlier nor has a link been given for it. The Statutory Instrument which brought the sections you mention into effect is the European Communities
(Water Policy) Regulations 2003, (Statutory Instrument 722)
enacted on 22nd December 2003.
http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/front.html

Again there is no provision for privatisation in this Statutory Instrument. You have made no case to back up your contention that privatisation is on the cards.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Thu Nov 02, 2006 20:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Again you fail to see the wood for the trees. Privatisation is not only on the books, it is already happening. Chemifloc is not owned by the State, Celtic Anglian water is not owned by the State. The only body left in fact in the treatment and provision of water services is local authorities, who basically act on our behalves and pay the bills. All other aspects are already in private hands. The River Basin District project are partnered and full of non elected people, and more to the point are representative of other interests than ours.

http://www.swrbd.ie/links.htm

Above is the Southwestern River Basin District. Check out the project partners. Then look at the Public Participation link - tis all warm an fuzzy stuff - however Public Consultation is supposed to be completed this year, and this link says the site will update when this happens. Can you find this update? Do you believe this consultation will take place before 2007? Or at all?

Check out the other River Basin Districts, linked from this site. The picture is the same. Private interests are representated aplenty, the public have been ignored.

As for the government needing to call for privitisation, there's no need, they used local authorities to do the dirty work, and that's been done and dusted. Thanks to the magic concept of decentralisation, public authorities are not answerable for this. And thanks to the way Councils work, elected representatives have no control over their unelected pen pushers.

I've mentioned Mr. Lacey once or twice in this thread, but have posted no links to back up what I've said. Let me rectify this now: http://www.algoodbody.ie/consulting/06%20April%20FINAL%...T.DOC

Mr Lacey has said lots in this document and as a whole it is well worth a read. One should focus particularly on his ideas about investment and his ideas about Dublin's water supply. Allow me quote some to whet appetites: '4. Flagship Project – Water Supply to the Greater Dublin Area

Adequate supply of water to the growing populations of the Dublin Region and the Greater Dublin Area will be a major issue in coming years. A new water source will have to be sought to meet this demand and it is considered that the Shannon River may be the only adequate source of water to the Greater Dublin Area. It is important that the NDP takes account of the GDA’s need to design and construct the infrastructure needed to draw additional water from the Shannon into the Region.'


Enjoy.

author by privatespublication date Thu Nov 02, 2006 20:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

and it is rife in the councils in the city.

The water in Dublin for example is so bad that it is regulary blasted with chlorines.
The pipes are broken in places and the supply is not guaranteed fit to drink-so it gets a blast
and they cross their fingers- but they are so busy creaming the re-zoning profits and
depriving us of essential services that this is another area lacking investment.

Hit and Miss- a pregnant blanket. No-one cares about the well being of the citizens or
invests intelligently it's about running down services and creaming the profits when they are
sold off. This then is public representation.

There was a report done on the lack of viability of the water infrastructure- and why it should
not be privatised, will look it up. but if you get water rates, you will be a shareholder ina very leaky
vessel.

author by HOOpublication date Fri Nov 03, 2006 10:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Water Services Supplies are still owned by the State, no amount of assertion by you can change that. Anglia carry out a function under contract, the same way that many other companies deliver state services under contract. Anglia do not own a stream let alone the local water supply.

There is no mention of privatisation in any existing or proposed legislation. No political party is proposing it. I wonder who, apart from your goodself and Number 6 beileve Irish Water Supplies have been privatised or are about to be privatised.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Fri Nov 03, 2006 18:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I see HOO that your lack of literacy defeats you again. You forgot to mention Elaine, who did most of the research and writing for this article. Ah sure, HOO cares.

We're not the only folks who believe privatisation of Irish Water is underway. There's a few others. Let me quote you a headline from page 9 of today's Irish Times: "Private firms may control rivers, lakes."

I'm sure you'll put a lot more credence in the Mainstream Media. Just remember you read (well tried to read that is) it here first. And by the way, this project has the full backing of Bertie and Dempsey and others in our government - you ought to be careful at what you guffaw at, you might swallow yourself.

author by HOOpublication date Fri Nov 03, 2006 18:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You should read the text of the IT article rather than just the headline which was dreamed up by a bored sub-editor. It is quite obvious to any rational person that the water services are not being privatised.

Dont you think that the SP, SWP, WSM and others would be out campaigning if this had happened or were about to happen? I guess everyone is out of step except you and your loyal little band of partisans. You alone know whats really going on.

author by number 6 - legalise freedom campaignpublication date Sat Nov 04, 2006 13:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I notice on Page 9 of The Irish Times nov.3rd on Article entitled, ' Private firms may be given control of rivers and lakes'.

So , WHO ever you are ...HOO, don't be too surprised to wake up one Morning and find the Water .......in private ownership.

Cherish it while you can.

Boo Hoo Hoo.

We should have done something about it ,but we did sweet fuck all.

I think the Air is next. You may try to ridicule that if you wish. Stay asleep HOO.

author by sanepublication date Sun Nov 05, 2006 18:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Given that providing potable water is costly to the community and that there is a close correalation between wealth and water-usage, metering water with a threshold for flat-charge payment set at average use, and a metered surchage for use beyond the average, a water-tax would be a progressive tax.

As to who runs the system: That is a matter for our elected politicians. However, local authorities usually charge more for their services than private contractors because they pay their operatives considerably more (and get less productivity in return). It therefore depends on your priorities. Private contractors are better for the consumers of the service because they ultimately pay less. The local authorities are better for the service providers (Aka, the council workers).

Our choice folks. We are paying (through local and national taxes.

author by idespairpublication date Sun Nov 05, 2006 20:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As I said in my earlier post, it is essential that our houses are plumbed differently so that the amount of high cost potable water required is greatly reduced. A stick like water meters might help but, like the biofuels initiative, it should also be grant-led. This would be very cost effective and give employment to lots of tradesmen around the country.

Water is everybody's therefore it has to be managed on everybody's behalf. There are two possible management structures. Public control through strengthened local authorities or giving license to private corporations which will inevitable amagamate into multinationals. As regards the Public V Private debate, I would much prefer the first model provided the democracy of our local authorites is also improved. At present they are only rubber stamps for central government.

The worst of all scenarios is the so called public-private partnership model. It is common experience that whenever public bodies get into bed with business, they get screwed. This is inevitable because public servants go to sleep between 5.00pm and 9.00 am. Meanwhile the business partner stays up all night looking for the right angle.

author by HOOpublication date Mon Nov 06, 2006 20:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No 6 I already responded to your alter ego regarding the IT article. The text of the article said nothing about privatisation of water supplies. Given your other postings I'm not suprised that you think air is going to be privatised next.

author by Niallpublication date Tue Nov 07, 2006 15:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have heard every new housing development has water metering installed. Why do this if no charges will never happen? Local councils have provisioned for future legisalation to charge (after the election). It's just a matter of time (pre 2010).

Also, Private companies are not necessarily cheaper than public - look at NTR toll charges; imagine if they got to charge local authorities for domestic water charges, oh looks like they will. Maybe there will be a deal with NTR to give back the westlink for domestic water charging....

And, why drain the septic shannon, why not use a Desalliation plant in Dublin bay instead? We will degrade the shannon and loose any hope of tourism revenue from a great national resource which is already abused by lack of regulation on cruiser boat sewage discharge.

author by R. Isiblepublication date Tue Nov 07, 2006 19:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Given that providing potable water is costly to the community and that there is a close correalation between wealth and water-usage,

Is there really? I can't imagine any scenario in which that's true except that when water charges are introduced poverty is negatively correlated with water usage, and that's a self-fulfilling prophecy which begs the question. Please supply a reference to support this interesting assertion.

author by Elainepublication date Wed Nov 08, 2006 14:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

from Monday's paper. Available online but requires registration, so I've copied and pasted it.

We refuse to pay metered water bills, say farmers

FARMERS are refusing to pay water bills in a new metering system currently being piloted.

The system, introduced by Sligo Co Council, last January has widened the net for water charges to include 5,600 small businesses and farms being metered for the first time.

But, as the first bills begin to arrive through the letter boxes, the Irish Farmers' Association is instructing its members to ignore them until the terms of the new system are renegotiated.

"The rest of the country is looking on, which makes it all the more imperative this package is renegotiated so farmers with falling incomes are not paying huge amounts completely out of proportion," said Michael Comiskey, the local IFA spokesperson.

"This is the privatisation of water and the making of large profits on the backs of ordinary people. At least if the council was involved you could have some say."

Under the new system, farmers have to pay a fixed annual charge that varies from €80 to €200 for every meter installed on their land, and a variable charge of €1.13 per 1,000 litres based on consumption.

Where the same connection serves a house and business premises, a domestic allowance of 50,000 gallons per year is applicable.

But farmers, who have been turning up in their hundreds to public meetings in south Sligo and west Sligo, are claiming discrimination.

Worst hit are dairy farmers who say the cost of water is equivalent to removing eight cents of the price of a gallon of milk and would "finish them off for good".

Aileen Henry (64) who farms an 18-acre dairy farm of 10 cows with her husband Alex (72) in Maugherow in north Sligo was shocked when they received a €582 bill for the first three months of the year.

The cost included standing charges for two meters for land at Maugherow and Ballinfull, two miles away.

"We cannot figure it out how they came to this amount," she said. "It is exorbitant. We have no problem paying a water rate as before but our home is also being targeted.

"We are being discriminated against because we are being limited in the amount of water we can use in the home. This is not happening to anyone else."

She added that a neighbouring farmer, who has eight meters on his 40-acre farm, has to pay a €640 standing charge "before he ever uses a drop of water".

Among the main issues of contention is that installation and maintenance of the meters and the billing process has been subcontracted to private company, Veolia Water Ireland, part of the group behind Connex which runs the Luas in Dublin.

The company is being paid €3.4m-plus VAT to carry out the work. on behalf of Sligo County Council while over a 10-year period, the maintenance contract is worth €2.6m plus VAT.

A council spokesperson said people realise water is a scarce resource and were conscious of using it sparingly. "Now people are paying for consumption, I think they will be even more conscious of the necessity."

Anita Guidera

author by pat cpublication date Wed Nov 08, 2006 14:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Farmers are business people. The previous Anti Water Charges Campaign never opposed Business Water Rates. Just as the Campaign Against the Bin Tax didnt oppose Business Refuse Charges.

Let Business Pay!

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Wed Nov 08, 2006 14:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The point here is that water has been privatised. And that farmers are also having their home usage of water being unfairly subjected to charges. This sets a precedent for other homes to be unfairly targetted. It is our claim - and it has been a consistent claim - that there has been no right established to privatise water and that there is no right to charge for it.

I'm not going on what other campaigns have said or done, I oppose charges and I oppose privatisation. In as far as business is concerned, if the State provides services so that the business can make a profit, then charges are logically applicable. However the right to continued existence cannot be seen solely, if at all, in terms of profit. I would suggest that where the right to exist is a factor, as in the case of the farmers quoted above, that each matter be seperated and dealt with appropriately.

Schools need to be examined also. Water Charges are an artificial way of introducing a tax on education, and more to the point that education might suffer (moreso than it curently does) just to satiate some foreign parasite (big business).

We need a big shake up and we need to stop sleepwalking like indoctrinated sheep.

author by pat cpublication date Wed Nov 08, 2006 15:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The point here is that water has been privatised."

I must disagree with you there. I see no evidence that water has been privatised. Texts of and links to the various pieces of legislation passed regarding water are listed above. None of them provide for the privatisation of water.

Furthermore no political party or organisation appears to believe that water has been privatised. Apart from the authors of this article are there any people who believe this privatisation has taken place?

I'm all for taxing farmers, they pay little enough as it is. They are forever sticking their hands into the pockets of PAYE workers for more grants and handouts. Its not unusual for a Farmer to have a medical card while his labourer wont. This s because farmers falsify their incomes. Its about time farmers made a contribution to the exchequer.

I believe that Schools should be exempt from water charges. This would make an interesting campaign leading up to the election.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Wed Nov 08, 2006 15:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Let me define privatisation as it seems to be causing considerable difficulty.

'The process of moving from a government controlled system to a privately run, for-profit system.'

It is a process, and there has been very adequate proof and plenty of it offered here, that it is happening. Whereas there has been no proof offered whatsoever to substantiate the contrary claim, i.e. that privatisation isn't happening.

A simple proof would be to offer evidence that the Government is keeping absolute control of the water supply. It is my contention that this 'proof' cannot be offered or that if it is, that it will be farcical.

I await the next comedy installment.

author by pat cpublication date Wed Nov 08, 2006 15:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You dont prove any points by abusing or belittling those who disagree with you. The water supplies have not been privatised. No legislation which allows for it has been enacted.

You are entitled to your opinion. But its just that: an opinion; not a law of nature.

If what you suggest is true then it is indeed an appalling vista. It would mean that the entire left had slept through this clandestine privatisation. Or perhaps they were too lazy to launch a campaign against it?

I will sleep easily tonight though secure in the knowledge that you are the only ones who believe this privatisation has taken place.

author by C Murraypublication date Wed Nov 08, 2006 16:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Bear wth me- the Pallaskenry issue whch was covered by Sean and Elaine is just
the surface of the issues concerning water rights/ Pollutants and industrial interests
versus community health.

Tomorrow there is an interesting discussion putting the issue into the global context
organised by the Latin America Solidarity Campaign:

Octubre Azul: Blue October- water water everywhere and not a drop to drink.

Round Table Discussion , Thursday 9th November 6-9pm. Carmichael's House
North Brunswick Street.

Many Latin American natural water supplies are being bought out by corps to put
mineral water in plastic non-biodegradable bottle on the tables of the middle classes.
Fact- it affects farming, community- and leads to poverty and migration.

I have just published something on CODEX and food supplements- it is stated
and can be backed up that industry is winning out against personal health care choices
in relation to the foods we eat. Privitisation and globalisation is inherently anti-community
and allows the big interests to interfere in not alone land rights, but health issues
such as flouridation. the belief that Ireland is immune from the industries is risible.

lasc@iol.ie
Look at what is going on in relation to other's rights in the global context and how it
supplies and sustains our lifestyles.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Thu Nov 09, 2006 14:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

At long last Pat C has made a somewhat valid point. He has acknowledged that if privatisation has happened that it is an appaling vista. He also reckons that it must have happened by stealth and that most of those on the left must have been asleep.

I dunno if everyone was asleep. Maybe they just weren't thirsty, seeing that it's easy to reach over to the fridge and suck straight from the bottle. Jesus!! If someone had suggested buying bottled water in Ireland 20 years ago, they'd have been bottled.

It's not like we drink more water than we used to. But we do buy more of it. And dirty tap water is having its price fixed as I type.

Stealth me arse.

author by pat cpublication date Thu Nov 09, 2006 14:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"And dirty tap water is having its price fixed as I type."

Well, not everyone regards it as being dirty. You have stated before that you wont drink or at all wash in normal piped water due to the flouride which is added. This must mean that you spend a lot on bottled water so you are hardly in a position to lecture others about purchasing it.

You have produced no evidence to back up your contention that the price of water is being fixed right now. I wouldn't be suprised if there was an attempt to introduce water charges but you wont see it this side of an election

"Stealth me arse."

Thats just a churlish comment and adds nothing to the debate.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Thu Nov 09, 2006 15:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I've never once, in the whole of my existence paid for a bottle of water.

My dirty tap water is filtered to remove all fluoride, aluminimum sulphate, sulphuric acid and other impurities and toxic substances. It's my belief that the State should have provided for this filtration system for me rather than dumping the truckloads of shite into my water supply. Of course you might add that I paid for this filtration system and that I've therefore paid for my water. Well good on ya if you do, you will again be making my argument for me, that water has been privatised.

As for my 'churlish' comment, adding nothing to the debate. You've have some nerve, if little intellect. You've added nothing whatsoever to this debate. You have only offered opinion (deeply flawed and naive) without reference to back it up. That's not debate; that's whinging.

author by pat cpublication date Thu Nov 09, 2006 15:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Of course you might add that I paid for this filtration system and that I've therefore paid for my water. Well good on ya if you do, you will again be making my argument for me, that water has been privatised."

I would say no such thing. putting words into my mouth will not winn the debate for you.

"As for my 'churlish' comment, adding nothing to the debate. You've have some nerve, if little intellect."

More abuse, if anyone is showing a lack of intellect it is you, through misinterpetation of the water directives.

"You've added nothing whatsoever to this debate. You have only offered opinion (deeply flawed and naive) without reference to back it up. "

Sean, you have provided nothing to back up your contention that water has been privatised. Your opinion is the one which is naive; its not shared by anyone other than the authors of this article. No party or organisation agrees with your contention.

"That's not debate; that's whinging."

You seem to think that anyone who disagrees with you is whinging. You seem to live in a different reality from the rest of Ireland. But in the real Ireland water has not been privatised.

You opened this article with: "The country took one step closer to water privatisation recently ". You finished your article with "Water privatisation is on the way".

But within a few comments you were claiming: "The point here is that water has been privatised".

So within a few days your belief shifted from privatisation was on the way, to privatisation actually having arrived. You cannot even keep your own story straight.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Mon Nov 20, 2006 14:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Finally the mainstream media wake up!!

"THE Government is planning to introduce household water charges by stealth under sweeping powers it has given itself under the Water Services Bill, the Labour Party has warned."
http://www.irishexaminer.com/irishexaminer/pages/story....1.asp

Now can we get on with stopping this?

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/79663&comment_limit=0&c...76735

author by pat cpublication date Mon Nov 20, 2006 15:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Indeed, I always wrote that the real danger facing us was the possible introduction of Water charges, this is what we should be concentrating on rather than the more unlikely danger of privatisation. No party is committed to Water Privatisation at present but lets get them to say that they are opposed to it.

Indeed the Water Services Bill is the very one reffered to above which you were discounting. This bill is:
"passing through the Oireachtas committee stage,"

So it certainly is not law of the land.

Its up to us to lobby to ensure that any offensive sections of this bill are removed. As Eamon Gilmore says:
“Water is a natural commodity and should not be put up for sale in this way. Access to free water should be seen as a right, not a luxury,”

As well as making sure that Labour & SF put amendments to the bill (I think we can rely on Joe Higgins & the SP) there is also a need for extra-parlimentary action including raising it through the trade union, student and unemployed movements as well as in community groups of course.

A spokesman for Environment Minister Dick Roche insisted the Government has no plans to introduce water charges.

“We are not going to privatise water and have no intention of bringing in domestic water charges. We have made that very clear. It will not happen now or after the election,” he said.


Lets make sure that hes not able to break his word on this.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Tue Nov 21, 2006 20:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well I tried...

I'm not going to justify the article that Pat C is posting from other than to say that I only provided the link to show that the Mainstream Media are finally catching on.

I see that Pat is now having to backstep, from his earlier stance where he all but calls what myself and Elaine have described as 'water privatisation' as a conspiracy theory. I'm sure he'll go to the trouble to say this is incorrect and needlessly quote from some of the rhetoric he's repeatedly posted here to 'prove otherwise.'

I'll not attempt to justify Labour's position and the Examiner's position on this as it is naive at best and it allows Labour to at some point say that they tried to warn us.

Labour has put the damage on the long finger and the article spins the idea that this is some new fangled idea that privatisation, will happen in the future if the present government are returned, and it quotes legislation presently before the Dáil as a justification for its thesis.

The only problem being that Labour and the Examiner quote stuff that has already happened to support their prediction about the future and it shows that the current legislation before the Dáil is but a smokescreen. Public resources have already been handed over to foreign and non-State bodies and they already controll the process.

I'm not saying the proposed legislation doesn't stink - because it does - I'm saying that: in as far as privatisation of water and water charges are concerned - that it doesn't 'open the door' - it keeps a door that was opened long ago, fully open.

Labour should not try to get out of the fact that they were caught napping by attempting to close a door right beside a gaping hole that has existed for ages. They should bite the bullet and examine the whole issue and solve it from the beginning.

I'm sure Pat C or other like minded parties will try to muddy what I'm saying. However I'm confident that the general reader will see what I'm saying and be disgusted at the picture presented.

So - let's not stand on the precipice and complain about the potholes. Let us reclaim what is ours naturally and bedamned be the begrudgers and obfuscators.

The issues are privatisation of our water and the water charges that will happen if we continue to bow so low.

Say no! And don't offer excuses as to why.

author by pat cpublication date Wed Nov 22, 2006 11:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Don't cry wolf when you cluck like a chicken"

Thats just meaningless abuse.

"I see that Pat is now having to backstep, from his earlier stance where he all but calls what myself and Elaine have described as 'water privatisation' as a conspiracy theory."

I am not. You said that the EU Directives as passed into law provided for privatisation. Gilmore doesnt agree with you on this; he says that the Water Services Bill currently in committee stage would allow for privatisation and must be opposed.

"I'll not attempt to justify Labour's position and the Examiner's position on this as it is naive at best and it allows Labour to at some point say that they tried to warn us."

I think you wont do this because it counters the position you have put forward all along.

"Labour has put the damage on the long finger and the article spins the idea that this is some new fangled idea that privatisation, will happen in the future if the present government are returned, and it quotes legislation presently before the Dáil as a justification for its thesis."

Yes thats correct. No previous legislation pass by the Oireachtas allows for privatisation of water.

"The only problem being that Labour and the Examiner quote stuff that has already happened to support their prediction about the future and it shows that the current legislation before the Dáil is but a smokescreen."

Well, thats your opinion. I dont think too many people agree with you.

" Public resources have already been handed over to foreign and non-State bodies and they already controll the process."

Again that is just a repetition of what you have asserted above in several comments. But contracting out of work is not the same as privatisation.

"I'm not saying the proposed legislation doesn't stink - because it does - I'm saying that: in as far as privatisation of water and water charges are concerned - that it doesn't 'open the door' - it keeps a door that was opened long ago, fully open."

No. It proposes to open the door. Sean, we can stop them from opening this door.

"Labour should not try to get out of the fact that they were caught napping by attempting to close a door right beside a gaping hole that has existed for ages. They should bite the bullet and examine the whole issue and solve it from the beginning."

Sean, we get back to the fact that the SP, SWP, WSM, LP, SF do not believe that privatisation has already taken place. Its possible that all of those groupsare wrong and that you are right but I would suggest you reconsider your position.

"The issues are privatisation of our water and the water charges that will happen if we continue to bow so low."

Now we agree! It might happen unless we fight against this bill.

Lets demand that all reference to or sections allowing for privatisation or charges be deleted from the Bill.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Wed Nov 22, 2006 14:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For the very very last time...

Privatisation is a process. A process can be on the way or happening (as water privatisation is) and still be described as here.

My argument about privatisation is based on fact and on reality, as opposed to Labour's argument for it. They have admitted that our natural resources have been farmed out to private concerns and then they use this as a basis to prove privatisation via new legislation before the Dáil. This is very lazy (and dangerous) of Labour and shows that they are clutching for straws as they don't want to be seen as having been asleep, whilst privatisation (process - as opposed to a finished and complete process) has happened and is happening under their noses.

As for Labour disagreeing with me. That's pure obfuscation - Labour now believe in water privatisation - I fail to see where we disagree. Unless of course you mean the grounding arguments (the fact that our natural resources are given or sold to private companies - in this particular instance our water) behind this belief. And as I said, Labour has used a very similar argument to the one given here as the grounding argument. The difference being - again - that Labour use this argument to shovel out the new legislation as being the thing to worry about. I say that the Grounding argument itself is the thing to worry about - take care of this and this new legislation gets taken care of. However, just take care of the new legislation and the Grounding argument remains.

And... I didn't use European Legislation (the European Water Framework Directive) as the proof for privatisation - I've said that the Irish Government can, and have cherry-picked it, and have facilitated big business through its misuse. I suppose one could argue that the misuse of the Water Framework Driective facilitates privatisation - this would be why the Dutch government recently enacted legislation that states directly that water in the Netherlands will always remain in the hands of the public. They did this specifically for the reason I've just outlined with regard to cherry-picking. Again this European Legislation figures in the argument about the privatisation of our water supply, but it is only a spoke on a very massive wheel.

The simple reason for water privatisation therefore is not the European Legislation in itself, but is the Government's greed, the opposition's blindness and laziness and private industry's march for power and ownership. An over-simplification indeed - but a very real result and a very real concern.

author by pat cpublication date Wed Nov 22, 2006 14:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"will you be as steadfast in your responce to the abuse described, as you are to the abuse you allege"

Another waste of words.

"Privatisation is a process. A process can be on the way or happening (as water privatisation is) and still be described as here."

You keep changing your position on this. Sometimes you say it has happened. Sometimers you say it is a process. Thats clear for everyone to see. All they have to do is scroll back up and read your comments.

"My argument about privatisation is based on fact and on reality, as opposed to Labour's argument for it. "

No. Your argument is based on your interpetation of the EU Directives as transposed into Irish Law. Very few people seem to share your belief.

"They have admitted that our natural resources have been farmed out to private concerns and then they use this as a basis to prove privatisation via new legislation before the Dáil. "

This is becauise they dont believe that privatisatuion has taken place.

"This is very lazy (and dangerous) of Labour and shows that they are clutching for straws as they don't want to be seen as having been asleep, whilst privatisation (process - as opposed to a finished and complete process) has happened and is happening under their noses."

Sean, would you not consider that you might be wrong? Could it posibly be that Labour and all the other organisations are right and that it is this new Water Services Bill that contains the danger of privatisation being introduced.

"As for Labour disagreeing with me. That's pure obfuscation - Labour now believe in water privatisation - I fail to see where we disagree. Unless of course you mean the grounding arguments (the fact that our natural resources are given or sold to private companies - in this particular instance our water) behind this belief. "

Sean, you stated that the EU Directives provided for privatisation. Labour do not acept that. Thats why opposing the Water Services Bill is crucial.

Sean, there is no point in me addressing your long piece on European Directives and Legislation, they are not relevant. What is relevant is the Water Services Bil: that provides for privatisation.

author by True Leftpublication date Mon Nov 27, 2006 20:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here you are again, using quote and rebuke in an endless twaddle, answering nothing, engaging in nothing, offering nothing.
You dismiss genuine concerns that have been broached in the posted article as alarmist and belonging to the realm of the "conspiracy theorist" which smacks to me of either a vested interest or a political hack, either way you are injecting needless and mischievous side issues, supposition and spin.
Are you for privatization? Do you have access to the mechanism of government to oversee or amend the Water Bill Directive? Should we leave this important issue in the hands of already discredited politicians? Are you suggesting such?
A troll is a troll is a troll, and you sir (and your other pseudonyms) are a troll.
Privatization is privatization, and what is happening here is a softening up process.
There is no other reason for installing a water meter as standard on all new dwellings than as a means to monitor and charge use of such. That simple fact alone should be enough to convince anyone. WHY ARE METERS BEING PUT IN? For the hell of it? Dublin City Council bought them by mistake and are sticking them in on all the new housing developments to cover the gaff? The government is conducting a survey and will use the meters to measure domestic water useage? Why?
The answer of course is that the government is installing the infrastructure necessary to support water charges, and by the neo-liberal process sell it off to private companies etc etc. As what happened across the water.
I don’t trust this issue in the hands of politicians, the only thing that will stop privatization/water charges is massive public outcry and a committed campaign to that end and I welcome all who say it, how it is, and want to make this a public issue.
Sean Ryan is to be commended.

author by maggotpublication date Mon Nov 27, 2006 21:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There were electric and gas metres in houses when there was no thought of privatizing those resources ;metres in themselves don't mean privatization. But given the pro-market leanings of the government you'd have to be very suspicious.

author by Michaelpublication date Mon Nov 27, 2006 21:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Under the Water Reform proposals in the North, to introduce separate water charges, metering is being offerred to pensioners. Three years ago when reform was mooted, universal metering was regarded by Water Service as being at disproportionate cost - an extra £100m by my memory. The "offer" to pensioners is essentially a Trojan Horse by which to introduce the concept of paying separately for water. Pensioners will be conned into thinking the measure to be a safety net, made just for them. As the proposal is for Water and Sewerage services to be completely self-financing with no Treasury support beyond the next two years, the additional capital costs of these meters will be spread across all consumers.

It is a shameful indictment of our society that we can introduce a measure that we know will have an adverse impact on pensioners, who will avoid therapeutic bathing in the vain hope that halving their water use will halve their bill. Over 70% of the cost of water provison lies in the infrastructure, not in the actual consumption. The Government know this and yet are prepared to add to the misery of a vulnerable group of citizens, too many of whom already needlessly fail to heat their homes for fear of winter fuel poverty. Thankfully there is to be a determined campaign of non-payment to defeat this iniquitous measure. Good luck in your struggle down south.

author by True Leftpublication date Mon Nov 27, 2006 21:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

But I agree wholeheartedly with your misgivings about government. They cannot be trusted.
Also,
Electricity and gas are already well on their way to being privatized, proof in itself, i think, that once the mechanisms for charging are in place, privatization is only around the corner. It may take decades as in the case of electricity, but then you have to remember when those electric meters where put in privatization was a relatively unknown concept. All the meters have done in this case is make privatization of the ESB much easier as all the necessary infrastructure is in place. As for Gas, well look to Mayo

A meter measures usage for a reason, the reason is to charge.

author by True Leftpublication date Mon Nov 27, 2006 21:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

My last post was a reply to maggot, not Michael.
It looks like i was disagreeing with him and i wouldnt like to give that impression.
Apologies for any confusion caused

author by pat cpublication date Tue Nov 28, 2006 17:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Here you are again, using quote and rebuke in an endless twaddle, "

Thats just abuse.

"answering nothing, "

I answered the points raised, you just dont like my answers.

"You dismiss genuine concerns that have been broached in the posted article as alarmist and belonging to the realm of the "conspiracy theorist" which smacks to me of either a vested interest or a political hack, either way you are injecting needless and mischievous side issues, supposition and spin."

Your style is very similar to someone else on this thread. How could I have a vested interest when I am opposed to water charges and opposed to privatisation? The only vested interest I do have is to ensure that commercial water charges are retained for farmers and business. I just do not believe that the authors are correct in their assertions.

"Are you for privatization? Do you have access to the mechanism of government to oversee or amend the Water Bill Directive? Should we leave this important issue in the hands of already discredited politicians? Are you suggesting such?"

No. I am suggesting that a campaign be launched against water charges and privatisation. Labour say that they are opposed to privatisation, as do the Greens and SF. Lets hasskle them to ensure that they put forward amendments. Lets also campaign outside of parliamentary structures. Its standard practise in democratically run campaigns to lobby the DAil parties as well as engaging in other actions.

"A troll is a troll is a troll, and you sir (and your other pseudonyms) are a troll."

I am a troll because I dusagree with the assessment of the author of this article? As I pointed out, WSM, SP, SWP, GP, SF do not believe that the EU Directive provided for privatisation. Now its becoming obvious, apparently even to you that it is the WAter Services Bill which carries the risk of privatisation being introduced.

"There is no other reason for installing a water meter as standard on all new dwellings than as a means to monitor and charge use of such. That simple fact alone should be enough to convince anyone."

"The answer of course is that the government is installing the infrastructure necessary to support water charges, and by the neo-liberal process sell it off to private companies etc etc. As what happened across the water."

No political party appears to support the idea of water privatisation. Noot even the PDs.

"I don’t trust this issue in the hands of politicians, the only thing that will stop privatization/water charges is massive public outcry and a committed campaign to that end and I welcome all who say it, how it is, and want to make this a public issue."

I dont either thats why I support the idea of a campaign. But I dont believe that such a campaign will be built on the foundations of incorrect information. Any such campaign would be a broad based one and would be run on an open democratic basis.

author by True Leftpublication date Tue Nov 28, 2006 19:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why are water meters being installed as standard on all new housing developements?

Please answer this question and THIS question alone?

author by pat cpublication date Tue Nov 28, 2006 19:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Why are water meters being installed as standard on all new housing developements?

Please answer this question and THIS question alone?"

I dont usually answer questions to order. But I reckon they are put there to enable water charges to be introduced. Something which I oppose just as I oppose privatisation.

Why not ask the Greens? They oppose privatisation but they support water metering and domestic water charges.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Fri Dec 08, 2006 22:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Sligo Weekender has been following the progress of water charges and water privatisation.

It has asked a very simple question - yet a very poignant one. It has asked why a multinational company like Veolia has been given the contract to read water meters, it suggests that this meter reading could be done by any local accountancy firm. The Weekender also points out that, unlike the UK which passed legislation banning water supplies being cut off (in the event of non-payment), Ireland has no such legislation and indeed there exists legislation that allows water supplies to be cut off.

Quite a decent article by the Weekender - methinks Sligo is leading the way: http://www.sligoweekender.ie/news/story.asp?j=30876

In another publication it was revealed that 1,200 people from throughout Connacht attended a meeting on the 4th of this month to support Sligo farmers at a meeting convened to help get rig of the water metering scheme.

Fine Gael have jumped onto the bandwagon also and are calling on Sligo Co. Council to remove the contract for metering from Veolia. http://www.oceanfm.ie/onair/sligoleitrimnews.php?articl...03727

Oceanfm published another article the day after the one linked above. Seems that Fianna Fail are also trying to weasel their way into the debate and distance themselves from the actions of Sligo Co. Council. http://www.oceanfm.ie/onair/sligoleitrimnews.php?articl...03736

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Tue Dec 26, 2006 19:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Letterkenny Chamber is going bugshite at the possiblility of Donegal Co. Council passing unpaid water bills onto a debt collection agency. They are saying that the Council would be better served by meeting their obligations to implement water metering.

One can only wonder.

Related Link: http://www.highlandradio.com/news.php?articleid=000003495

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