First water bills to be sent out on April Fool’s Day ar Lá na nAmadán, 2015!
The introduction of water charges was wrong yesterday, it is wrong today and it will be wrong tomorrow.
Nothing has changed except the governments use of language to justify the reduced charges in the short term in a blatant attempt to divide our united opposition and to save their own political skins.
Indeed significantly and without a trace of irony it seems they have chosen the 1st April 201 5 as the day to send out the first water bills!
Let us not be divided nor treated as Fools!
Ní raibh siad ceart inné, níl siad ceart inniu agus ní bheidh siad ceart amárach.
Ní neart go cur le chéile!
Up to today, the Government informed us that water charges were absolutely essential for two primary reasons.
First and foremost to encourage the conservation of water by asking us to pay only for what we used.
Secondly, water charges were necessary as a stream of revenue (excuse the bad pun)to allow Irish Water as an entity to continue to function and to borrow more money to enable it to tackle the serious infrastructural difficulties that exist.
It was further explained that this revenue stream from the proposed water charges would have to amount to at least in the region of 320 million euro to make the system viable.
Today the Minister abandoned this logic completely and introduced flat rates of 160/ 260 Euro for single/family households respectively putting an end to the illusion that the charge was ever about conservation and with no mention whatsoever of the 540 million euro that has literally gone into the ground with the installation of new meters ostensibly to encourage us to conserve!
The reduced water charge of course reduces the planned income stream for Irish Water but we were also informed that this reduction suddenly poses no difficulty as the government will make up the balance!
In addition, the government will pay every household that registers a conservation grant of 100 Euro which will be administered by the Department of Social Protection.
Minister Kelly had no figures to hand for the cost of this but it seems there are 1.8 million households so you can multiply the figure yourselves. Further no consideration at all was given to the cost of administering this scheme by a Department that is clearly already under pressure.
These changes amongst others which I will come back to over the coming week immediately beg the question as to why such funds could not be provided to those best placed to manage and deliver our water services-the local authorities of Ireland.
It is crystal clear however why the government cannot and will not do this. It is because the creation of Irish Water was the first and most significant step in the privatisation of our water services- the changes today are simply to buy off the opposition for the time being with a view to the next election.
The charges will not come into play until January 2015 and as already pointed out the first bills will be sent out on April Fools Day 2015.
Have you been fooled?