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Axing of water charges is within EU

law
Friday, March 03, 2017
Ireland is not subject to the spectre of massive fines or
penalties for scrapping water charges thanks to the
freedom available to member states to set their own rules
over the EUs water laws, according to Fianna Fil.

In lengthy legal advice published last night, Michel


Martins party put further pressure on the Government to
justify its reasons for not permanently abolishing
household water charges.
Political parties are at an impasse on deciding the future of
water charges in Ireland, ahead of a crunch meeting of an
Oireachtas committee next week which must report to
the Dil within days.
Amid threats that the Coalition could collapse, the
Government and Fianna Fil are divided on whether a so-
called excess charge should remain for households
wasting water.
Housing Minister Simon Coveney said yesterday that
normal water bills would be abolished but Ireland was
obliged under EU law to charge households using excess
amounts.
Water charges are gone, theyre going to be abolished,
said Mr Coveney. Normal usage for households across the
country will be paid for through general taxation.
"But there needs to be a consequence for people who
waste large volumes of water. We have a legal obligation
to make sure that happens but that is also the right thing
to do.
His position, backed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, puts the
Government on a collision course with Fianna Fil, whose
spokesman Barry Cowen warned that if Mr Coveney
refuses to legislate to scrap charges, it is him that is
bringing down the Government.
Fianna Fil went one step further last night by publishing
private legal advice which backs their claim that Ireland is
not breaching EU law by scrapping charges.
The advice sets out why Ireland is exempt from charges, a
position which dismisses any suggestion of EU penalties
applying.
The 33-page document says Ireland has a wide
discretion as to how it complies with the EUs water
framework directive.
Barristers Darren Lehane and Conleth Bradley say EU laws
do not require all countries to have the same rules, as
there is no complete harmonisation among member
states regarding water. It suggests states, according to the
directive, can decide not to charge households as there is
no requirement for cost recovery to rely on individual
consumption.
However, Mr Kenny insisted his Government would not
implement legislation on water charges that is illegal.
The Government says the attorney general, the EU, and an
expert group all agree it is illegal, with some suggestions
Ireland would face 50m in fines if charges are abolished.
Speaking in Brussels, Mr Kenny hinted the water
committee might get extra time.
I would expect them to deliberate on that and continue
their work until such time as they bring forward their
views and their recommendations to the Oireachtas, he
said.
Meanwhile, it is understood that Green Party senator and
committee member Grace OSullivan is willing to support
Fine Gaels push for an excess charge but only if there
is a guarantee of a referendum on keeping Irish Water in
public ownership. This is in line with commitments she has
given to the civil engagement group in the Seanad.
http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/axing-of-water-charges-is-
within-eu-law-444302.html

Concerns raised on lack of separation


of storm water and sewage
Irish Water has said it is liaising with the OPW and its
consultants about concerns that a 8m flood prevention
scheme might not work properly if there is no division
between storm water and sewage drainage.
Friday, March 03, 2017
Sean ORiordan

Fears have been raised by some residents and businesses


that there is no proper separation of drains in a Cork
satellite town.
In the past, the lack of adequate, separate storm water
drains has led to rain water cascading into sewerage
systems, resulting in houses and businesses getting
flooded with contaminated water.
This concern has been raised with Irish Water, which is
responsible for such drainage, as part of public
consultation into flood relief project in Glanmire.
An Irish Water spokeswoman said it has highlighted to the
OPW and its consultants the issue of the combined
network and overflows being a potential risk to the flood
protection measures.
We have requested the OPW to ensure this issue is
considered in their design and Irish water will be engaging
with the OPW during the design process, the
spokeswoman said.
Millions of euro worth of damage was caused to around
more than 60 homes and around 20 businesses as a result
of major flooding in Glanmire in June 2012.
Many of them were contaminated with sewage and further
houses were similarly contaminated during a less severe
flood in December 2015.
One residents association in the area made a lengthy
submission as part of the public consultation process in
which it claimed several planning permissions were
granted in Glanmire which should never had been allowed
because the buildings were located on flood plains.
They sought assurances that this would never happen
again.
Residents also claimed that various conditions attached to
some of these developments were ignored by developers
and not subsequently enforced by the local authority.
Assurances have also been sought that the sewage
situation be dealt with through an interagency approach
involving Irish Water, the Health & Safety Authority, Cork
County Council, OPW, Inland Fisheries and the Department
of Environment.
Consultants say that when completed, the project will
protect 106 properties, of which 78 are residential, from
the threat of future flooding.
A number of remedial works will be undertaken along the
River Glashaboy from Sallybrook Industrial Estate
downstream to Glanmire village.
Scrapped 100 water grant is still
being paid
A small number of people are still receiving the
controversial 100 water conservation grant, despite the
payment being scrapped more than a year ago.
Friday, March 03, 2017

The Department of Housing and Local Government


confirmed the situation at the latest meeting of the Dils
public accounts committee yesterday.
Speaking during a four-hour meeting with the cross-party
group as the ongoing water charges standoff between Fine
Gael and Fianna Fil threatens to bring down the
Government, officials said in 2015 that 89m was made
available to pay for the grant. That was the year for the
latest figures.
However, despite the fact the grant was scrapped last
year when water charges were suspended after the 2016
general election, department secretary general John
McCarthy confirmed a small number of the 890,104 people
who had applied for the payment in 2015 are continuing to
receive it.
A Department of Housing spokesperson last night
confirmed this rate was 3,197 in 2016 and three so far this
year, and relates to cases where someone applied in 2015
but had yet to receive the payment.
The Department of Social Protection, which administered
the water conservation grant on behalf of the department,
made grant payments totalling just over 89m in respect
of 890,104 applications under the scheme.
A small number of residual payments continue to be made
to householders who have an entitlement to the 2015
water conservation grant, said Mr McCarthy.
Due to the fact the confidence and supply deal between
Fine Gael and Fianna Fil in the aftermath of the 2016
general election included plans to suspend water charges
until at least April 1 this year, the grant first introduced in
November 2014, was scrapped.
This is because it no longer served its official purpose of
encouraging people to sign up to Irish Water for
conservation and environmental reasons, and its
opposition alleged unofficial reason of being a de facto
bribe to the public to register with the utility.
The revelation that it is continuing to be paid to a small
number of people is likely to lead to more questions over
the chaotic nature of the Irish Water system as the
Oireachtas water committee struggles to find agreement
on the utility.
Meanwhile, a junior minister has said that there needs to
be a reasonable approach to water charges and that the
cross-party Oireachtas water committee needs to be given
time to try to complete its work.
The committee is expected to produce a report on whether
to return or scrap water charges by March 13, before its
findings are voted on by the Dil before the end of this
month.
However, the standoff between Fine Gael and Fianna Fil
over the issue means it is now likely the report will be
delayed a number of weeks, meaning the vote will also be
pushed back, potentially forcing an election.
Addressing the issue yesterday, junior minister for the
diaspora Joe McHugh said Fine Gael wants to find a
solution to the stalemate.
Im sure people within Fianna Fil, who I speak to
privately as well, that can find a solution to this impasse,
he said.
http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/scrapped-100-water-grant-is-
still-being-paid-444292.html

Families 'could see water charges


refund'
Friday, March 03, 2017
Update 9.30am: It has been reported that families could
receive a refund on their water bills.

According to the Irish Independent, Fianna Fil and Fine


Gael have reached a compromise - following a week of
turmoil on the issue.

It is believed households will get back up to 325 under


the deal.

Earlier:

Sinn Fin has described the Taoiseach's comments on


water charges as "bogus".

Enda Kenny yesterday insisted Fine Gael will not facilitate


any laws to scrap all domestic water charges - which the
party says would be illegal.

The Oireachtas Committee discussing the future of water


has given parties until later today to make new proposals
on whether the public should be charged for excessive
use.

"Well, the Taoiseach's comments from yesterday are


completely bogus," said Sinn Fein's spokesman on water is
Eoin O'Broin.
"Scotland has no domestic water charges and they are
fully compliant with EU law, Northern Ireland has no
domestic water charges and they are fully compliant with
EU law.

"So, so as long as we meet the environmental objective


contained in EU legislation, which Sinn Fin believes we
can, then the issue of charges is irrelevant."

http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/famili
es-could-see-water-charges-refund-779794.html
Households to get 325
in water bill refunds
Water refunds on the way as FG offers
olive branch to FF in row over charges
Kevin Doyle and Cormac McQuinn
March 3 2017

Fianna Fils Barry Cowen speaking outside Leinster


House. Photo: Tom Burke
Almost one million households can expect
water charge refunds of up to 325 as part
of a compromise between Fine Gael and
Fianna Fil.
The two parties remain at loggerheads over the total
abolition of charges - but Housing Minister Simon
Coveney now accepts there is no point chasing people with
unpaid bills.
Mr Coveney previously said non-payers should be pursued
because refunds would set "a dangerous precedent".
However, the Irish Independent understands he will cede
ground on this issue as an olive branch to Fianna Fil.
One source estimated the cost of refunding bill payers at
162m.
Mr Coveney is also prepared to sign a ministerial order to
extend the current suspension of water charges beyond
March 31.
This would happen if a consensus on their abolition
cannot be found in the coming days.
Read more: Niall O'Connor: FF keeps the rural vote on
tap as water charge anger streams out
In a formal submission to be made to the Committee on
the Future Funding of Water today, Fine Gael will
continue to argue that charges must be retained for people
who waste water.
In line with Mr Coveney's public statements over recent
days, the party's negotiating team will state that some
form of charging is necessary to avoid massive fines from
the EU.
They want the 900,000 water meters already in the
ground to be maintained, all newly built homes to have a
meter installed and 'opt-in' opportunities for home owners
who want to get a meter.
However, Fianna Fil's water spokesman Barry Cowen has
told the Irish Independent his party believes Fine Gael
"wants to retain the billing system as a method of
capture". He said domestic meters should be considered
redundant because "the regime is going and everything to
do with it".
There is growing expectation that the water committee,
chaired by Independent senator Pdraig Cidigh, will
not be able to reach a compromise on charges.
Sources on both sides of the debate expect the 20
members of the cross-party committee to be split down the
middle on the issue.
Read more: Coveney hatches plan to turn tables on FF in
battle over water bills
Crucially, Fianna Fil is insisting that excessive usage be
dealt with through the 2007 Water Services Act, which
provides for punishment for people who wilfully abuse and
overuse water.
Mr Cowen said his party would be willing for amendments
to be made to the act if necessary.
However, Mr Coveney believes this will not satisfy
Ireland's legal requirements under the EU's Water
Framework Directive.
Abolished
"Water charges are gone. They are going to be abolished,"
the minister admitted yesterday.
"Normal usage for households across the country will be
paid for through normal taxation.
"But there needs to be consequences for people who waste
large quantities of water.
"There's a legal obligation for that to happen but it's also
the right thing to do."
He added that it "makes sense" to use existing meters to
catch households wasting water.
Fine Gael's submission will state that the Commission for
Energy Regulation (CER) should be responsible for
deciding what is considered excessive usage, but Fianna
Fil wants the figure set by politicians.
"If the CER estimated the average person uses 123 litres a
day, then excessive use should be set at three times.
"But that's just me having a stab at it," Mr Cowen said.
"That's us engaging with it, they're not."
The minister said he wanted to find "a middle ground that
everybody can live with politically".
"I think there has been enough debate and division and
angst on water without this being scaled up into
something it shouldn't be," said Mr Coveney.
Despite protests, around 975,000 people paid domestic
water charges at some stage during the five billing cycles
before charges were suspended last summer.
The maximum paid by a single person under the scheme is
200, while a family paid up to 325.
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/households-
to-get-325-in-water-bill-refunds-35498144.html
ironic to see barry cowen trying to look like the hero on this. we can't
forget it was his brother who was taoiseach at the time when the banks
were bailed out.
this country.
Conceived by Fianna Fail, implemented by Fine Gael. Supervised by Phil
Hogan first and then Alan Kelly, managed by John Tierney. Let's be
honest, IW was never going to amount to anything but an expensive
failure.
Our top politicians and civil servants tried something simple, to set up a
state utility, and failed miserably. How can they claim to be fit to run a
country? HSE, Tusla, Eircode, electronic voting machines, effective
policing, public transport ........ the list of failures goes on and on. It
would not be unfair to call us a functioning failed state.
FF, too little too late. You, and the banks you bailed out, wrecked this
country, and then FG had the nerve to blame us!

Neither of the main parties are worthy my vote. Both are intent on
lining their own pockets, while doffing their caps to the EU and
grabbing every cent from our pockets.

I do not know how I will vote in the next election, but I have never voted
for either of these parties and never will. I was a life long Labour party
voter, until they sold their souls for a place at the table, never again.
No head will roll.
They are on about water leaks and waste. What about the money leaks
and wastage from the Dail? They wanted to penalise in court and fine,
those that could not or would not pay, yet they get off the hook Scot-free
having squandered an absolute unadulterated fortune!
Those responsible for this disaster should be sacked without a pension.
Let's see how long they might survive in the private sector with their
levels of mismanagement of resources. Question is, who would be stupid
enough to hire any one of them??
'The minister said he wanted to find "a middle ground that everybody
can live with politically"'. The Blueshirts are absolutely desperate to save
a tiny bit of face here. Better they were sanctioned for wasting billions in
public money on a failed billing service and redundant water meters,
when that money could have been spent actually fixing faults in the
system, or on addressing the scandals in health, housing and
homelessness.
but here's the rub, FG promised major reform of the political
establishment, and end to the disgraceful practise of people on trolleys,
USC to go etc, etc, etc......none of these promises have been met instead
they've presided over the establishment of the largest quango this state
has seen, the worse homeless crisis we've seen in centuries, the largest
level's of patients on trolleys, the list goes on and on.
ironic to see barry cowen trying to look like the hero on this. we can't
forget it was his brother who was taoiseach at the time when the banks
were bailed out.
this country.
The downfall of the Labour party was very simply taken from the poor
the blind and the pensioners was there downfall and telling porkies to
the people while doing it made it worse. Therefore FG will soon find
out the same the people of Ireland cant stand been lied to by political
people that are overpaid and Cant do there job.
Another Cowen trying to stretch his muscles...personally I have had
enough of those guys.....NOW TO WATER CHARGES I FIRMLY
BELIEVE THAT THE WATER WASTERS OF THIS COUNTRY
SHOULD PAY AND IM AWARE OF RICH PEOPLE IN SOUTH
DUBLIN WHO HAVE NO PROBLEM IM LETTING THE SPRINKLERS
RUN AL DAY EVERY DAY TO KEEP THEIR GRASS GREEN...I
GENUINELY DONT SEE WHY THOSE PEOPLE DONT PAY FOR
WATER
Water solution is still the 8bn
conundrum
Friday, March 03, 2017
Jim Power

A clean and safe water supply is vital for our economic


prosperity, writes Jim Power.

A couple of years ago, I based an Irish Examiner column


on the experience I had driving through California in the
midst of a frightening drought.
This experience brought home to me just how important
water is as a commodity and put in context the rubbish
that was being spouted by much of the anti-water charge
campaign in this country.
Upon my return, I was greeted with a torrent of vitriolic
personal abuse from keyboard warriors, most of whom
operated under the cowardly veil of anonymity.
This week, the water charge issue came back into the
limelight with apparent strong disagreement emerging
amongst the members of the Oireachtas committee that
was set up to look into the issue of water charges, which
in itself was an attempt to kick the issue down the road.
However, we have now reached another cul de sac on that
road and definitive decisions will have to be made on how
Irelands water infrastructure will be brought up to
standard.
My personal belief is we should pay for water and the
more we use the more we should pay. A generous
allowance should be part of the deal and account should
be taken of ability to pay.
I also believe the setting up of a utility to focus on water is
the right way to go. However, the manner in which the last
Government approached the issue was all wrong and
displayed a remarkable degree of political cowardice and
incompetence.
Be that as it may, it is vital that we address all of these
issues now, before it is too late.
The reality is a guaranteed supply of clean and safe water
is vital for the health and the economic prosperity of the
country. Another reality is that these conditions currently
do not exist.
Water quality in many parts of the country is poor and
often injurious to health; the pipe network is of poor
physical quality and in some cases poisonous; and we are
still pumping raw sewage into the sea.
All of these issues are totally unacceptable, not to mention
the fact that they are exposing Ireland to potentially
significant fines from the EU.
It is estimated that the Irish water infrastructure will
require investment in excess of 8bn over the coming
years to bring it up to an acceptable standard.
The question is where this money might come from? We
have three options do nothing, increase taxes or divert
expenditure away from other vital public services.
The anti-water charge brigade argue it should come from
general taxation and that we are already paying for water
through general taxation. If that is the case, we are clearly
not paying enough as evidenced by the unacceptably low
level of investment in the water infrastructure.
The truth is if you are not in the income tax net, then you
are paying little if anything into the tax system to
fund water. It is great to argue that taxes should be
increased to pay for the water system, but this is a very
easy argument to make if one is not in the income tax
system in the first place.
For those of us who are, the burden of personal taxation
has become very penal over the past decade and we now
have one of the most progressive tax systems in the
world. Any further increase in that burden will destroy
incentives and undermine the economy.
The other option, of course, is to take money from other
areas of public sector provision. However, we are now in a
situation where the garda are struggling to provide vital
services after years of serious under-investment and the
same can be said about health and education.
The ultimate problem is there is a segment of the
population that is not prepared to pay for anything, as
evidenced by the dumping of rubbish along rural roads as
well as the water campaign.
Unfortunately, a large part of the political system is
pandering to those people and is promoting the idea that
it is acceptable to break the law of the land.
http://www.irishexaminer.com/business/water-solution-is-still-the-
8bn-conundrum-444289.html
Fianna Fil legal advice gives all
clear to ban or suspend water
charges
Updated / Thursday, 2 Mar 2017

The 33-page document opines that it is open to Ireland to ban or


suspend domestic water charges
This is the actual article body
Fianna Fil has published legal advice it received on
whether Ireland can ban water charges in a way that
is compatible with European Union laws.
The party is in favour of abolishing all charges and
believes the issue of excessive usage can be dealt
with by existing legislation that provides for fines and
imprisonment.
Fianna Fil received advice from barristers Darren
Lehane and Conleth Bradley in relation to Ireland's
EU obligations on water charges.
The 33-page document states that in their opinion it
is open to Ireland to ban or suspend domestic water
charges.
https://www.fiannafail.ie/wp-
content/uploads/2017/03/FF-Legal-Advice-Water.pdf
It states that the European Union's water framework
directive does not seek to achieve complete
harmonisation of the rules of member states
regarding water.
It also states there is no specific requirement in the
directive for cost recovery to rely on individual
consumption.
The lawyers also advise that the absence of pricing
for water service activities will not necessarily
jeopardise the directive's objectives.
The advice says that member states have wide
discretion in the area and that Ireland can avail of the
"established practice" exemption in the directive.
They say that it is for Ireland to determine what
"established practice" is and add it was an
established practice not to have domestic water
charges when the water directive was adopted.

The European Commission wrote to the independent


commission looking at water funding in November
2016.
In its letter, the commission stated "Ireland adopted
its river basin management plans in July 2010,
making a clear commitment to set up water charges
to comply with the provision on water pricing in Article
9(1) of the water framework directive.
"Ireland subsequently applied water charges. The
directive does not allow member states to revert to
any previous practice not entailing the recovery of
costs and the application of the polluter pays
principle."
http://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0302/856776-water/
Metering has nothing to do with privatisation, but
everything to do with conserving a rare and precious
resource. We can't have people leaving their taps running
all day, constantly washing their cars and refilling their
swimming pools on a daily basis. This is the priority before
we even consider fixing the leaks in the delivery system.
The Attorney General, who is entirely independent of
government, has warned that we face billions in fines
from the EU if we don't bring in charges and complete the
metering roll out.
Meanwhile, it is understood that Green Party senator and
committee member Grace OSullivan is willing to support
Fine Gaels push for an excess charge but only if there
is a guarantee of a referendum on keeping Irish Water in
public ownership. This is in line with commitments she has
given to the civil engagement group in the Seanad."
Why did I share this particular paragraph? Because this is
at the heart of the scam.
I don't know how many ways I can get this message
through that if you put a corporate entity like Irish Water
anywhere near the constitution then you might as well
accept water charges right now.
"Sure it's a good thing to ensure IW can never be
privatised by referendum right?"
NO! NO! NO! NO!
That is the neoliberal trap that they want you to fall into!
Once you have a referendum putting Irish Water (the
corporate entity) into the constitution then you are iron
cladding water charges. The whole point of Irish Water's
existence is to meter your consumption and waste water
and then apply a bill to you and your house hold. It really
does nothing else because the Councils are still doing the
work on the ground fixing leaks.
The major factor here is that by accepting the continued
existence of IW then you are accepting that Water should
be metered, charged at a unit price determined by the
energy regulator and then passed on to you in the form of
a legally binding bill of debt which can then be dragged
out of you in court if you refuse to pay.
The absolute worst part of this monumentally stupid idea
is that after accepting IW in the context above, under EU
laws, this constitutes a market for water and under said
laws the market can be forced open to allow other private
providers in to sell you water.
They did this with the ESB and gas, they plan on pulling
the wool over your eyes and doing the same with water
with the CER handing out licences to set up here and
compete with Irish Water.
"Ah but IW can't be privatised so that's a good thing."
Who cares if it's privatised or not? That didn't stop an
explosion in private hospitals in a country that has a public
health system now did it?
Don't fall for this monumentally stupid and dangerous
suggestion.
Demand to put the WATER RESOURCE into the constitution
and see what they do. I guarantee that referendum won't
be so forthcoming
Lastly. Don't believe a single thing from Fianna Fil. They
are playing good cop bad cop. Don't fall for it. They are
trumpeting that they can rid us of "water charges" but
they never ever mention the "waste water charges" that
will most likely be necessary under the Irish Water regime
to fulfil the "polluter pays" principle which didn't matter in
Ireland's case until they set up Irish Water.
Water charges and politics
Thu, Mar 2, 2017
Sir, As Fianna Fil and Sinn Fin have such confidence
in their legal advice that Ireland will not face penalties
from the EU should we fail to introduce water charges
for excess use, I propose that they deal with Simon
Coveneys concerns by offering to pay any such fines
from their own party funds should this advice turn out to
be wrong. Yours, etc,
FRANK E BANNISTER,
Dublin 4.
Sir, Water is a human right, therefore we shouldnt
have to pay for it, goes the argument. We also need food
to survive but I havent heard anyone suggest we should
march into our local supermarket and demand bread
and milk as a human right.
Lets get real here. Clean, drinkable water costs dearly to
provide and we should all pay our share.
To abolish charges even for excessive usage is populist
madness. Yours, etc,
SALLY SWEENEY,
Carrigavantry,
Co Waterford.
A chara, The phoney war between Fine Gael and
Fianna Fil has recommenced about water charges. The
reported major rift between the parties will be quickly
removed. Their lust for power will predominate as usual.
One has to remember that it was the Fianna Fil/Green
government, of which Willie ODea and Michel Martin
were ministers, which agreed with the troika that water
charges would be implemented. Now Fianna Fil wont
agree to any charges despite its previous commitment. It
is shameless and will not act in a civic manner unless it
suits its political ambitions on the day. I think we are
entitled to hear the views of the other parties as to how
we can deal with this issue. Yours, etc,
DAVID J FITZGERALD,
Dn Laoghaire,
Co Dublin.
A chara, With the news that water charges are likely to
be repaid in full, I presume that, in the spirit of this
ongoing saga, this repayment will be made to everyone,
whether they paid their water charges or not. Is mise,
Sir, If we can believe the leaks coming from the
commission on water, we can be confident that even in
the unlikely event of a heatwave this summer, our lawns
and gardens will still be looking their best. Yours, etc,
JOHN EGAN,
Carlow.
http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/water-charges-and-
politics-1.2993995
Water charges: FG to check
if excess use penalty meets
EU law
FF strongly criticises Coveney for intervening in water
committee, says it is unprecedented
about an hour ago Updated: 18 minutes ago
Sarah Bardon

Senior Ministers have supported Simon Coveneys position on the water


issue. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
Fine Gael has agreed to examine if penalties for excessive
usage of water will meet European law in a proposed
compromise with Fianna Fil.
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/water-charges-fg-to-check-
if-excess-use-penalty-meets-eu-law-1.2996629?
mode=sample&auth-failed=1&pw-origin=http%3A%2F
%2Fwww.irishtimes.com%2Fnews%2Fpolitics%2Ffg-agrees-to-
examine-if-excess-water-use-penalty-meets-eu-law-1.2996629
Dublin City Council passes a
motion to have the jailed water
protesters released
March 3, 2015

Amid chants of fascists, Dublin City Council passed a motion


calling for the immediate release of the four jailed anti-water
charge protesters.
The motion was proposed by People Before Profits Cllr. Brd
Smith and was overwhelmingly passed by 27 votes to 22.

Sinn Fin and a number of other left leaning groupings


supported the motion, but it was opposed by Fine Gael,
Labour and Fianna Fil members.
There were also calls for a termination of the 20m exclusion
zone around water meter installers.
Cllr. Smith argued that, the jailing protesters is a complete
waste of time and public monies.
Remind the Minister of Justice (of which there is little for
the common folk as your system has proved over and over
again) about this post. Protesting is not a crime. There Is A
People's Movement Afoot The Likes Of Which You Have
Never Seen Before. FFFGers & Labour Are No Longer
Parties Of The People. You Are Parties of The 'State' & The
EU
Memory is a potent force. Left my hometown as a
teenager. Had superb friends but our lives went in
different directions. As they continued in school I
graduated to becoming a hobo. The street gave birth to
paranoia and all ability to engage was lost, followed by
those friendships. Ended up hating the hometown and the
panic attacks it inspired. The looks. The judgements. The
valley of the squinting windows. Reality was probably
contrary to perception but fear makes you sees what it
wants you to see.
Finding reasons to stay away became easy. Returned one
final time for my mother's funeral and quietly nodded
farewell to the place forever. That was a few years ago.
Then we made 'Patrick's Day' and the RTE Guide decided
to hold a preview screening competition in the old
hometown. The fear returned.
But a woman who had read about the film made contact.
She's a young teacher in the old secondary school we
used to go to. It wasn't the most upmarket of schools but
it was ours and we wouldn't have swapped it for any of the
posher shitholes. She told me about an "Eiffel Tower" in
her classroom that has apparently been there for thirty
years and someone told her that I had made it.
Had no idea what the hell she was talking about and asked
her to photograph it. She did. Held up by one of the kids in
her class. The memory hit like a train and I was twelve-
years-old again. It was wonderfully generous on her part
to make contact. And an incredible testament to the
school that they had kept it.
The fear was still there but we had the RTE Guide
screening of the film and the hometown gave three
standing ovations. Followed by extraordinary write-ups in
their local newspapers. Then I was contacted to see if I'd
be Grand Marshall of the hometown's Saint Patrick's Day
Parade.
I wasn't in Ireland so it wasn't possible. But if people had
told that homeless teenager when he left that town thirty
years ago that he'd be considered as Grand Marshall of
the Paddy's Day parade he'd have pissed himself laughing.
Then pissed on their shoes.
That was two years ago. Still hits hard. Hometowns, huh?
Whether you want them to or not, they get to you.
Savour the moment - We have won the Battle let's get
ready to win the War. All the talk of Water NOT being a Red
Line issue
People Power - will you stand again
FF water paper Refunds, no
charges, no new meters
Updated / Friday, 3 Mar 2017

Fianna Fil has submitted its policy paper on water to the


Oireachtas committee
This is the actual article body
Fianna Fil has said excessive water usage can be
identified and curbed by using existing water
framework and the use of district water meters.
In its policy paper submission to the Oireachtas
Future Funding of Domestic Water Services
Committee, the party said it wants the charges
abolished in full but accepts the recommendation
from last year's Expert Commission on the need to
curb excessive water usage.
It believes this can be achieved through district water
meters and the existing meter framework as currently
conducted in Scotland and Wales.
It also noted that the committee did not hear any
evidence that there was any wide-scale abuse here
and the vast majority of wastage can be attributed to
leakages.
Fianna Fil reaffirms its position that it accepts the
need to curb excessive water usage through existing
legislation which it says would satisfy the "polluter
pays principle" and EU laws.
The legislation allows for those who abuse water to
be fined up to 5,000 and the Fianna Fil paper says
it is willing to strengthen or amend this legislation.
In the paper, Fianna Fil also states that it
is disappointed and surprised that Minister for
Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon
Coveney intervened by outlining advice he had from
the Attorney General on Ireland's legal obligations
under the water framework directive.
While it is accepted that the Attorney General
provides advice to Government it would be
unprecedented that the Attorney General would
advise the Oireachtas, the paper reads.
The Committee had a full session in February where
various legal opinions were listened to and debated.
The paper points out that the State lost 22m on its
water charges regime in 2015 and that the EU
statistic agency Eurostat ruled that Irish Water is a
non-market agency and must stay on the State
balance sheet.
Fianna Fil says this was the reason Irish Water and
water charges were introduced.
It adds that no additional revenue will be available for
investment in the water infrastructure due to domestic
water charges and the billing system needs to be
scrapped.

It reaffirms that funding of domestic water services


should be financed via general taxation.
It also states that the party's own legal advice is clear
that its proposals are permissible under the EU laws.
Fianna Fil also opposes the commencement of any
further phases of the metering programme to tackle
leaks and wastage levels.
Instead, it wants the 148m under spend on metering
to date to be set aside for the roll out of
improvements to the district metering programme to
help detect leaks.
It also wants the EPA to receive a research grant to
support the development of water conservation
methods and the Building Energy Rating (BER)
system to be amended to include water conservation
as a core element of its assessment of homes.
It also believes the Department of Housing should
maintain the current levels of subsidisation for group
water schemes and supports for capital spending and
private wells as agreed in the Confidence and Supply
arrangement.
It calls for a review in co-ordination with the National
Federation of Group Water Schemes to assess the
amount of additional investment required to equalise
treatment between public mains users and private or
group water schemes users.
Fianna Fil wants those who paid their water charges
to be refunded by Revenue once proof of payment is
provided.
It says this should be cross referenced with
Department of Social Protection Water Conservation
Grant payments information to ensure there is no
over payment.
Coveney: No final decision on water charge
refunds
Minister Coveney has said it is "not necessarily the
case" that Fine Gael is open to refunding water
charges.
Speaking in Galway this morning, Mr Coveney said it
was now accepted that water charges would be
abolished for the vast majority of households.
But he said he was awaiting a recommendation on
refunds from the Oireachtas Committee on water
charges.
He would not be drawn on his own views on the
matter but said people who had paid charges should
not be disadvantaged.
Minister Coveney said there was still no agreement
on how to deal with people with excessive levels of
usage and said any solution had to be compliant with
the European Water Framework Directive.
He said while he would work with Fianna Fil to try
and find solutions, he would not recommend a course
of action that he knew to be both illegal and
irresponsible.
The minister said he wanted to reassure the public
that there was no intention to ever privatise the
country's water infrastructure.
He said there might be a need for a constitutional
amendment to enshrine that position but that he was
confident agreement on that issue could be easily
achieved.
http://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0303/856923-water-charge/

Fianna Fil legal


advice gives all clear
to ban or suspend
water charges
Updated / Thursday, 2 Mar 2017

The 33-page document opines that it is open to Ireland to ban or


suspend domestic water charges
This is the actual article body
Fianna Fil has published legal advice it received on
whether Ireland can ban water charges in a way that
is compatible with European Union laws.
The party is in favour of abolishing all charges and
believes the issue of excessive usage can be dealt
with by existing legislation that provides for fines and
imprisonment.
Fianna Fil received advice from barristers Darren
Lehane and Conleth Bradley in relation to Ireland's
EU obligations on water charges.
The 33-page document states that in their opinion it
is open to Ireland to ban or suspend domestic water
charges.
It states that the European Union's water framework
directive does not seek to achieve complete
harmonisation of the rules of member states
regarding water.
It also states there is no specific requirement in the
directive for cost recovery to rely on individual
consumption.
The lawyers also advise that the absence of pricing
for water service activities will not necessarily
jeopardise the directive's objectives.
The advice says that member states have wide
discretion in the area and that Ireland can avail of the
"established practice" exemption in the directive.
They say that it is for Ireland to determine what
"established practice" is and add it was an
established practice not to have domestic water
charges when the water directive was adopted.

The European Commission wrote to the independent


commission looking at water funding in November
2016.
In its letter, the commission stated "Ireland adopted
its river basin management plans in July 2010,
making a clear commitment to set up water charges
to comply with the provision on water pricing in Article
9(1) of the water framework directive.
"Ireland subsequently applied water charges. The
directive does not allow member states to revert to
any previous practice not entailing the recovery of
costs and the application of the polluter pays
principle."
http://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0302/856776-water/

Coveney rules out


water plan
contravening EU
directives
Updated / Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017
Charges for excessive use of water - above a free allowance - was
previously proposed by the independent committee which looked
at the issue
This is the actual article body
Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government
Simon Coveney has said that he will not introduce
water legislation that contravenes European Union
directives and exposes Ireland to large fines.
Half of those on the Oireachtas committee looking at
the future funding of water services have indicated
that they favour abolishing domestic charges and are
opposed to charging for the excessive use of water.
The committee has made no decision on the matter
but Fianna Fil, Sinn Fin and Anti-Austerity Alliance-
People Before Profit (AAA-PBP) say there should be
no charges.
Mr Coveney this evening accused Fianna Fil of
hardening its position by ruling out charges for
excess water use today.
Mr Coveney, who is the minister with responsibility for
the issue, said Fine Gael wanted a genuine
compromise.
He said the basis for this could be found in a draft
circulated by the committee today, insisting the
process was not over.
The 20-member Joint Committee on the Future
Funding of Domestic Water Services met today and
will again tomorrow to agree its final
recommendations for the future funding of domestic
water services.
So far ten members have stated they oppose water
charges.
Another eight have however indicated they want
charges for excessive use which was recommended
by the Independent Commission which looked at the
issue last year.
Two TDs on the committee have not stated their
views.
Critically, Fianna Fil members indicated they are
opposing any charges for excessive use and TD
Willie O'Dea said there is legislation in place which is
not being enforced which penalises people who use
excessive amounts of water.

He said a district metering system would pick this up


as opposed to domestic metering.
Sinn Fin and AAA-PBP say there is no evidence of
excessive usage by households.
Labour however says taxpayers should not have to
pay for those who use excessive amounts.
The committee has not made a final decision and
ultimately the Dil will vote on it.
Fine Gael TD Jim Daly, a member of the committee,
has said that he is opposed to refunds.
He said the law of the land as it applied at the time
should be maintained.
However, he said that the reality of new politics is that
while Fine Gael and independents are in
Government, Fianna Fil is in power and carries the
swaying vote.
Mr Daly said that Fianna Fil indicated this morning
that the party is in favour of returning the money to
people who have paid.
He said this is unusual as Fianna Fil signed up to
water charges on the arrival of the Troika into the
country seven years ago.
Committee member Paul Murphy of the AAA-
PBP said he expects those who paid for water
charges to be refunded.
Speaking on RT's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Mr
Murphy said the refund is "not a done deal" but there
is huge pressure on "establishment parties" to agree
to it.
He said it needs to be recognised that it is not
possible to pursue non-payers.
He said: "I think those who did pay should get their
money back. I think many people were pressured,
bullied, forced into paying. They have, of course, to
thank all of those who refused to pay for creating a
political situation whereby it's very difficult for the
establishment parties to go after non-payment."
http://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0228/856147-water-oireachtas-
charges/

FF TD Cowen says
water row 'could
bring down
Government'
Updated / Wednesday, 1 Mar 2017
Barry Cowen pointed to the 'confidence and supply' agreement
This is the actual article body
Fianna Fil's Barry Cowen has said if the
Government does not abide by the 'confidence and
supply' agreement with his party on the issue of
water charges, it could bring down the Government.
It comes after Minister for Housing, Planning,
Community and Local Government Simon Coveney
said he would not introduce water legislation that
contravened EU directives and exposed the country
to large fines.
He said any water strategy needed to have a polluter
pays principle.
Fianna Fil says fines are a distant prospect and can
be averted.
Mr Cowen said that an Oireachtas committee set up
to consider the issue has not concluded its work, and
the intervention by Mr Coveney on the water issue
was premature, political and unprecedented.
The positions of Fianna Fil and Fine Gael on water
charges held up the talks to form the minority
government and it could now threaten its
continuation.
Their members both sit on the committee to discuss
the funding of water and it is currently veering
towards abolishing all charges including charges for
excessive usage, which Fine Gael strongly opposes.
Today's meeting of the Joint Committee on the Future
Funding of Domestic Water Services has ended
without agreement on how to proceed.
It is understood there were "testy
exchanges" between Fianna Fil and Fine Gael
members at the meeting, with Fianna Fil claiming
Fine Gael was refusing to set out its position.
Both parties are now to table position papers by
Friday and the committee will meet again next
Tuesday.

Live: Political updates


Earlier, Mr Cowen said it was up to Fine Gael to
quantify excessive usage.
He pointed to the deal with Fine Gael, which states
the Government will facilitate the passage of
legislation on the issue agreed by the Oireachtas.
He also said Fianna Fil was not opposed to charging
people for excessive usage but wanted to use
existing legislation, which would provide for fines or
imprisonment.
However, he ruled out taking thousands of people to
court or reducing their water supply and he also said
it was up to Fine Gael to quantify excessive usage.
Mr Cowen said he had not been convinced that there
was wanton abuse of water and pointed to leakage
as an issue.
He said it was not clear if the Attorney General had
considered the existing legislation and his party
would publish its own legal advice.
Separately, Mr Coveney said the Government was
trying to find a compromise but it needed to be
consistent with Ireland's legal obligations.
So far there is no sign of a compromise unless one
side backs down.
Coveney 'happy' to work with compromises on
water charges
Mr Coveney earlier said he is happy to work with
compromises that politicians are working towards
regarding water charges for "normal use" in houses.
Mr Coveney, who was before the Oireachtas
committee on housing this morning, was asked by
AAA-People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger if he
was going to implement legislation to abolish water
charges.
The minister said the position of the Government has
been to try to find a compromise that the Dil can
support, that parties can work towards and that can
be accepted broadly across society.
However, Mr Coveney said compromise needed to be
consistent with Ireland's legal obligations under the
water framework directive.
"All I said yesterday is that I don't see how I
can introduce legislation against the advice of
the Attorney General, when I know that it's
likely to lead to court action by the European
Commission and fines imposed on Ireland".
He said in order to be compliant with commitments
under the water frame work directive, there needed to
be some "polluter pays principle" with regard to the
water strategy "where there is a consequence for
wasting large volumes of water".
The minister said he was asked whether he would
introduce legislation against the advice coming from
the Attorney General's office and he reiterated that he
could not do that.
Mr Coveney added that he is happy to work with all
parties to find a way forward because the issue has
"dogged Irish politics for far too long".

O'Dea wants to see Attorney General's advice


This morning Fianna Fil's Willie O'Dea said he
would like to see the Attorney General's advice on
water charges.
Speaking on RT's Morning Ireland, he said there is
strong legal opinion that is contrary to that expressed
by the Attorney General.
Mr O'Dea, who is a member of the water committee,
added that Fianna Fil is convinced that the Attorney
General's legal opinion is incorrect and said attorney
generals have "gotten it wrong in the past".
"We are very firm in our opinion, and the legal advice
does bear it out, that there is a contrary legal view to
that being expressed by the Attorney General and we
are convinced that that view is the correct one.
"I would like to see the Attorney General's advice
actually, we haven't been exposed to that - as yet.
"I think the minister has to take into account all legal
opinion and there's very strong legal opinion which
contradicts what the minister is telling us the Attorney
General says... attorney generals have gotten it
wrong in the past."
Mr O'Dea said ultimately Dil ireann will decide on
the future of water charges and the Government has
committed itself to implementing that decision.
He said he hoped that the situation can be wrapped
up by the end of March.
Mr O'Dea said Fianna Fil wanted to penalise people
for excessive use of water but did not want to do so
by setting up an expensive charging system, at a cost
to the taxpayer.
"The way this is being presented in the media is that
Fianna Fil is not in favour of charging people or
punishing people for excessive use of water. Nothing
could be further from the truth.
We want to punish people who are wasting
water but we don't want to do so by setting up
an expensive billing and charging system.
"We want to do it by properly implementing
legislation, which is already there - namely the 2007
Water Services Act, which provides for punishment
for people who wilfully abuse and over use water."
Fianna Fil stance on water charges 'return to
days of populism'
Fine Gael TD for Dublin South West Colm Brophy
said Fianna Fil's stance on water is a return to the
days of populism.
He said the water committee was working very well
until yesterday when Fianna Fil decided to
implement a radical change of course.
Mr Brophy said Fianna Fil was initially in favour of
charging for excessive use of water and he cannot
understand why the party is opposed to water meters
which was a simple and effective way of measuring
water usage.
He said Ireland could be forced to pay tens of millions
of euro in fines if it is found to be in breach of an EU
directive on water.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael TD for Dn Laoghaire Sen
Barrett has said failure to bring back water charges
means there will not be a reduction in the high-level
of direct taxes in Ireland.
Speaking on RT's Today with Sean O'Rourke, the
former ceann comhairle said the only way to reduce
pressure on PAYE workers would be to introduce
indirect taxes, such as water charges.
Mr Barrett said he was in favour of the PAYE earner
getting relief and he believed everyone should pay for
services like water and electricity.
He said that if water charges were not re-introduced,
then those who have already paid should be repaid,
adding that you either abide by the law of the land or
you do not.
He declined to comment on who he would back as
the next leader of Fine Gael and said it was wrong to
be seen to be forcing Taoiseach Enda Kenny out of
office when he has given such good service to the
party and the country.
http://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0301/856261-oireachtas-water/
Water protesters false revolutionaries says Alan
Kelly
Radical water protesters are false revolutionaries promising a free
utopian society that doesn't exist, Minister for the Environment Alan
Kelly has said.
RTE.IE
Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly said radical #IrishWater
protesters are false revolutionaries promising a free Utopian society
that doesn't exist
February 28, 17
By Rita Cahill
Labours fight for a second term in Government will
be tough and will take courage, the partys leader
Joan Burton has told delegates at the party's national
conference in Killarney.
Now, the fight for a second term will take all our
energy, skill and courage. Its going to be tough. But
its a fight we embark on with utmost conviction, the
Labour leader told the conference.
The Tnaiste said Labour politicians must take the
conviction they hold in the core value of the party to
the doorsteps.
The Labour leader added, the partys task is not to
win a second term alone but to have sufficient
strength to make its presence felt - just as it has done
in Government.
Welcoming delegates to Killarney, she said the
Labour Party has risen to the challenge of rescuing
the country in a dark and difficult hour.
She said the shadow of crisis has passed and that
Labour was central to this turnaround with more jobs
being created, increasing wages, and renewed
prosperity.
She outlined her objectives as leader as building a
social recovery and delivering opportunity for all, and
highlighted what the party has achieved in
Government, including bidding the troika goodbye
and exiting the bailout.
We shut down Anglo and tore up the toxic
promissory note - which was toxic, she said.
Thanks to superb work by Eamon Gilmore and
Brendan Howlin, we renegotiated our debt burden to
save tens of billions of euro. These successes were
the gateway to progress on so many other fronts,
economic and social, she added.
Highlighting the Budget she said the process of
raising living standards has begun.
Ms. Burton also said building the economic recovery
is one of the things she is proudest.
She said the work on social recovery has only just
begun and that the party would use every last
remaining day of this Government to increase
prosperity and reduce poverty.
Well fight tooth and nail to return to Government to
keep doing the same, and more again,

A motion calling for a referendum repealing the Eigth


Amendment has been passed at the conference.
The motion suggested that it be included in the
Labour manifesto for the next general election.
Those who spoke on the motion included Senator
Ivana Bacik, Emmett Stagg, Aodhn Rordin and
the Minister of State Kathleen Lynch who
commended the motion.
There was a round of applause when the vote was
carried.

Earlier, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said repealing the


Eight is not a priority for Fine Gael.
Speaking in Castlebar, Mr Kenny said the issue of
abortion was not a matter he wanted to see kicked
around like a political football.
He said the Labour Party was perfectly entitled to
consider issues that members felt were important.
He said it was his view that any constitutional change
in this regard needed to be considered very carefully,
as the issue of abortion was a matter of the most
sensitive, personal and serious consequence.
The Taoiseach said Fine Gael would look at these
matters in time.
A number of motions relating to social
protection, including a complete overhaul of the social
welfare system in relation to self-employed people
and a reinstatement of the full adult rate of
jobseekers' allowance for all claimants over the age
of 18 and below the age of 26, have been passed.
Delegates also voted for a motion suggesting that the
Christmas Bonus for pensioners be increased to
100% in the next budget.
A motion calling for the abolition of the License fee
has been withdrawn at the Labour party conference
following a request from Minister for Communications
Alex White.
The motion put down by the Newport/Ballina Branch
in Tipperary suggested that RT get funding through
advertising and "other means".
However, Mr White said while he understood and
respected he motion, he said if there was a proper
public broadcast charge, "it could be less than 160".
He appealed for the motion to be withdrawn, and he
said he'd consider the view of the branch.
Earlier, Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly said
radical water protesters are false revolutionaries
promising a free Utopian society that doesn't exist.
Speaking ahead of the convention, Mr Kelly said
there are many genuine protesters, but "there is also
a small amount of people who want some form of
Utopian society where you can get everything for
nothing, and that society doesn't exist.
"These people are false revolutionaries who believe
in leading people up to the top of the hill and then
they'll blatantly abandon them, like they have done on
many issues before, and leave people with bills or
leave people in vulnerable situations potentially - who
knows.
"False promises where you can create a Utopian
society where everything is free and everything is for
nothing simply doesn't exist.
"We all have to make our contribution to society and
that goes for everybody in whatever way they can.
Some people unfortunately find themselves in
situations where they can't, but outside of that
everyone, I think, has a role in society and has to
take part in some capacity in that society.
"Unfortunately there is a small, small band of people
who believe that they don't have to be part of that,
they don't have to make a contribution, and certainly
they are not the type of people I want to represent
and they are certainly not the type of people I feel the
Labour party is here to represent," said Mr Kelly.
FG-Labour voting pact likely ahead of election
Meanwhile, Mr Kelly said a voting pact between Fine
Gael and Labour is likely in the run-up to the next
election.
He said a voting pact between the Government
parties was a natural inclination, but that
discussions would have to happen at some stage.
"From electoral terms there is a natural inclination
from Labour and Fine Gael supporters to transfer to
one another, given the fact that we have come
through so much as a Government," Mr Kelly said.
He added discussions could happen at some stage
on a voting pact or a transfer pact, but he stressed
Labour would contest the election as an independent
party.
Mr Kelly also emphasised it was very early for any
general election speculation, because it is over a year
away.
"14 months is an eternity in politics ... The people will
have a choice. They will have a choice in 14 months
between stability and chaos and I am urging them to
chose stability and return this Government," Mr Kelly
said.
THE CAPITULATION OF RIGHT2WATER?
It is now clear that the Wicklow Town Right2Water campaign has
been hijacked by a small number of political opportunists who also
happen to be members of Sinn Fein and the Socialist Workers Party
(also known as the
THE CAPITULATION OF RIGHT2WATER?
It is now clear that the Wicklow Town Right2Water campaign has
been hijacked by a small number of political opportunists who also
happen to be members of Sinn Fein and the Socialist Workers Party
(also known as the People Before Profit Alliance).
Immediately below this post is another post giving a disturbing
account of happenings in County Wicklow. Elsewhere you can find
similar accounts from County Kerry involving similar betrayals from
members of the same two political parties.
I know there are decent people of good character in both these two
organisations who must deplore this shameless betrayal of the
emerging democratic movement in communities all over the
country.
I am sure that most honourable people will be appalled at and
absolutely opposed to the blatant police state tactics deployed by
the Kenny/Burton junta. These are reminiscent of earlier Greek
events which facilitated the murderous Colonels Regime which
imposed a fascist police state on that unfortunate country from
1967 to 1974.
It is clear the TROIKA want to try out how far they can undermine
democracy in Ireland as people all over Europe begin to oppose
their ubiquitous Austerity Programme
THE POLITICS OF MANIPULATION Vs THE POLITICS OF DEMOCRACY?
Democracy is a precious thing, and the way in which manipulative
dishonesty has been used by an undemocratic minority to expel
two founding members from the Right2Water umbrella group,
displays a total contempt for democratic practice, and indeed, a
rejection of the human rights of these two people and also
implicitly, for the democratic human rights of every member of the
Wicklow Town Community. This wanton discrimination and bullying is
an affront to democracy!
It has been ruthlessly carried out by a small clique, which has
secretly done a deal Irish Water and the coercive policing agencies
of the 26-county Dail state, its billionaire business friends, acting
totally against the interests of the people.
LEADERSHIP?
I expect the national leadership of both these two organisations to
clarify, without delay, whether they support the opportunist views
and treacherous betrayals and collaboration exemplified by Cllr John
Snell and Anna Doyle in Wicklow Town, and whether they will do the
honest thing and hold firm on a principled opposition to the
commodification project of the TOIKA, now being carried out by the
quisling Kenny/Burton political gang.
If Cllr John Snell and Anna Doyle want to dedicate their political work
to preserving and protecting the status quo to protecting the
business interests of the billionaire capitalist businessman Denis
OBrien and the rest of his 1% class, then they have a right to do
just that. And we all have to respect that this is their right! But they
should be honest about their aims and not tell lies to the people.
And we have a right to expect John, Anna Doyle, Right2Water and
those associated with it to tell the truth. To tell us the whole truth.
And we also have a right to make a judgment of them based on
their behaviour!
I say to these two individuals now: your political credibility and
reputations, and also the question of your basic political integrity
and honesty are at stake after your actions in this issue. Your
behaviour is accountable. You have placed yourselves in the dock
before the people with your dishonourable manipulation. You also
owe apologies to all those you have lied to and misled. The trust
and political development of good people entering the struggle to
defend their basic rights has been abused through your character
assassinations of those whose principled political outlook you
oppose and whom you have victimised. You are both a disgrace to
the very concept of socialism.
POLITICAL CORUPTION?
We have seen the nods and winks of cute-hoorism from both Fianna
Fail and Fine Gael on countless occasions. But it is chilling to
experience such a betrayal from people with whom, a few days ago,
I stood shoulder to shoulder with on barricades successfully
defeating the violent onslaught of Irish Water bullies and the state
coercive force the Garda.
It is a very simple and direct question I ask these two political
organisations: Can I ever again trust your words or your actions?
I say to them: You cannot sit on the fence on this matter. Your own
many decent members, as much as the general public in
communities struggling against this thieving capitalist state,
deserve to know if these examples of treachery and deception will
be tolerated by your political party leaderships, or whether they will
faced up to with integrity and dealt with effectively and fully. Can I
trust you? Yes or No? It is that simple!
But it is more than just a question of political honesty. It is a
question of basic democracy and whether you uphold democracy or
not as a principle.
BASIC HONESTY AND TRUST
At this particular moment in the history of the struggle against
Water Charges, it is also most important for us all to find out
whether Sinn Fein and The Socialist Workers Party can be trusted to
behave democratically in the future or whether they cannot!
And whether these party leaderships consider secret deals with the
Garda, and other elements of this state, and also corporate
gangsters like Irish Water or ok or not.
The question of political trust now sits directly in front of these two
political organisations.
And I personally, as well as the thousands of people now becoming
politicised all across this country, are entitled to know if their word
and their actions can ever be relied on again.
Open Democracy Now Please! Answer these questions.
fh 13/02/2015
Referred to story
https://www.facebook.com/brendan.doyle.222/posts/102035365919
49282
Urgent Need for Clarification from John Snell Regarding his
Engagement with Irish Water:
We the undersigned have been active for many months in the
Wicklow campaign against the imposition of unjust water charges.
We believe that a multi-fronted campaign is required to defeat the
water charges. Tactics to be used in this campaign include peaceful
public protest, non-registration with Irish Water, non-payment of
bills issued by Irish Water, acts of peaceful civil disobedience and
the peaceful disruption of water meter installations.
In relation to the disruption of water meter installations we believe
such actions to be acts of patriotism, preventing the waste of
hundreds of millions of euros of public money on the installation of
water meters that will become redundant when the water charges
have been defeated. We further oppose the installation of water
meters as we understand that the installation of such meters is a
critical component in the commodification and ultimate privatisation
of water services and water resources
.
In recent weeks the communities of Wicklow Town and the
surrounding areas have found themselves on the frontline in the
battle against the installation of water meters. To their credit the
people have stood up to be counted and mobilised in large numbers
and with great determination. For weeks on end residents have
maintained vigils awaiting the arrival of Irish Water contractors and
when those contractors have arrived the residents have peacefully
and doggedly resisted the installation of water meters.
We have been inspired by the sense of community spirit that has
emerged during the campaign to prevent the installation of water
meters, a spirit that has crossed class barriers and seen neighbours
become friends. Through their own efforts the people successfully
faced down Irish Water and the bullying behaviour of the Garda,
culminating in eight arrests and a mass protest outside the Garda
station in Wicklow Town. The people had de facto won the water
meter battle in Wicklow Town and the surrounding areas.
It is against this backdrop that we are publicly calling on Councillor
John Snell of Sinn Fin to clarify what role he played in facilitating
the installation of water meters in Rathnew earlier this week. Did
John Snell engage in discussions with Irish Water contractors, either
directly or indirectly, and if so on whose authority was he acting?
Did John Snell encourage residents to step aside and allow Irish
Water to install water meters in Rathnew? Or did John Snell
immediately contact other campaign activists when it became
apparent that Irish Water were attempting to install meters in
Rathnew, as had been the custom and practice in recent weeks? Did
John Snell shuttle between residents and a convoy of Irish Water
vehicles before giving the contractors the all-clear to enter the
estate and actually travel in convoy with those vehicles in his own
vehicle?
As activists who are centrally involved in the Wicklow campaign to
defeat water charges we can state without fear of contradiction that
no democratic decision has been taken within the campaign to
engage with Irish Water contractors or for activists from the
campaign to act as intermediaries between residents and Irish
Water contractors to allow the installation of meters. Our campaign
is committed to the maximum disruption of the water metering
programme, not to facilitating the installation of a single meter in
the county.
We have reluctantly taken the route of publicly calling for John Snell
to clarify his position in the belief that there has already been
enough of politicians secret deals and of cabals in back kitchens
attempting to undermine the democratic control of the campaign in
Wicklow. The greatest strength of our campaign is openness,
transparency and democracy. We either stand in total opposition to
water meters and the water tax, or we dont.
Signed:
Sean Doyle,
Thomas O Cleirigh,
Roy Howard,
Martin Benson.

SLAN ABHAILE?
OH THE ARROGANCE!And just remember, if you do decide
to avail of these schemes... Get a reciept for any money
hand over, not to mention, a copy of their indemnity
insurance. Please start holding people ACCOUNTABLE for
the MONEY they are charging!!!!!!!And always ask the
question FIRST..... Will I be able to stay in my home!!!!
"Some borrowers are living in fear while others are living
in DENIAL, said Mr Varadkar.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald claimed the number of
mortgage restructurings has increased while the level of
repossessions had fallen slightly, and stated:
I would urge anyone worried about mortgage arrears on
their home to contact Mabs who are the GOVERNMENT
gateway to the range of supports available.
The Abhaile scheme is designed to help borrowers who are
insolvent and at risk of losing their homes. Users can
access three different panels of experts, including
personal insolvency practitioners, solicitors, and
accountants".
Ahem...Is this the same GOVERNMENT who forced you to
BAIL OUT THE BANKS?

Simon Coveney Says


He Won't Introduce
Scheme Which
Doesn't Charge For
Wasting Water
Feb 28th
On FM Radio Today
It could lead to major
problems with Fianna
Fil
The minister responsible for water
charges says he won't introduce ANY
scheme which doesn't charge people
for wasteful usage.
Simon Coveney's position puts the
government on a major collision
course with Fianna Fil.
The two parties had agreed to
implement the findings of an
Oireachtas committee, which
appears... set to call for no domestic
charges at all.
But Simon Coveney says THAT
regime would be illegal under EU law
and there's no way he can
implement it:
https://www.todayfm.com/News/Simon-Coveney-Says-He-Wont-
Introduce-Scheme-Which-Doesnt-Charge-For-Wasting-Water

Latest Water charges 'finished' as


committee moves closer to
recommending water bill refunds
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Update 2.20pm: Water charges are "finished" and
hundreds of millions of euro has been "wasted" on a failed
billing system, a Sinn Fin TD has claimed.

In dramatic developments, Oireachtas committee water


charges member Eoin O'Broin has claimed that the group
have agreed effectively to refund water bills, writes Juno
McEnroe of the Irish Examiner.

The move means that the Dil will be recommended to


vote that almost one million homes get their water bills
refunded.

Mr O'Broin said this meant that water charges were


"finished". He also said a majority of members on the
committee also wanted to put an end to the metering
programme.

While the committee has yet to make a formal statement


today or finish its report by March 13 on the future of
charges, a decision to recommend the refund of bills will
raise questions about the years of work, funds and the
billing system which caused political chaos and saw mass
protests against the country

Mr O'Broin's comments were echoed earlier by AAA-PBP


TD Paul Murphy who said that the committee were on the
brink of recommending that bills be refunded.

The committee has yet to decide how charges will be


refunded.

"This is a victory for Irish people," declared deputy


O'Broin.

Update 11.19am: Labour TD Joan Burton has said that a


group of TDs working on the funding of water services
may not be the ones to decide whether any cash refunds
are handed out, or another method of compensation is
used.

People who in good faith paid their water charges and


complied with the law I think that that has to be
recognised, she said.

The question then of how that might be refunded my


guess is though that the committee will probably pass on
the detail of that and will ask somebody like the
Commissioner for Energy Regulation.

Update 10.25am: Sinn Fin spokesperson on water, Eoin


Broin TD, has said that it is crunch time for the
committee.

Speaking ahead of the meeting of the Oireachtas


Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water
Services this afternoon, Deputy Broin said: The key
issue for the Committee always has been whether the
parties will vote to abolish domestic water charges.
Sinn Fin has been unequivocal on our position to
completely abolish domestic water charges.

The idea of an excess charge is a Trojan horse and is


being used by Fianna Fil to get them off the hook in
relation to their election promise to abolish water charges.
The reality is that according to Irish Waters own data
household water consumption in this state is one of the
lowest in the OECD. Irish citizens use an average of 123
litres per capita, compared to England where people use
on average 140 litres.

The excess charge itself could cost more to administer


than what it would bring it in revenue. This would be
another waste of taxpayers money.
The introduction of an excess charge would also require
the continuation of expensive universal metering.

Earlier:
It is being reported that a Dil group is supporting a
proposal to refund people who paid water bills.

A report from the committee of TDs examining how to


fund water services is currently being finalised.

According to the Irish Times, the group agrees people


should be paid back - however it is not known whether it
should be in the form of a cash payment, tax credit or
some other system.

The Junior Minister behind a new Commission into an


abusive foster home in Waterford thinks Michael Noonan
has no case to answer.

Mr Noonan was Minister for Health during a time when a


decision to remove a disabled woman from the home was
overturned.

This afternoon Junior Minister Finian McGrath says he is


going ahead with plans for a Commission of Investigation,
despite calls from groups like Inclusion Ireland to abandon
it.
Minister McGrath says the role of Mr Noonan will be
examined, but he believes there is no case to answer.
He said: "I met Michael Noonan last with with officials from
the Department of Health and we gave him an update on
the correspondence that was there.

"We are satisfied that will bea dealt with within the
commission but my gut reaction is that I don't think there
is anything to answer."

Inclusion Ireland is claiming that people with intellectual


disabilities are abused every day in institutions around the
State.

The group says successive reports have highlighted the


poor conditions experienced by the 3,000 people who live
in institutional care around the country.

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the HSE today apologised


to a woman known as Grace after two reports detailed
how she was left in an abusive foster home for 20 years.

The Government is to set up a Commission of


Investigation into the issue, but the CEO of Inclusion
Ireland Paddy Connolly says he would rather see the
money spent on proper facilities.

Mr Connolly said: "The abuse of not getting out for many


hours in a day, spending 14 or 15 hours sitting in a chair,
so we know without any doubt that people are being
abused today in these settings.

"There is not sufficient energy from Government, the HSE,


the Department of Health to move these people out of
these inappropriate institutions."
Gerry Adams has said he hopes unionist voters will not
buy concerted attempts by the Democratic Unionists to
demonise him in the Assembly election campaign.
The Sinn Fein president said the DUPs repeated warnings
about him, in an election in which he is not even standing
as a candidate, was "very typical operation fear tactics".
Mr Adams, a TD for Co Louth in the Irish Dail, claimed the
intense focus on him was the DUPs effort to deflect public
attention from the partys handling of a botched green
energy scheme that has left Stormont facing a potential
490 million overspend.
"I would like to think that unionists out there, people
whose money went down the drain without any
satisfactory explanation so far, will not be swept along by
an attempt to make this an orange and green issue," he
said
On Monday, DUP leader Arlene Foster told the Press
Association she made "no apologies" for concentrating on
Sinn Fein and Mr Adams influence on the party north of
the border.

She claimed Northern Irelands constitutional future would


be thrown up in the air if his party topped the polls in
Thursdays snap election.
Mrs Foster said such a result would see the UK
Government come under renewed republican pressure to
hold a referendum on a united Ireland.
"I am not going to apologise for the fact theres a huge
threat to Northern Ireland," she said.
"People have talked about scare tactics and talked about
fear, the reality (of a Sinn Fein victory) would be much
worse for Northern Ireland than just talking about it.
"People should be concerned, they should be worried."
Mr Adams was on the Falls Road in Belfast on Tuesday with
Sinn Feins Stormont leader Michelle ONeill delivering a
pre-election message to voters.
Mrs ONeill also rejected the DUP campaign tactics.
"This election is not about orange and green issues, its
not about the politics of fear, its about the future and we
fought the campaign on that basis," she said.
If the DUP and Sinn Fein are returned as Northern Irelands
largest political parties they will have three weeks to
resolve their multiple differences and agree to form a new
coalition executive.
Given Sinn Fein has ruled out entering any government
involving Mrs Foster before an as-yet uncommenced public
inquiry into the error-ridden renewable heat incentive
(RHI) scheme reports, the likelihood of a new
administration being formed post-election is slim.
If the three-week deadline passes without agreement,
Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire would be
legally obliged to call another snap election.
However, In such circumstances, the Government may
consider emergency legislation to suspend devolution and
restore direct rule, a move that could pave the way for a
longer negotiation process.
On Tuesday, Mrs ONeill reiterated her stance that Mr
Brokenshire could not chair any post-election talks.
"James Brokenshire is not in our opinion and never can be
an honest broker," she said.
Garda are investigating allegations of a child being
offered for sale in Limerick.

A spokesperson for the Garda Press Office confirmed


Garda have begun an investigation into the claims.
"Garda at Roxboro Road are presently conducting
enquiries into the circumstances of the reporting of the
incident and possible child welfare issues," the
spokesperson added.

The incident allegedly occurred on February 15 last


outside a commercial premises on the south side of
Limerick city.

Garda were alerted by concerned members of the public


who claimed a woman had been trying to sell or give away
the child.

The toddler at the centre of the allegation is male.

The alleged incident is said to have occurred outside the


premises around 5.10pm on the day in question.

It is understood Garda know the identity of the woman


and child involved.

Investigations are continuing.


When asked if it was aware of the alleged incident, Tusla
the Child and Famy Agency said: Tusla Child and Family
Agency does not comment on individual cases."

"This is to protect the privacy and wellbeing of the


children and families with whom we work."

"Tusla screens and assesses all child protection concerns


received in line with Children First: National Guidance for
the Protection and Welfare of Children'.

Committee expected to
recommend 100m water
charges refunds to those
who have paid up
Niall O'Connor
February 28 2017
1
There is growing unease within Government that failure to strike an
agreement on the issue could precipitate a general election
An Oireachtas committee set up to examine
the future of water charges is expected to
recommend the issuing of refunds to
households that have paid their bills to date.
Committee sources last night said there was now a
growing consensus that refunds should be issued in lieu of
the option of pursuing those who had boycotted the
charges.
Members are also leaning towards the introduction of an
excessive usage charge, which will be levelled on
households found to be wasting water.
The measure is a key recommendation in the report
produced by the expert commission on water charges.
Special provisions for those on group water schemes will
also form part of the package voted on in the Dil, sources
say.
But TDs and senators remain split on key issues, including
whether the metering programme should be continued.
With the Dil due to debate the issue of water charges next
month, the work of the committee has now entered its
most critical phase.
There is growing unease within Government that failure to
strike an agreement on the issue could precipitate a
general election.
While no measures have been agreed, various sources say
they believe the issue of refunds has emerged as one of the
least contentious issues.
The committee has now sought an option paper in relation
to how best to reimburse the one million households that
have paid their bills.
It's estimated that refunds will cost the State in the region
of 100m.
Given the Dil arithmetic, the overall fate of water charges
will depend on whether Fine Gael and Fianna Fil can
reach a "compromise", according to senior sources in both
parties.
Fine Gael remains in favour of a "modest charge" for
households and has said the recommendation by the
expert commission that the State becomes the main
customer of Irish Water, rather than the household, is
doable.
But Fianna Fil is coming under pressure to soften its
position, which has changed on several occasions already.
In its submission to the expert commission, the party
proposes the abolition of charges and the funding of the
water system through general taxation.
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/committee-expected-to-
recommend-100m-water-charges-refunds-to-those-who-have-paid-up-
35488713.html
Where is the referendum to protect ownership of the Irish water supply
for the people of Ireland?
I've been funding the State for 40 years, and I do not want my
investment in public utilities and services handed over to private
opportunists. The Irish Water Quango has already well gouged the
State.

Anyone who paid up willingly should refuse a rebate. The many who
were intimidated into paying should accept a rebate.
Not without losing hugely at the polls. Their promise to abolish water
charges swung things in their favour in 2016. Maintaining that line now
is a vote catcher, in the same way that doing the opposite will lose
support massively. FF stole the clothes of AAA/PBP and others because,
while the Lefties did all the protesting, voters saw that FF was the party
which could actually bring change about and they did at least, get the
charges suspended. The Soldiers as we know, are motivated mainly by
power so I can't see how a policy of charging for water and selling IW
would bring that about. By contrast, Fine Gael is very much in favour of
privatisation in many areas, not simply water.
But of course, we'll all continue to pay for water indirectly, in one way or
another.
What a disgrace Fianna Fil are. Committing economic sabotage against
their own people for short term political gain.

Committee on water charges


unlikely to recommend any
charging regime
Right2Water holding meeting on Wednesday to decide
next course of action
about 3 hours ago Updated: about 2 hours ago
Sarah Bardon

A demonstrator during a march and rally organized by Right2Change and


Right2Water in Dublin last year. Photograph: Caroline Quinn/AFP/Getty
Images

The Dil committee examining the future of water


service funding in the State is understood to be unlikely
to recommend any form of charging regime.
It is also believed the majority of members are opposed
to introducing a charge for excessive usage.
The group of 20 TDs is meeting on Tuesday and
Wednesday to agree the contents of its final report,
which is to be sent to the Dil in time for a vote on its
findings on March 13th.
It is understood that consensus has been reached on a
number of issues including returning money to those
who paid their bills.
The method has not been decided, with members to
examine whether Irish Water should give a cash
payment, if Revenue should offer a tax credit, or whether
an opt-in, opt-out system should be developed.
There has also been agreement in principle not to pursue
those who did not pay their bills due to the costs
attached.
It is understood that committee chairman Pdraig
Cidigh, an Independent Senator, held a private session
with the committee last week where consensus was
reached on some issues.
The Right2Water campaign, which led opposition to the
water charges, will hold a meeting on Wednesday to
decide its next course of action.
Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy and Sinn Fin
TD Eoin Broin both told The Irish Times they would
not sign up to a report that provided for charges for
excessive usage.
Mr Murphy said a decision would be taken this week on
whether national demonstrations should coincide with a
Dil vote.
Water charges have been suspended until April 1st,
meaning the levies will return unless action is taken by
that date.
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/committee-on-water-
charges-unlikely-to-recommend-any-charging-regime-
1.2992323#.WLWMosQXU2c.facebook

THIS IS OUR IRELAND' HOME SWEET HOME READING AT AXIS


THEATRE
Dec 18, 2016
Ever the alchemist Dean Scurry got Damien Dempsey, John Connors
Maverick Sabre and me to work with a group of remarkable young
men at The Axis Theatre in Ballymun. That led to months of ongoing
conversations about the nature of our nation and the political
paralysis of our people. Larger meetings with leaders of the arts
were sometimes wonderful but often just exercises in frustration.
Invariably it would end up with me, Dean, John and Damo being
perceived as too extreme in our insistence that whatever was to be
done, it had to be on a grand scale. It would have to be something
beneficial to our most vulnerable. But it would also have to be
something that might awaken our national dormant spirit. It was an
absurd ambition. A fantasy. An impossibility.

Months later, the call came through. "It's happening." That's all
Dean said. "And we need you to write the words." This remarkable
man had been working relentlessly with the equally remarkable
Brendan Ogle and they had set in motion a philosophical,
humanistic and, most importantly, pragmatic plan to protect our
most vulnerable and inspire our collective spirit. I went to a bar and
tried to write. Nothing came out. I called Dean and asked who am I
writing for? Who do you want, is what he said? I wanted the most
famous working class Dublin artist there has ever been, Jim
Sheridan. Dean said, I'm on it.

I ordered another drink but the words wouldn't come. All the
standard bullshit that goes with fear and doubt and ego and vanity
and hubris and judgement was kicking in but then the simple
realisation hit. This is not about fear. This is about strength. Just tell
the truth. The words came. Called Dean. Quietly read them over the
phone as the full bar was singing Christmas songs. He listened then
whispered, "Shivers, brother, shivers."

Next day it was happening. We met at the Unite Office. A stunning


group of people. Hours of discussions and decisions. Then the words
came up. Curtis 'Fifty Cent' Jackson has been shot twice but he said
the only man he's ever been sacred of is Jim Sheridan. That's how
tough Sheridan is. He is also a beautiful, courageous humanist and a
hero to many. Including me. Some folk fought for the words, others
didn't. The final decision was to keep it much simpler. When
Sheridan opens his mouth people listen anyway. He doesn't need a
hack. The words were in the bin but the magic was happening. We
walked to the GPO and Jim and Damo and Glen Hansard captured
the mood better than any hack. That night the NAMA building was
taken and something magical was born.

Then last night I get another call from Dean. There's a comedy gig in
the Axis Theatre, where we started this conversation all that time
ago, and Dean wants me to read the words to the audience. A
comedy audience? Only he could think it was a good idea. Only he
could make me put the fear aside and do it. Only he could know it
would inspire a standing ovation. This is our Ireland.
Every single person alive has to watch this video
It's NOT "Irish Water
It's ""IRELAND'S Water"
OIREACHTAS COMMITTEE ON
WATER MUST RECOMMEND
ABOLITION OF WATER CHARGES
28 February, 2017
Oireachtas Committee on Water must recommend abolition of water
charges

A letter sent to all TD's and Senators today by Right2Water:


Dear Deputy/Senator,
As you are no doubt aware, water charges have been the biggest
political issue over the last number of years. Indeed two thirds of
those elected to Dail Eireann last year were returned with a
democratic mandate to abolish water charges. This is backed up
by the Irish Times MRBI Poll which shows that 62% of Irish people
want water charges scrapped while only 34% said they wished to
keep them.
Last week the Right2Water campaign was invited to attend the
Oireachtas Committee on water to put forward our campaigns
position. Some TDs and media outlets have selectively interpreted
our responses to questions from members of the committee and
previous media interviews.
Insofar as Right2Water have ever been interpreted as commenting
on an excess use charge, this should only be considered in the
form of a swimming pool tax to assuage the oft cited media and
political concerns in this respect. In fact, the questions asked at the
Oireachtas hearing and on RTEs Sean ORourke Show both
referenced swimming pools as the example of excessive usage.
Let us be unequivocal here. Right2Water does not believe metered
domestic water charges should be implemented for a number of
reasons:
9 There is no evidence that Irish people are profligate with their
water. As the expert commission stated in their report, The expert
commission has not seen any evidence that Ireland has
particularly high levels of domestic water usage and Irish people
are at the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to comparing
water usage among other European countries. In fact, Irish people
use between 15-25% less water than UK households, again as
cited by the expert commission, as well as 35% less water usage
than people in Germany.
9 Ireland has the among the highest rates of water availability in the
world, with water availability four times higher than France and fifty
time higher than Israel, for instance.
9 The imposition of domestic water charges for excessive usage
would be the thin end of the wedge. No doubt, like other nominal
charges (for example bins charges), these charges will increase
over time and any potential allowances would also be eroded over
time.
9 Implementing domestic water charges would double the cost of
water infrastructure in the medium term from 350 per annum per
domestic unit to 700 per annum per domestic unit. This is due to
the costs of metering including installation, maintenance,
administration and replacement. There are further costs including
advertising (3 million per year), postage (6 million per year) and
consultants (90 million to date).
9 Any metered watered system would be a stepping stone towards
privatisation irrespective of the governments declarations or
position. For instance, the Troika has forced privatisation of water
in countries where there is economic turbulence.
9 There is little evidence to show that water meters increase
conservation. Again, in the expert commissions report they state
that conservation only occurs where there are education and
awareness campaigns.
For these reasons and more, Right2Water is opposed to any
metered domestic charges. Even if members of the Dail are to
consider imposing a charge for the non-existent excessive use at
the levels indicated in the expert commissions report (90% of
users or 150% of average domestic consumption), this would only
yield between 14m and 27m. To spend almost 300 million of
taxpayers money every year pursuing this relatively small amount
would be economically irresponsible and idiotic.
Arguments by some in favour of metering because it helps identify
leaks are disingenuous. More than 41% of all water is leaked
before it gets to taps. 97% of that leakage does not come on the
household side and district metering would be a far more efficient
investment in terms of identifying leaks and addressing the
inadequacies in the system.
In terms of funding our water services, it is the position of
Right2Water that this should come from general taxation. Also, as
referenced by the expert commission, the 50% of commercial
water charges that are not collected on an annual basis should be
pursued and the lack of abstraction charges where companies
like Britvic (Ballygowan) and others can extract our natural spring
water in limitless supplies and do not pay anything needs to be
addressed.
We have attached our full submission to the expert commission
for your perusal should you need any further clarity on any of the
above.
In conclusion, Right2Water has forced a national discussion about
water charges despite successive governments attempts to
steamroll the regressive policy through the Oireachtas. All of the
evidence presented by Right2Water for three years now has been
proven correct by the expert commission. While our campaign and
our policy position was largely ignored by governments and media
outlets, the public were listening to us resulting in some of the
largest demonstration in Irish history and the electoral outcome
last year. Any attempts to implement any form of domestic water
charges should be seen as an attack on the democratic outcome
of the last election. In this context, we are demanding that all
members of Dail Eireann who stood on a platform of abolition of
water charges in General Election 2016 follow through with their
mandate and end water charges once and for all.
We are also calling on all members of the Oireachtas to swiftly
pass legislation allowing a referendum on ownership of our water
to progress as soon as possible so that the Irish public do not have
to put up with another thinly veiled water privatisation fiasco in the
future.
Yours sincerely,
Right2Water Coordinators
David Gibney
Brendan Ogle
http://www.right2water.ie/blog/oireachtas-committee-water-must-
recommend-abolition-water-charges
RIGHT2WATER CAMPAIGNS TELLS
WATER COMMITTEE CHARGES
FOR EXCESSIVE WATER USE
WOULD BE A WASTE OF
TAXPAYERS' MONEY
21 February, 2017

The Right2Water campaign attended the Oireachtas committee


today where the group said applying a charge for excessive water
usage would be a waste of taxpayers money.
David Gibney, spokesperson for Right2Water said if the committee
were to pursue households for excessive water usage it would cost
almost 300 million but the maximum return would be 30 million if
you apply the criteria recommended by the Expert Commission on
Domestic Public Water Services.
Mr Gibney pointed out that there is absolutely no evidence to
suggest that Irish people are profligate with their water. In fact, he
pointed out to the committee that Ireland has among the highest
amount of available water in the EU and uses less water than
almost any other country in the developed world.
We have 50 times more water available to us than Israel, and yet
we use 25 percent less water than the UK where theyve had
water charges in place since 1989, said Mr Gibney.
He added that there was already provision for dealing with
excessive water usage through the Water Services Act 2007.
Steve Fitzpatrick, who also answered questions at the committee
on behalf of Right2Water highlighted the fact that certain politicians
and the government are determined to penalise domestic citizens
while ignoring the problem of corporations using excessive
amounts of water.
After the Committee hearing, Mr Fitzpatrick said, Its clear some
parties want to ignore the democratic will of the public where two
thirds of the population want water charges scrapped. They are
using a false argument about excessive domestic usage to
vindicate pushing through their water privatisation agenda without
any democratic mandate.
He added, If politicians are serious about implementing the
polluter pays principle, it is our view that the huge industrial
wastage of water through distilleries, the pollution of rivers by
mega farmers, the free water obtained from our springs by
multinational companies like Britvic, and the almost half of all
companies who are currently refusing to pay commercial water
charges should be addressed.
Mr Gibney concluded, Right2Water does not believe that a charge
for excessive water usage on domestic households makes sense.
The real waste is in the 41 percent of water that is leaked before it
gets to your tap of which only 3 percent is on the household side.
Yet, instead of investing in upgrading the infrastructure and fixing
the leaks, some political parties are persistent in pursuing a
fictional line about Irish families wasting water despite their own
expert commission saying, The expert commission has not seen
any evidence that Ireland has particularly high levels of domestic
water usage, and indeed, Irish people are at the lower end of the
spectrum when it comes to comparing water usage to other
European countries.
The Right2Water campaign is calling on the two thirds of TDs
elected to the Dail on a mandate for scrapping water charges to
quit playing games, stand by their electoral promises and end
water charges before they waste any more taxpayers money.
PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS
ARE ALREADY PRIVATISING OUR
PUBLIC WATER SYSTEM
14 December, 2016

Dr Rory Hearne, Researcher & Author of Public Private


Partnerships in Ireland: failed experiment or the way forward?
(2011)
Fears about the privatisation of public water provision was a
central motivating factor behind the Right2Water protest movement
but concerns about the privatisation of water are held by many
other political and civil society groupings. The recently published
Expert Commission on Water Services Report highlighted a
widespread public concern about the potential privatisation of Irish
Water. They stated that public responses to their consultation
expressed concerns that water charges, and metering of domestic
households, could eventually lead to privatisation. The Report
notes that this was sometimes set in the context of wider
concerns about privatisation of public services, and the
commodification of water. However, it is widely known that various
public and private interests have been preparing the ground for the
potential privatisation of the Irish public water system. In this article
I provide evidence that should concern all those worried about the
potential privatisation of Irish public water. This centres on the on-
going implementation of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the
provision of public water infrastructure in Ireland. These PPPs are
a form of creeping privatisation that makes the full privatisation of
our public water system a real possibility in the future.
This creeping privatisation or outsourcing of key parts of the
public water infrastructure system has been going on for almost
twenty years through PPP projects. These PPPs involve private
companies providing, operating and managing water and waste-
water treatment plants for some of our largest cities and towns.
Worryingly most of these private companies are global
corporations leading the way in water privatisation internationally.
They now control water and waste-water treatment infrastructure
such as the Dublin Ringsend Waste Water Treatment Plant,
(treating waste water from over 1.7 million people), the
Bray/Shanganagh plant (serving a population of 248,000), Sligo
(serving 80,000), Waterford (180,000), and plants in Cork,
Tipperary, Offaly, Meath, and Donegal, amongst others.
According to Dail records there are, in fact, 115 of these PPP
contracts to Design, Build, Operate and Maintain (DBO), water and
waste-water treatment plants across 232 sites in Ireland. The
contracts are worth a massive total of 1.4bn and most are set to
run up to 2030. It is estimated that Irish Water (previously the local
authorities) are paying out 123 million per annum to the private
companies to cover the operation/maintenance/repayment costs of
these PPP contracts.
Drawing on figures from the Comptroller and Auditor General, Dail
records, and information gathered from the websites of private
water companies, I have compiled information on the twenty
largest water/waste-water treatment plant PPPs in Ireland. The
value of these, at 680 million, is almost half the value of all the
water/waste-water PPPs. This information is presented in the table
below[i].
Table 1 Details of the 20 largest Water/WasteWater PPP
Projects in Ireland, 2015
MEDIA-WRAPPER-START-1
Public Private Partnerships introduced in 1999 in Ireland
PPPs were first introduced in the delivery of public infrastructure
(schools, motorways, social housing, water treatment plants etc) in
Ireland by the Fianna Fail and the PD Government in 1999,
following lobbying by IBEC and the Construction Industry
Federation. Pilot PPP projects were developed in the delivery of
motorways (toll roads), schools, rail (the LUAS), and water and
waste-water treatment plants. New PPPs were developed in these
sectors through the early 2000s and extended to include social
housing regeneration projects.
PPPs are different from public delivery of infrastructure. For
example, in 'traditional' public water and waste-water service and
infrastructure delivery, treatment plants would be designed and
planned in-house within the local authority (and if they required
additional finance, also by the Department of Environment), and
then either directly built by public labour or, in recent decades,
contracted out to a private company to build. Then the
infrastructure was taken and managed by the local authority. By
contrast DBO (or DBOM as they are also referred to) PPPs involve
the outsourcing of the entire process, including design, operation
and maintenance of the infrastructure, to commercial private water
corporations, for contracts usually lasting twenty years. Some
PPPs also include the use of private finance to fund the
infrastructure (referred to as DBOF PPPs).
In the various National Development Plans in the 2000s Irish
governments outlined how they aimed to increase PPPs to 15 per
cent of all public capital investment by the end of that decade. In
2012 the C & AG showed that PPPs to the value of almost 8bn
had been developed in Ireland, mainly in Schools, Roads and
Water/Waste water sectors (figures show that, excluding
water/waste water, 2.3bn has been spent on PPPs, and there is
4.1bn outstanding in commitments to be paid to PPP projects).

Ten ways PPPs are privatisation


A major issue of debate and concern about PPPs has been their
role in the privatisation of public infrastructure and services.
Governments, civil servants and local authorities have been
arguing from the start of PPPs that they are not a form of
privatisation as there is no asset transfer or disposal of assets.
For example the DOE stated in 2010 that, A fundamental principle
of DBOs in the water services sector is that, while the
infrastructure is operated under contract to the water services
authority, it remains at all times in the authoritys ownership.
However, the evidence and research (detailed in my book Public
Private Partnerships in Ireland, which was based on my PhD
research) into the practical outcomes of PPPs in Ireland and
across the world proves conclusively that they are a disturbing
form of privatisation through outsourcing.
In the early 1990s, particularly in the UK and Latin America, PPPs
were promoted by governments, in response to growing public
opposition to privatisation, as a new method of public infrastructure
and service delivery that did not appear as privatisation. But PPPs,
as I will show, actually continue the privatisation and
neoliberalisation of public services. They were strongly promoted
by New Labour in the UK, and by key international institutions,
such as the EU, IMF, OECD and the World Bank.
In the following sections I show ten ways by which PPPs are a
form of privatisation of the public water/waste-water system and
lead to a further embedding of privatisation, marketisation and
commodification processes within the public water/waste-water
system.

1.PPPs mean loss of control to global water corporations


Firstly, there is the loss of control over public water and waste-
water infrastructure from accountable public agencies (local
authorities) to global commercial corporations. Analysis of the data
in Table 1 shows that, of these 20 largest PPPs, 90% (18) of the
companies were foreign multinationals or Irish subsidiaries of
foreign multinationals. This represents a major loss of control over
our public water infrastructure. This is nothing short of privatisation.
When control over public infrastructure is transferred from the
public sector to the private sector, it should be classified as a form
of privatisation. The following section provides an overview of
these private companies.
Veolia Water Ireland has seven of the largest 20 PPP contracts
(35%), at a value of 120 million. These include the two large PPP
water treatment plants (Clareville in Limerick and Barrow
Abstraction, Kildare) and waste-water plants in Castlebar,
Donegal, Mullingar, Wicklow and Dungarvan. But on its website,
Veolia explains that it operates many more treatment plants across
the country. It states that their operating contracts provide water-
related services for a population equivalent of close to 1,000,000
people in the Republic of Ireland operating more than 30 plants
within Ireland, encompassing wastewater, potable water and
sludge treatment. Veolia Water Ireland is a subsidiary of the
French multinational company, Veolia, which is the largest private
water company in the world. Veolia has global revenue of 24bn
and manages 4,245 drinking water plants and 3,300 waste-water
treatment plants globally. It also has the contract to operate the
LUAS and various private waste collection services. Veolia Water
(Ireland) also has non-domestic water metering and billing
contracts with a number of county councils.
The company with the next largest share of these 20 largest PPP
contracts was Aecom, with five projects (25% of the projects -
valued at 99million) including the Balbriggan /Skerries
Wastewater Treatment plant, the Rush/Lusk Wastewater
Treatment plant and the South Tipperary treatment plant. Aecom
(formerly Earthtech Irl) is a multi-billion (revenue of 17.4bn) US
multinational engineering corporation. But it combines financing,
design, building, and, as it states a global network of experts
delivering water and energy, building iconic skyscrapers, planning
new cities, restoring damaged environments, asset management,
cyber security operations, education, healthcare, transport. They
are a complete government infrastructure delivery corporation.
Aecom has approximately 95,000 employees and is listed on the
new York stock exchange.
Next up is Celtic Anglian Water (CAW), which has three projects
and operates the largest waste-water treatment plant in the
country, the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Works, which
provides secondary and tertiary treatment for a population
equivalent of 1,700,000. The contract value is 250 million and
runs up to 2022. In 2001 CAW was the first private company to be
awarded a contract for the operation and maintenance of a Water
Treatment Plant in the Republic of Ireland. It also runs the Galway
County Non-Domestic Metering System (including debt recovery,
billing etc) a contract valued at 10.8 million running up to 2018.
CAW is a subsidiary company of Anglian Water Group, one of the
largest private water companies in England where water is
privatised. Anglian made an operating profit in the UK of 452.6
million for 2014/15.

2.PPPs involve privatisation of policy making


Secondly, PPPs involve the loss of control over public
infrastructure and governance through the privatization
(outsourcing) of the process of policy making including the macro-
level analysis of the effectiveness and appropriateness of PPPs as
a general policy, the design of frameworks for implementation, and
down to the micro-level assessment of Value for Money for
individual projects and the design and planning of the
infrastructure. One of the major private companies given
responsibility for such processes by the Irish state is
PriceWaterHouseCooper (PWC) consultants, one of the big four
global auditing, procurement and accountancy firms. PWC have
played a central role in advising Irish government Departments to
develop PPPs in water and waste water infrastructure. The
Department of Finance appointed PWC in 2001 to review the
effectiveness of the PPP method and, unsurprisingly, they
recommended further expanding the PPP programme. They also
outlined the policy framework required to increase the rate of
implementation of PPPs in Ireland. PWC were also commissioned
by the Department of the Environment in 2001 to develop a
framework for PPPs to be advanced in Ireland in the roads, water
and waste sectors. PWC also carried out the report in November
2011 for the Department of Environment which advised how Irish
Water should be set up (for which PWC were paid a tidy sum of
180,000). They are also involved in evaluating PPP projects on
behalf of local authorities and government Departments to assess
if they are value for money (VFM). The result of their Value for
Money (VFM) Public Sector Benchmark calculation provides the
justification if infrastructure is to be procured through PPPs or the
public sector method. PWC have also been involved in bidding for
water privatization across the world, most notoriously in India
(where the World Bank was found to have unethically supported
them).
There is a clear conflict of interest here as the same private
company which promotes PPPs internationally and is set to gain
financially from the expansion of PPPs is being used by
government and local authorities to advise on the continued use of
PPPs and crucially, assess if PPPs provide VFM or not.

3.No meaningful ownership or control held by the state in


PPPs
Thirdly, while the state claims they still have the ownership of the
infrastructure, the reality of PPPs is that when the infrastructure is
managed, maintained and operated by the private sector in long
term contracts, there is in fact no meaningful ownership or control
by the state. The private sector controls the day-to-day operation
and thus has control over the knowledge and management of the
infrastructure, so in terms of real control and power the private
operator holds it.
This lack of control and the embedding of permanent private
control and profiteering is shown by the experience of the Dublin
(Ringsend) waste-water treatment plant. Local residents have
suffered persistent foul odour problems emanating from the plant
due to inadequate design and equipment failure in the plant. There
has been an on-going dispute between the responsible local
authority, Dublin City Council, and the private operator, Celtic
Anglian Water (CAW), over the extent of the problems and who
should pay for them. CAW argued that DCC would have to pay for
any changes as they would be outside the PPP contract. In the
end, DCC paid CAW 35million to address the problem.
This contradicts the theory of PPPs where they are supposed to
provide a cost benefit to the state by transferring the cost of
dealing with unforseen problems such as this (referred to as risk)
over to the private sector. This case shows that as the private
company now controls the project and thus has the core
knowledge and skills, it can define the issue, the problem and the
cost of rectifying it. It can effectively hold the state to ransom and
force the state to pay significant additional amounts to get any
changes made. That is unless the state is prepared to sanction
and fine the company, or at least stand up to and demand lower
costs from it. But the Irish state has shown that it is unwilling to do
this because it doesnt want to stop future companies engaging in
PPPs. Its part of the price of having a business friendly economy.
The state (the Irish public) keeps picking up the tab and
subsidising the private corporations.

4.When upgrading of infrastructure required PPP contracts


will continue to go to private operators
Fourthly, what will happen in future years when upgrading, or
capacity extension is required in the treatment plants, or new
measures to meet new environmental quality standards outside of
the original contract are required and thus renegotiation of the PPP
contracts? The private operator will hold the control and knowledge
and will be able to charge the state significant premiums to make
changes. The case of the West-Link toll road demonstrates this
point. When the public sector required changes to the service, it
had to pay over half a billion euro to purchase the PPP contract
from the private operator so that it could undertake the required
changes. Furthermore, who is likely to get the new contracts for
upgrading infrastructure? A new private company or the state
itself? The problem with the PPPs is that the private operator
effectively holds a form of monopoly position and thus it is likely to
get it. The is shown by the fact that CAW was awarded a further
DBOM contract to upgrade the Sligo Plant by Irish Water in April
this year.

5.PPPs make private outsourcing of our public water/waste


water infrastructure permanent and full privatisation more
likely
Fifthly, what will happen when it comes to the end of the PPP
contract life in fifteen to twenty years time? Will the plants, as the
state claims, revert back to public ownership when the contract
ends? This is very unlikely if we continue down the PPP
outsourcing path when we have run down and further diminished
the capacity of local authorities to manage our water and waste
water infrastructure. It is more likely to stay in the control of private
operators into perpetuity. This shows how PPPs make private
outsourcing of our public water/waste water infrastructure
permanent and thus are likely to lead to a continued and
deepening privatisation and contracting out.
This is also shown by the fact that DBO PPPs appear to be the
only option being made available to (and preferred by) local
authorities (now Irish Water) and there is no longer a public sector
alternative being made available. Thus PPP privatisation is the
only option for upgrading and providing new water services
infrastructure. The 2010 Department of Environment Report on the
Value for Money for Review of the Water Services Investment
Programme 2007-2009, states this explicitly:
in the case of water services infrastructure, the DBO model is the
preferred procurement route in the case of works involving the
provision of treatment plants subject to completion. This review
also recommends deepening private involvement further by
involving private finance in the future in relation to some large
scale projects.
Therefore existing PPPs lay the foundation for the further
development of PPPs in this area as is shown by the trend towards
the increased use of PPPs over time. Getting private companies
into design, build, operate and manage the water/waste water
infrastructure is thus the thin edge of a wedge that opens up the
potential for complete privatisation.
The private companies themselves highlight this as they use their
existing contracts to try get more PPPs. Veolia explains how they
leverage the experience, stability and geographical coverage of
their existing 20-year PPP contracts in order to offer present and
future customers a cost effective outsourcing solution. While CAW
is even more bold in their ambitions stating that they aim to
become the leading water and waste water service provider in
Ireland. Is that not the complete private corporate takeover of the
public water infrastructure system?
Ultimately these DBO PPPs make it even more straightforward
and easier (and thus more likely) to privatise water/waste water
infrastructure in the future because the only public aspect
remaining to be privatised is the official ownership of the
infrastructure. It is only a Ministers signature away from the sale
and complete transfer to the private sector.

6.PPPs commodify and marketise public infrastructure


Sixth, PPPs also commodify and marketise this public
infrastructure by creating a new market in the provision of public
water/waste-water infrastructure, through the conversion of the
entire process of the provision of public water/waste-water
infrastructure into a contract which is a tradeable asset or
commodity. They thus open up public infrastructure and assets as
income generating opportunities for the private companies.
For example, EPS, one of the Irish private water companies that
has two waste-water PPP contracts (and an annual turnover
nearing 70 million) explains how they have been at the forefront
of the development of the Irish water market through successive
National Development Plan cycles and they have nurtured a
market leading share of the Design-Build-Operate (DBO) market in
Ireland. Similarly Celtic Anglian Water refer to the public
infrastructure as an asset. CAW explains that it operates in the
development of water and wastewater assets - providing water
supply, wastewater treatment, plant operation and maintenance
services. So these private water companies are quite clear how
PPPs are a marketisation or market-creating process of
commodifying public water/waste water infrastructure.
And make no mistake about it, water/waste-water infrastructure
provision is a massive potential market. There are approximately
973 public water supplies and approximately 500 waste water
treatment plants in Ireland. That means that based on 115 DBO
contracts, approximately 20% of our waste water treatment plants
are already part privatised/outsourced. And given the need to
upgrade treatment plants to meet environmental quality standards
major investment is required into the future in treatment plants.
You can also add upgrades and improvements required for the
entire water treatment network on top of that. We can see
therefore how this whole area is a potentially very large and
lucrative future market for the private water companies. And this
requirement to upgrade this infrastructure such as water and waste
water treatment plants is being eyed up as a big opportunity for
profit by many companies. The Irish Times reported earlier this
year that The Denis OBrien-owned industrial services
group Actavo is likely to seek more work from State utility Irish
Water as the State utility moved ahead with plans to renew the
Republics water treatment and supply systems, Actavo would bid
for contracts to work on the various projects that this is likely to
involve.

7. Water infrastructure becomes commodities traded on


financial markets-no democracy
Seventh, further marketization takes place as the PPP contracts
themselves are a tradeable commodity on financial markets. PPP
contracts and companies are bought and sold for profit all the time
on financial markets and international asset markets, between
various private equity investors, hedge funds, and corporations.
They are often loaded with debt from other companies and then
asset sweating is undertaken whereby the new owners (financial
speculators) dont invest in the project but extract as much profit as
possible (through, as I later explain, reducing quality of service,
workers pay and conditions, increasing user charges, increasing
the cost charged to the state etc).
As I wrote in my book this also has implications for the democratic
provision and accountability of public services: "The process of
buying and selling public assets as internationally traded
commodities could have significant implications not just for the
provision of public services and infrastructure, but for the
democratic control by national governments over the services for
which they have the responsibility to provide to their public."

8.PPPs do not provide Value for Money as profits extracted by


private sector
Eighth, PPPs are also a deeper form of privatisation than simple
public asset sales because they involve the on-going subsidisation
of private corporations by the state and the public (through
contract fees, tolls, user charges) for decades through the PPP
contracts. Thus PPPs provide huge profits to the private
corporations. Take Veolia Water Ireland, for example, it increased
its revenue from 36.6 million in 2014 to 40.3 million in 2015.
Their profit was 0.8 million in 2015 and 1.2 million in 2014.
Financial data for CAW shows that in 2015 it had 30.1 million
turnover and made 4.4 million in profit (in 2014 it made 6.6mil in
profit). Thats just two companies and based on Dail figures private
water/waste water companies are receiving a revenue of at least
123 million a year from the Irish tax payer.
This profit extraction is a key part of the explanation of why PPPs
are actually more expensive than traditional delivery. How can they
provide VFM when huge profits are being extracted? This is a
significant additional cost that is not included or measured in the
VFM calculations. This asset grab by private corporations is a
loss of resources and value for the Irish public as they have to pay
for this profit, which does not exist to the same extent in traditional
public procurement (provision) of water/waste-water infrastructure.
Dr. Vandana Shiva has written about this in relation to the
privatisation of Delhis water supply in India through a PPP water
treatment plant operated by Ondeo Degremont (a subsidiary of
French company Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux Water Divisionthe
water giant of the world):
Suez is not bringing in private foreign investment. It is
appropriating public investment. Public-private partnerships are, in
effect, private appropriation of public investment. But the financial
costs are not the highest costs. The real costs are social and
ecological. Interestingly, Ondeo Degremont constructed (and is
possibly still operating) Corks largest waste-water treatment plant.
The Comptroller and Auditor General has found that PPPs are 8-
13% more expensive than traditional public procurement. Reeves
(2011) found that for a number of water based PPPs the initial
estimation of VFM under PPP was revised downwards from 9.5
per cent to 0.8 per cent (of whole-life cost under traditional
procurement) following consultation with stakeholders including
trade unions. In another case Reeves (2013) shows that after
consultation, estimated VFM was revised from 2.3 per cent in
favour of PPP to 2.25 per cent in favour of traditional procurement.
These revisions were attributable to a number of shortcomings in
the original VFM analyses including the omission of relevant costs
including: (i) costs incurred following the re-deployment of existing
labour if PPP was adopted; (ii) transaction costs; (iii) and the costs
of monitoring and supervising the PPP contract over the 20 year
period.
There is another democratic deficit at the heart of PPPs which
links to their inability to prove they provide Value for Money. The
Public Sector Benchmark (PSB) VFM calculation (often carried out
by pro-PPP companies like PWC) is not available for public
analysis due to commercial sensitivity. Yet this is the key
evidence that justifies PPPs- but we cannot see it. Therefore there
is no evidenced way of showing these projects actually are value
for money.

9. PPPs involve reduction in workers pay, conditions and


rights.
The ninth way in which PPPs are a form of privatization is the
reduction in workers pay, conditions and rights. A key method by
which PPPs are used to reduce costs is through such a reduction
in the conditions and pay of employees. As with other forms of
privatisation and outsourcing PPPs have been associated with a
degrading of workers conditions and, in particular, a tendency to
refuse trade union recognition. For example, in 2013 it was
reported that an employee in the Shanganagh PPP Waste Water
Treatment Plant was dismissed 'for trade union organised activity.
Workers there organised a strike as the employers refused to
recognise the trade union and there were other issues around fair
pay for hours and shifts worked. The private operator of the PPP
plant is SDD Shanganagh Water Treatment Ltd, which is a joint
venture between the Irish construction company, Sisk, and
Spanish companies Dragados and Drace. However, the workers
were, in fact, employed by a separate subcontracted agency. Thus
we see how PPPs further the process of the casualisation and
downgrading of workers conditions and undermine and reduce
hard-fought rights and conditions of public sector employees such
as trade union recognition and collective bargaining. Through
PPPs it is the state (which, of course, should be protecting and
promoting workers rights) that is playing a central role in driving
down workers conditions.

10.PPPs support water charges and furthers privatisation


The tenth and final way PPPs support privatisation is their
promotion and support for user charges such as water charges
and the way in which this furthers the privatisation process within
the water system.
The introduction of user fees/charges for public services has been
central to the neoliberal policy agenda which is about convincing
the public to accept that they have to pay for public services
through user fees, even if they were previously paid for from
general taxation and were free at the point of delivery.
PPPs have already facilitated the introduction and intensification of
this policy through the introduction of user fees for toll roads. The
Irish state has supported this process of profiting from PPPs. In
one of the interviews in my research a senior civil servant working
in a Central Government PPP unit told me that it has to be a quid
pro-quo that the private sector gets profit, while it might cost more
for the user. There has to be profit, otherwise it doesnt work.
Indeed, the Irish government has promoted the unlimited potential
for the development of PPPs funded by user fees. Assistant
Secretary of the Department of the Taoiseach, Mary Doyle,
speaking at the 3rd Annual PPP Policy Forum (2007) explained
that, since Ireland is the home of the entrepreneur there is no limit
on any projects that can be undertaken by PPP where they are
funded entirely by using charges. The roads, schools, waste and
water/waste-water sectors demonstrate how, because the private
sector required an income stream (profit) as the basis of its
involvement, the use of PPPs necessitated, the commercialisation
of, and private-capital control over, public resources and assets. As
a representative of the Department of Environment explained to
me in an interview:
The private sector may be able to generate additional revenues
from third parties, thereby reducing the cost of any public-sector
subvention required. Additional revenue may be generated through
the use of spare capacity or the disposal of surplus assets
Through the application of these income-generating mechanisms,
PPPs facilitate the implementation of a central neoliberal policy
objective of creating unlimited market opportunities for the private
sector within public governance, services and infrastructure
(Bourdieu, 1998; Brenner and Theodore, 2002; Harvey, 2005;
Whitfield, 2006).
And, as we see more and more PPP contracts made by Irish water
this increases the financial commitment to PPP companies and,
thus in the future, an argument could be made for introducing
and/or increasing water charges in order to pay for these contracts
with PPP companies. A revenue stream will be required to pay the
private operators. Thus PPPs open up the argument and
requirement for the introduction/increase of water charges and the
introduction of water charges opens up, and provides, the revenue
stream to pay private operators. PPPs and water charges are,
therefore, a mutually reinforcing process as the introduction of one
leads to arguments in favour of the necessity of the introduction of
the other. And they both provide key steps towards the further
privatisation of the Irish public water system.

Conclusion
Overall then we can see from the evidence presented here the
dangerous amount of power and influence that global corporations
are being given through PPP projects in the water/waste-water
infrastructure in Ireland, and the way in which the state is actively
facilitating this neoliberalisation of water governance. Private
corporations, facilitated by the Irish state, are imposing their
corporate model as the future for government and public service
and infrastructure delivery. It is a dystopian future for citizens
whereby private corporations will provide and profit from (and
speculatively trade on financial markets) all aspects of government
including public services and infrastructure through highly
profitable contracts paid for by nation states and local government.
It is the ultimate privatisation and commodification of all public
goods and infrastructure. This is the neoliberal project laid bare.
What David Harvey describes as accumulation by dispossession.
It is about taking the resources (and assets) away from state public
services and infrastructure which benefit the working and middle
classes and instead funnelling them to the wealthy and private
corporations. PPPs are playing a strategic role in this process of
capturing public services and assets for private investment and
wealth accumulation. The global and EU trade liberalisation rules
and new treaties such as CETA and TTIP also support PPPs by
further obliging national governments to liberalise markets for
services and infrastructure on a global scale.
An excellent article critiquing the impact of PPPs and water
privatisation in India describes the process of privatisation through
PPPs which can also be applied to the Irish case:
But whatever the nuances, although formal ownership continues
to nominally vest with public entities, all these public-private
partnerships are undoubtedly different forms of privatization, with
public bodies ceding varying degrees of control over quantity,
quality, coverage and pricing to corporate bodies. Since the private
party is in the business for profit, water in such privatized utilities is
always viewed, valued and managed in terms of its price.
Whatever the specific form of involvement of private players, water
moves from being a common good to a commodity, with all that
this implies.
The evidence shows, therefore, that PPPs are a complex form of
intensive privatization, marketization and commodification of the
Irish public water and waste-water infrastructure system. Private-
sector involvement has not guaranteed a better-quality service and
additionally, the private operators profit maximisation requirements
has resulted in the running down of service quality, workers
conditions and turning the assets into commodities to be profited
from. They ensure big profits for global water and
governance/development corporations and financial investors and
rising costs and ineffective services for public service users, and
the erosion of workers rights. Thus they contribute to the
exacerbation of economic inequality.
The values and ideals of social rights that inform public-sector
values and priorities are undermined by the market ethos of PPP
policy making. Under this process, public service users are
converted into clients and consumers and a revenue stream. All
of this evidence shows how the pursuit of PPPs are an ideological
policy. The evidence does not support the use of PPPs in public
water and waste water infrastructure provision. They are being
pursued principally because of policy makers adherence to (and
belief in) neoliberal privatisiation policies rather than any evidence
based justification.

Remunicipalisation
In recent years governments and local authorities across the
world, in response to the failure of water privatisation such as
increased water charges and poor service delivery by the private
companies, and under pressure from citizen campaigns asserting
the human right to water, have started a process of
remunicipalisation taking water and waste-water services back
into public management. Our public water future: The global
experience with remunicipalisation, a book published last year
shows the growing wave of cities putting water back under public
control with 235 cases of water remunicipalisation in 37
countries, affecting over 100 million people, between 2000 and
2015. The number of cases doubled in the 2010-2015 period
compared with 2000-2010. France, a country that spearheaded
water privatisation and PPPs has lead the way with 94 cases of
remunicipalisation. Also recently a large majority of the Barcelona
City Council voted to end the private management of water and
support the remunicipalisation of the water service in of Barcelona.
Barcelona En Comu, the new citizens movement who holds the
Mayorality of Barcelona, promoted the measure as it was one of
the most popular among citizens in their participatory process
carried out to define the Municipal Action Plan (the plan that guides
city policy). Barcelona En Com, believes that water is a human
right, a basic service and a common good that should be under
public, democratic control.
Slovenia also recently amended its constitution to make access to
drinkable water a fundamental right for all citizens and stop it being
commercialised.
The new article in the constitution reads that Water resources
represent a public good that is managed by the state. Water
resources are primary and durably used to supply citizens with
potable water and households with water and, in this sense, are
not a market commodity.
It was reported in the Guardian that the Slovenian Prime Minister
encouraged the change because: people should protect water
the 21st centurys liquid gold at the highest legal leveland that
Slovenian water has very good quality and, because of its value,
in the future it will certainly be the target of foreign countries and
international corporations appetitesAs it will gradually become a
more valuable commodity in the future, pressure over it will
increase and we must not give in. Slovenia is the first European
Union country to include the right to water in its constitution, while
15 other countries across the world had already done so.
The on-going implementation of PPPs shows that the Irish public
water system has already been part-privatised/outsourced and
without a change of direction and policy it is in danger of being
further marketised and privatised. This lends support to the case
being made for a Referendum that could enshrine the Irish water
system as a public good and human right in the Constitution and
thus provide a constitutional guarantee on the public ownership of
our water. The Expert Commission found that the most commonly
expressed preferred method for confirming Irish Water in public
ownership was by a constitutional amendment, and that the
provision for a plebiscite, as provided for in the existing legislation
did not provide the necessary level of guarantee.

Right2Water has proposed the following wording that could be


inserted into the Constitution to enshrine this:
The Government shall be collectively responsible for the
protection, management and maintenance of the public water
system. The Government shall ensure in the public interest
that this resource remains in public ownership and
management.
The passing of such a referendum is an essential step in stopping
the full privatisation of our public water system and, in particular,
would put a halt to the back door creeping privatisation of through
PPPs in water and waste-water infrastructure and support the
remunicipalisation (taking back into public control) of the existing
PPP water projects.

Sources:
Hearne, R. (2011) Public Private Partnerships in Ireland: failed
experiment or the way forward? Manchester University Press
Available at:
http://www.academia.edu/30178583/Trends_in_historical_develop
ment_of_the_Irish_state_public_services_and_infrastructure
Hearne (2012) http://politico.ie/society/public-private-partnerships-
ireland-failed-experiment-or-way-forward
Hearne (2009) Origins, Development and Outcomes of Public
Private Partnerships in Ireland: The Case of PPPs in Social
Housing Regeneration Dr Rory Hearne
http://www.combatpoverty.ie/publications/workingpapers/2009-
07_WP_PPPsIn...
Alan Kelly, 28th April 2015, Dail Eireann,
https://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2015-04-28a.1222
Comptroller and Auditor General (2016) Briefing Note on PPPs
https://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/committees/pac/corres
pondence/2016meetings/meeting4-21072016/PAC32-R-42-B-(B)---
Briefing-Note-on-PPPs-from-CAG.pdf
Comptroller and Auditor General (2011) Annual Report
http://www.audgen.gov.ie/documents/annualreports/2011/report/en/
Chapter6_01.pdf
Irish Times (2008) Report recommends upgrade of Ringsend
waste plant
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/report-recommends-upgrade-of-
ringsend-was...
Hell Bent on Water Privatisatin in Dehli
(http://newsclick.in/india/hell-bent-water-privatization-delhi)
Oireachtas (2013) Public Private Partnerships Data, July 2013,
http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/Debates
%20Authoring/DebatesWebPack.nsf/takes/dail2013071600112
Reeves, E. (2014) Public Capital Investment and Public Private
Partnerships in Ireland 2000-2014: A Review of the Issues and
Performance
https://www.socialjustice.ie/sites/default/files/attach/policy-issue-
article/4004/2014-11-18-eoinreeves-investmentandppps.pdf
Shiva, V. (2006) RESISTING WATER PRIVATISATION, BUILDING
WATER DEMOCRACY,
http://www.globalternative.org/downloads/shiva-water.pdf
The 2010 Department of Environment Report on the Value for
Money for Review of the Water Services Investment Programme
2007-2009
The Guardian (2016) Slovenia Adds Water to Constitution
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/18/slovenia-
adds-water-...

[i] I have not, as of yet, been able to gather data on the other 95
water/waste-water DBO PPP contracts because they are of a
smaller individual value and have been undertaken directly by local
authorities with little input from the Department of Environment.
Therefore the C & AG does not provide the same level of detail on
these projects.
WATER COMMISSION REPORT
VINDICATES RIGHT2WATER
CAMPAIGN

The publication of the report by the Expert Commission on water


has vindicated everything the Right2Water campaign has been
saying for almost three years. Water should be paid for through
general taxation which is the most socially equitable, economically
beneficial and environmentally sound.
Frustratingly, had an arrogant government and media listened to
our campaign and people in communities across this country, we
would not have wasted 1 billion on water meters and establishing
Irish Water as a commercial entity. Even Engineers Ireland warned
the government back in 2010 that bringing in water charges would
mean "spending 1bn of money we dont have on something we
dont need.
The key findings of the report include:
9 That Irish people already pay for their water through taxation and
that water funded through general taxation is not free but paid for
by the taxpayer.
9 Access to adequate clean water for living requirements should not
be determined by affordability.
9 A referendum is necessary to protect our public water system from
privatisation.
9 Ireland has one of the highest rates of water availability in the
world, with water availability per person four times higher than
France and fifty times higher than Israel.
9 The expert commission has not seen any evidence that Ireland
has particularly high levels of domestic water usage and Irish
people are at the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to
comparing water usage among other European countries.
9 Irish people use between 15-25 percent less water than the UK,
where water charges have been in place since 1989.
9 Water charges do not result in water conservation unless they
include education and information. Therefore, it can be established
that it is education and information which results in water
conservation, not the charges.
9 Commercial companies are not paying their water bills with almost
half refusing to pay. Ensuring a comprehensive commercial water
charges regime should reduce dependence on general taxation.
9 There are no abstraction charges for our natural spring water on
private companies like Britvic (Ballygowan) who pay nothing when
bottling our natural spring water for profit. This should be
addressed.
9 Metering should only be done on an optional basis.
9 Group schemes should have an allowance in order to create
equity.
9 There is a need for investment of 5.5bn in our infrastructure by
2021.
9 The water charges regime does not have political support or
popular acceptance.
9 Flat rate charges are regressive and do not address the issue of
conservation. Also, a water charge added to a property tax leads to
unfairness in the system.
9 The water charges regime was intended to reduce household
consumption of water by a mere 6%, yet the system leaks 41% of
all treated water. The best way to reduce waste is to fix the leaks.
9 While considerable weight must be given to the opinion of the
European Commission, the definitive interpretation of European
law is a matter for the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Borrowings?
Importantly, the Commission states that because the funding of
domestic water should come from general taxation in public
ownership, it will no longer achieve the off balance sheet
exercise. This will reduce or potentially eliminate the need for
borrowing which inevitably leads to debt and the servicing of that
debt by households diverting money directly into the financial
services sector instead of the water infrastructure.
Leakages
The report says that there are 7% of households using six times
more water than the average household, although Irish Water have
indicated that customer-side leaks contribute to this anomaly.
However, it is estimated that up to 97% of leaks do not come from
the household side of the infrastructure and the report states it
should be noted that water leaks waste not only water but also
energy and public money. Therefore, it makes sense to divert all
money from the domestic metering programme towards a district
metering programme as recommended in the report.
Water Charges
The Expert Commission has suggested that where water is used
at a level above what is necessary for normal domestic purposes,
that the user should pay for this through tariffs. The suggestion is
that an allowance is determined and this allowance could be
regularly reviewed and, if necessary, adjusted to reflect changes
in water use patterns in Ireland.
As stated earlier, the evidence provided shows that Irish people
are not profligate with their water and in fact use less water than
almost any other country in the Europe despite having more water
available to us.
There are also very serious concerns about any allowances being
eroded over time, like bin charges.
Therefore, continuing an expensive water metering programme
with the added costs of highly paid consultants, advertising,
postage, call centres and other costs, for no conservational benefit
would be an extraordinary waste of valuable resources, costing up
to 300m per year and returning potentially nothing.
The government and the Oireachtas sub-committee should accept
the will of the electorate two thirds of whom voted for parties and
individuals who promised abolition. This is now also backed up by
an Irish Times MRBI poll which also says two thirds of the
population want to scrap the charges.
With all of this in mind, it is essential that water charges are
abolished outright.
Funding?
In addressing the funding of water services, the Commission
suggests that the funding requirements which were to be allocated
through domestic water charges are now made through the
exchequer rather than by householders directly.
The current government and the previous government must take
responsibility for the leakages and deteriorated infrastructure that
Irish people currently have to rely on. In the last three Budgets
alone, tax cuts of 2.9 billion have been implemented. The
beneficiaries of those tax cuts are the top 20% of earners and also
employers. In ensuring our water system is fit for purpose, the
government should immediately:
Cease all cuts to progressive taxation.
Stop the metering programme and wasting money on the vanity
project that is Irish Water.
Increase taxation revenue by implementing the Fiscal Framework
Document set out by the Right2Water Trade Unions in 2015
which could raise up to 10 billion. This would not only fix and
upgrade the water infrastructure, but could also address our
housing and homelessness crisis, along with our healthcare,
education and other underfunded public services.
Media Failure
It is felt that the majority of the Irish media failed in their duty to
facilitate an honest and democratic debate about the Irish
governments water policy.
While a number of trade unions, political representatives and
community groups were attempting to raise real and valid issues in
relation to water charges and their implications locally, nationally
and internationally, a compliant media refused to accept the
arguments put forward and even refused to allow a debate to
ensue.
Even now, faced with all of the evidence which shows that Ireland
is a water rich country and that Irish people do not waste water,
many media outlets refuse to accept the fact that water charges
are economically inefficient, theyre environmentally unsound and
socially destructive.
Furthermore, protesters were and continue to be demonised and
vilified for their stance on water charges, yet this report now
vindicates what they have said all along: that paying for water
through progressive general taxation is the fairest and most
equitable method possible.
As Maude Barlow, environmentalist and expert on water from the
Blue Planet Project and the Council of Canadians said, The Irish
system of paying for water and sanitation services through
progressive taxation and non-domestic user fees is an exemplary
model of fair, equitable and sustainable service delivery for the
entire world.
Right2Water remains committed to its stated objective of the
abolition of water charges and Irish Water.

WATER COMMISSION REPORT


VINDICATES RIGHT2WATER
CAMPAIGN
30 November, 2016

The publication of the report by the Expert Commission on water


has vindicated everything the Right2Water campaign has been
saying for almost three years. Water should be paid for through
general taxation which is the most socially equitable, economically
beneficial and environmentally sound.
Frustratingly, had an arrogant government and media listened to
our campaign and people in communities across this country, we
would not have wasted 1 billion on water meters and establishing
Irish Water as a commercial entity. Even Engineers Ireland warned
the government back in 2010 that bringing in water charges would
mean "spending 1bn of money we dont have on something we
dont need.
The key findings of the report include:
9 That Irish people already pay for their water through taxation and
that water funded through general taxation is not free but paid for
by the taxpayer.
9 Access to adequate clean water for living requirements should not
be determined by affordability.
9 A referendum is necessary to protect our public water system from
privatisation.
9 Ireland has one of the highest rates of water availability in the
world, with water availability per person four times higher than
France and fifty times higher than Israel.
9 The expert commission has not seen any evidence that Ireland
has particularly high levels of domestic water usage and Irish
people are at the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to
comparing water usage among other European countries.
9 Irish people use between 15-25 percent less water than the UK,
where water charges have been in place since 1989.
9 Water charges do not result in water conservation unless they
include education and information. Therefore, it can be established
that it is education and information which results in water
conservation, not the charges.
9 Commercial companies are not paying their water bills with almost
half refusing to pay. Ensuring a comprehensive commercial water
charges regime should reduce dependence on general taxation.
9 There are no abstraction charges for our natural spring water on
private companies like Britvic (Ballygowan) who pay nothing when
bottling our natural spring water for profit. This should be
addressed.
9 Metering should only be done on an optional basis.
9 Group schemes should have an allowance in order to create
equity.
9 There is a need for investment of 5.5bn in our infrastructure by
2021.
9 The water charges regime does not have political support or
popular acceptance.
9 Flat rate charges are regressive and do not address the issue of
conservation. Also, a water charge added to a property tax leads to
unfairness in the system.
9 The water charges regime was intended to reduce household
consumption of water by a mere 6%, yet the system leaks 41% of
all treated water. The best way to reduce waste is to fix the leaks.
9 While considerable weight must be given to the opinion of the
European Commission, the definitive interpretation of European
law is a matter for the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Borrowings?
Importantly, the Commission states that because the funding of
domestic water should come from general taxation in public
ownership, it will no longer achieve the off balance sheet
exercise. This will reduce or potentially eliminate the need for
borrowing which inevitably leads to debt and the servicing of that
debt by households diverting money directly into the financial
services sector instead of the water infrastructure.
Leakages
The report says that there are 7% of households using six times
more water than the average household, although Irish Water have
indicated that customer-side leaks contribute to this anomaly.
However, it is estimated that up to 97% of leaks do not come from
the household side of the infrastructure and the report states it
should be noted that water leaks waste not only water but also
energy and public money. Therefore, it makes sense to divert all
money from the domestic metering programme towards a district
metering programme as recommended in the report.
Water Charges
The Expert Commission has suggested that where water is used
at a level above what is necessary for normal domestic purposes,
that the user should pay for this through tariffs. The suggestion is
that an allowance is determined and this allowance could be
regularly reviewed and, if necessary, adjusted to reflect changes
in water use patterns in Ireland.
As stated earlier, the evidence provided shows that Irish people
are not profligate with their water and in fact use less water than
almost any other country in the Europe despite having more water
available to us.
There are also very serious concerns about any allowances being
eroded over time, like bin charges.
Therefore, continuing an expensive water metering programme
with the added costs of highly paid consultants, advertising,
postage, call centres and other costs, for no conservational benefit
would be an extraordinary waste of valuable resources, costing up
to 300m per year and returning potentially nothing.
The government and the Oireachtas sub-committee should accept
the will of the electorate two thirds of whom voted for parties and
individuals who promised abolition. This is now also backed up by
an Irish Times MRBI poll which also says two thirds of the
population want to scrap the charges.
With all of this in mind, it is essential that water charges are
abolished outright.
Funding?
In addressing the funding of water services, the Commission
suggests that the funding requirements which were to be allocated
through domestic water charges are now made through the
exchequer rather than by householders directly.
The current government and the previous government must take
responsibility for the leakages and deteriorated infrastructure that
Irish people currently have to rely on. In the last three Budgets
alone, tax cuts of 2.9 billion have been implemented. The
beneficiaries of those tax cuts are the top 20% of earners and also
employers. In ensuring our water system is fit for purpose, the
government should immediately:
Cease all cuts to progressive taxation.
Stop the metering programme and wasting money on the vanity
project that is Irish Water.
Increase taxation revenue by implementing the Fiscal Framework
Document set out by the Right2Water Trade Unions in 2015
which could raise up to 10 billion. This would not only fix and
upgrade the water infrastructure, but could also address our
housing and homelessness crisis, along with our healthcare,
education and other underfunded public services.
Media Failure
It is felt that the majority of the Irish media failed in their duty to
facilitate an honest and democratic debate about the Irish
governments water policy.
While a number of trade unions, political representatives and
community groups were attempting to raise real and valid issues in
relation to water charges and their implications locally, nationally
and internationally, a compliant media refused to accept the
arguments put forward and even refused to allow a debate to
ensue.
Even now, faced with all of the evidence which shows that Ireland
is a water rich country and that Irish people do not waste water,
many media outlets refuse to accept the fact that water charges
are economically inefficient, theyre environmentally unsound and
socially destructive.
Furthermore, protesters were and continue to be demonised and
vilified for their stance on water charges, yet this report now
vindicates what they have said all along: that paying for water
through progressive general taxation is the fairest and most
equitable method possible.
As Maude Barlow, environmentalist and expert on water from the
Blue Planet Project and the Council of Canadians said, The Irish
system of paying for water and sanitation services through
progressive taxation and non-domestic user fees is an exemplary
model of fair, equitable and sustainable service delivery for the
entire world.
Right2Water remains committed to its stated objective of the
abolition of water charges and Irish Water.

Coveney is indicating he won't implement legislation that


he believes is against EU law. He means he won't get rid of
water charges even if the majority of the Dail votes for it.
That's democracy Fine Gael style for you.
Unless Fianna Fail does a dirty backroom deal (always a
possibility), if Coveney holds that position we'll have an
election with water charges and police corruption to the
fore. I wouldn't want to be a Fine Gaeler in that election!
OIREACHTAS COMMITTEE ON FUTURE FUNDING OF WATER
SERVICES-STATE OF PLAY
http://wp.me/pKzXa-nC
CHARGE FOR EXCESSIVE USE OF DOMESTIC WATER IS JUST
A TRICK TO COMMODIFY DOMESTIC WATER AND TO RE-
INTRODUCE DOMESTIC WATER CHARGES BY THE BACK
DOOR AFTER THE NEXT ELECTION
TOTAL MEMERSHIP OF COMMITTEE 20
For 8------(FG, Lab, Green)Against 10----- (FF, SF, AAA-PBP,
S Healy, T Pringle)UNDECLARED Noel Grealish TD Padraig
O Ceide Chair

OIREACHTAS COMMITTEE ON
FUTURE FUNDING OF WATER
SERVICES-STATE OF PLAY
CHARGE FOR EXCESSIVE USE OF DOMESTIC
WATER IS JUST A TRICK TO COMMODIFY
DOMESTIC WATER AND TO RE-INTRODUCE
DOMESTIC WATER CHARGES BY THE BACK
DOOR AFTER THE NEXT ELECTION
FOR A CHARGE FOR EXCESSIVE USE F
Against a Charge for Excessive Use A

Colm Brophy Fine Gael


F

Mary Butler Fianna Fil


A

Barry Cowen Fianna Fil


A

Jim Daly Fine Gael


F
Alan Farrell Fine Gael
F

Noel Grealish Independent


?

Seamus Healy Independent


A

Martin Heydon Fine Gael


F

John Lahart Fianna Fil


A

Paul Murphy AAA PBP


A

Eoin Broin Sinn Fin


A

Jonathan OBrien Sinn Fin


A

Kate OConnell Fine Gael


F

Willie ODea Fianna Fil


A

Jan OSullivan Labour Party


F

Thomas Pringle Independent


A

Senators

Paudie Coffey Fine Gael


F

Lorraine Clifford- Fianna Fil


Lee A

Grace OSullivan (CE-GREEN)


F
Padraig O Ceide Chair ?
For 8(FG, Lab, Green)
Against 10 (FF, SF, AAA-PBP, S Healy, T Pringle)
UNDECLARED Noel Grealish TD Padraig O Ceide Chair

No Charge or Extra Taxation To Pay


for Water Twice-Statement By
Seamus Healy TD
Double Taxation To Pay for
Domestic Water a Second Time
Recommended by Commission
(Comprehensive Analysis of Commission
Report by Cllr Brendan Young and Community
Solidarity N. Kildare Further Down)
Double Taxation To Pay for Domestic Water a Second Time
Recommended by Commission Seamus Healy TD (Member of
Oireachtas Committee on Water Services) calls for complete
abolition of Domestic Water Charges, opposes any payment for
domestic water and rejects any extra taxation to pay for water twice
including a new dedicated water tax similar to Local Property Tax
(LPT). Irish Water must be abolished. I have been nominated to the
Oireachtas Committee On Water Services. I will be resisting these
recommendations.
I will also be organising and participating in mass marches against
the implementation of these recommendations
A majority, 90 of the 158 Teachta Dla (TDs) elected in the last
general election were elected on the basis of complete abolition of
water charges and The Irish Water utility. The combination of Expert
Commission-Oireachtas Committee-Dil Vote in March was devised
by Fianna Fil and Fine Gael after the General Election to negate the
democratic vote of the people and bring back water charges.
The Commission essentially recommends that households pay for
water twice through a combination of charges and taxes. The Report
states:
5.2.17 The recommended Funding Model, if implemented, will
place the main burden of financing the operational cost of providing
domestic water services on the exchequer to be paid for through
taxation. The Question of whether there should be a dedicated tax,
a broadly based fiscal instrument, or an adjustment to existing
taxes to fund this requirement would be a matter of Budgetary
Policy and outside the scope of this report, but is worthy of further
consideration.-Commission Report Page 35
The underlying assumption in the above recommendation is that
domestic water should be paid for by the citizens for a second time.
This must be firmly rejected.
New Dedicated Tax suggests an LPT style arrangement which
would convert a charges system to a tax liability which can be
compulsorily deducted from income at source. This can be imposed
on households with no taxable income (e.g. social welfare/low pay).
A broadly based Fiscal Instrument means that there would be a
specific provision in law for some kind of water or house tax
including water tax. This can be imposed on households with no
taxable income (e.g. social welfare/low pay)
Adjustment to Existing Taxes means that there should be a
general tax increase to pay a second time for water through an
adjustment of rates/bands/ allowances/ tax credits.
The commission has also recommended that Irish Water be retained
and that charges be imposed for extra usage.
Refuse charges were originally introduced at 5. Now hundreds of
Euro are payable. The same will happen with water if there is any
charge for water under any guise.
I have been nominated to the Oireachtas Committee On Water
Services. I will be resisting these recommendations. I will also be
organising and participating in mass marches against the
implementation of these recommendations. The money which is
being paid and was being paid for water services through taxation
for many years was not used for water services but was given to
others and is being spent for other purposes. It is being used to
fund part of the 7 Billion in interest being paid annually on money
borrowed to bail out banks and billionaire bondholders. It is also
being used partly to fund the 172 million reductions of personal
taxes on the top 5% of income recipients on an average of
186,000Eu per year.
The 172 million tax reduction must be cancelled. A tax on the
Financial Assets of the top 10% whose financial assets are now 35
billion above peak boom level could be used to fully fund water
services.
Water charges and Irish water Must Be fully abolished. Domestic
water must not be commodified. We will not pay Twice Seamus
Healy TD 087-2802199

-
Analysis
Report of Expert Commission on
Domestic Public Water Services
Double Taxation To Pay for Water a Second
Time Water Recommended by Commission
5.2.17 The recommended Funding Model, if implemented, will
place the main burden of financing the operational cost of providing
domestic water services on the exchequer to be paid for through
taxation. The Question of whether there should be a dedicated
tax, a broadly based fiscal instrument, or an adjustment to
existing taxes to fund this requirement would be a matter of
Budgetary Policy and outside the scope of this report, but is worthy
of further consideration.-Commission Report Page 35
The underlying assumption in the above recommendation is that
domestic water should be paid for by the citizens for a second time.
This must be firmly rejected.
New Dedicated Tax suggests an LPT style arrangement which
would convert a charges system to a tax liability which can be
compulsorily deducted from income at source. This can be imposed
on deprived househols with no taxable income (eg socia welare)
A boadly based Fiscal Instrument means that there would be a
specific provision in law for some kind of water or house tax
including water tax. This can be imposed on deprived househols
with no taxable income (eg socia welare)
Adjustment to Existing Taxes means that there should be a
general tax increase to pay a second time for water through an
adjustment of rates/bands/ allowances/ tax credits.
The money which is being paid and was being paid for water
services through taxation for many years was not used for water
services BUT WAS GIVEN TO OTHERS AND IS BEING SPENT FOR
OTHER PURPOSES. It is being used to und part of the 7 Billion in
interest being paid annually on money borrowed to bail out banks
and billionaire bondholders. It is also being used partly to fund the
172 million reduction of personal taxes on the top 5% of income
recipients on an average of 186,000Eu per year.
The 172 billion tax reduction must be cancelled. A tax on the
Financial Assets of the top 10% whose financial assets are now 35
billion above peak boom level could be used to fully fund water
services.
Water charges and Irish water Must Be fully abolished. We will not
pay Twice

For Complete Abolition of Water


Charges-Seamus Healy TD(member
of Oireachtas Committee on Water
Services) on TippFM
Click Here for Recording https://youtu.be/zbiCeYguBHA
Healy Opposes Double Taxation to Pay For
Domestic Water

Expert Commission Report on Water Charges:


Community Solidarity North-Kildare response
and proposals. 3 December 2016.
The recommendation by the water charge commission that water
for domestic consumption should be funded from general taxation
(5.2.2) is a victory for the movement against the water charges.
The Report acknowledges the political reality that a majority do not
support water charges (4.7). Mass mobilisation and non-payment
were central to this and the unacknowledged reality that massive
numbers of non-payers could not be brought to court to be forced
to pay: they were the key to victory.
No new water taxes!
While this is a victory, it is only temporary if the charges are
not completely abolished. The Report suggests new, additional
taxes to fund water services (p.1). The recently reported FF
discussion, with FG agreement, on a joint LPT-water tax from 2019
shows the direction of establishment thinking.
We oppose any new taxes to fund water services other than
proper taxation of big business (the 13 billion owed by Apple would
fund infrastructure) and taxes on the rich and their wealth.
No rationale that metering and charging is effective in reducing
consumption or waste
The Report says that allowances for normal consumption should
be funded from general taxation but proposes that wasteful use
should incur charges (5.2.2 and 5.2.3). Metering is the only way
this can be monitored. But it also says that any generous
initial allowance could be changed in the future (5.4.3).
It says wasteful use is small (2.3.5); and that domestic
consumption in Ireland is at the lower end of European consumption
(2.3.6) where metering is widespread. The evidence in Britain is
that metering makes little difference in average domestic
consumption. http://www.heednet.info/meteringdefraHEEDnet.pdf
(p.4) So there is no
rationale in the Report for metering to reduce consumption.
The evidence in the Report is that the annual costs of metering and
billing (operating costs of IW, p.34) is far greater than any charges
that could be recouped from households less than 7% for
supposedly wasteful use (see example below). Yet only half of
commercial water charges are collected (2.4.22). Water used
for business generates profits which are privately appropriated
while the costs of the water are socialised.
Nor does the Report give evidence that the money spent on
metering and billing would conserve more water than equivalent
spending on conservation measures: while metering might save at
best 6% (2.3.8), other measures might save up to 25% (harvesting
for outdoor use; grey water for flushing; p.60).
The proposal for metered allowances and charges to stop
wasteful use is actually cover for a perspective of reducing
these allowances and charging in the future justified by
the false argument that charges significantly reduce
consumption.
Any regime that includes universal domestic metering will
inevitably lead to water charges initially to pay the annual cost of
metering and billing people who supposedly use water wastefully.
Consistent excess-use can be identified through district metering
and such users characterized as commercial users (if
appropriate) and charged accordingly. To argue for charges to stop
wasteful use is a sham argument to justify domestic metering; the
only rationale for domestic metering is domestic water charges at a
later date. We oppose them.
Political demands:
Abolish domestic water charges completely.
Abolish IW and set up a national water authority to co-ordinate and
rationalize the operation of the water service in conjunction with the
Local Councils.
Referendum to prevent privatization of Irelands water services
No new taxes: fund investment in water infrastructure through tax
on big business and the rich.

Fianna Fil and Independents must be forced to oppose


Fine Gael plans for domestic water charges
Agitational proposals:
Scrap the meters. Take out your meter and return it to your local
Council the main contractor for IW.
Boycott IW dont respond to requests for household information to
determine allowances, etc.
Protest: mobilise for a mass demonstration before the Dil vote in
March 2017
Wasteful use metering costs much more than savings
The data from IW shows that domestic consumption in Ireland is at
the lower range of European consumption (2.3.6), where metering
is widespread so there is little to gain from it here. It says there is
little evidence of actual wasteful usage (2.3.5). At present only 7%
of metered households use significantly (six times) more water than
the average and IW admits this is mostly from leaks.
The Report gives no evidence to support the installation and
maintenance of 1.4 million meters to try to impose charges to
reduce a small amount of supposed wasteful usage.
For example: if a four-person household uses six times the normal
amount of water which IW estimates at about 129m3/yr and are
charged for the extra 645m3 that they use, they would pay about
2385 at current IW rates of 3.7 per m3.
If 5% (after leaks are eliminated) of the 1.4 million metered
households do this, the income to IW would be about 167 million.
This would probably fall after the first year as wasteful users
reduce what they use.
But the annual operating costs of IW is 794 million for 2015 and
779 million in 2014 (p.34), with more than half a million meters
yet to be installed meaning increased operating costs down the
line.
Money recouped from wasteful use charges will come nowhere
near the cost of the metering and billing system. But in order not to
undermine its own proposal, the Report gives no cost comparison.
The British evidence is that most of the supposedly excessive
consumption is leak-related. Leak-related consumption can be
traced by means of district metering.
It is notable that the Report says Local Councils only manage to
collect about half of the water charges to commercial users
(2.4.22): businesses use water for private profit while the cost of
the water is paid by all.
Metering is a pointless expense unless it is used to charge for water.
The Report says that any initial generous consumption allowance
could be changed in the future (5.4.3) once metering is established.
Stopping waste is a cover argument to justify metering for
universal water charges in the future.
Conservation no evidence that metering is more effective
IW has claimed up to 10% reduced domestic consumption due to
metering. The evidence in Britain however, is that metering makes
little difference in average domestic consumption once leaks are
fixed (see below).
The Report says IW estimates a maximum reduction of 6% from
metering (2.3.8).
Domestic consumption in Ireland is about 41% of total
consumption. So domestic metering might reduce overall
consumption by a max of 2.5% (6% of 41%).
Meanwhile the Report admits that losses from the network are a
minimum 20% and rise to nearly 50% of treated water requiring
investment of between 5 and 13 billion (2.4.26). District metering
is more effective for conserving water because it can identify leaks
from the network and because it is much cheaper than the costs of
installation, maintenance and replacement of individual meters up
to 1.4 million of them
at an initial installation cost of at least 540 million.
We fully support water conservation, which would also reduce the
energy used for water treatment. While water harvesting is
mentioned in the Report, it was not included by FG-Labour in the
recently revised building regulations and could significantly reduce
the 5% of domestic water for outdoor use (p.60).
Nor does this Report mention the re-use of grey water (from hand-
basins, showers, baths) for toilet flushing, which accounts for
21.6% of domestic consumption (p.60).
The Report does not compare the cost of metering and billing, which
might reduce domestic consumption by 6%, to the cost of water
harvesting and use of grey water for flushing which together could
reduce domestic consumption by up to 25% (p.60).
The money proposed for metering and billing every year (operating
costs of IW) would bring far greater reductions in consumption if
spent on conservation measures. But conservation is not what this
is about.Water metering is only rational as preparation for universal
water charges at a later stage.
Allowances and waivers remember the bin charges
The Report proposes that the Commission for Energy Regulation
(CER) would be responsible for setting the size of the personal
allowance and for setting the charge rates. (5.2.5 and 5.2.6) An
allowances system needs metering to make sure people dont use
more but metering for excess-use costs more than it can recoup.
The Report however, reveals its true intentions when it says that
any generous initial allowance could be changed in the future
(5.4.3) to supposedly reduce consumption.
So the proposals for metered allowances to stop wasteful use are
actually cover for a perspective of reduced allowances and
increased charges in the future justified by the false argument
that charges reduce consumption.
The bin charges show what is likely to happen: allowances would
start high and fall steadily, while charges would start low and rise
steadily.
Even prior to deregulation of energy pricing, the CER has
consistently allowed gas and electricity charges to
rise above the rate of inflation and the Consumer Price Index. (see
Bonkers.ie) If PPP or other off-balancesheet private funding is to
be used to pay for water infrastructure and the private companies
want increased prices, there will be pressure to reduce allowances
and increase charges. CER wont stop this.
CER sets the very significant subsidies to private wind energy
producers paid from the PSO electricity /gas levy. The
renewables levy ensures profitability for the wind-farm operators
over and above the cost of producing wind energy. There is no
reason CER would not do the same for water / waste-water
treatment by private companies with future PPP contracts.
Waivers should not be believed: waivers for bin charges have
disappeared and it is not clear if any bin charge waivers will apply
for people with special needs (carers who use nappies and have
heavy bins, etc) if/when pay-by-weight is introduced.
Constitutional impediment to privatisation of water system
A commitment in the constitution not to privatise Irelands water
services would be welcome. We support a referendum for this. But it
should not become a substitute for demanding the abolition of
charges, the dismantling of IW and action to stop the imposition of
domestic water charges in any form.
Opposition to privatisation is based on support for access to water,
irrespective of income; and concerns
about price increases and where the profits would go. In the
context of the existing system, a constitutional commitment to
public ownership would have little real meaning unless it excluded
future PPPs or equivalent long-term contracts for maintenance and
operation of the system apart from initial construction.
There is already significant part-privatisation: NERI (2013) cites 66
water treatment plants as being PPP. All new water treatment plants
are DFBO (Design, Finance, Build, Operate) by private companies
on long-term contracts. The enquiries operation for IW has been
outsourced to Abtran a private multinational. So the Irish state,
through bypassing local Councils as the direct builders /
maintenance organisations, has already
part privatised the system by contracting out the construction and
operation of water / waste-water treatment plants to private
multinationals and guaranteed them a profitable revenue stream.
Operation of the network has not been contracted out because it
is not profitable and in need of big investment. But the existing 12-
year SLAs (Service Level Agreements), whereby the Councils do the
repair and maintenance work for IW, are unlikely to be renewed
when they come to an end. There will probably be a process of EU-
wide tendering for the contracts which would go to the lowest
bidder, rather like the way Sierra and K&N do most of the work on
the gas service that was previously done by Bord Gis employees.
Even if IW as the utility which had overall responsibility for water
services could not be privatised, the revenue it would get from
charging the state for domestic water services would be diverted to
private contractors through outsourcing. This needs to be
considered along with opposition to privatisation.
Charges pay for bank bailout and tax cuts for big business & the
rich
The underlying rationale for water charges is to raise revenue to
continue state-funding of the bank bailout while simultaneously tax-
cutting for big business and the rich.
By the end of 2014, IBRC (Anglo Irish and others) had been the
biggest financial drain on the State with a net cost of 36.1 billion.
Interest on bank debt alone is between 1 billion to 1.7 billion per
year (Julien Mercille, Broadsheet 5 Oct 2015; Irish Times 30-9-
2015). Successive FF and FG-Labour governments agreed to pay
the equivalent of 25% of GDP between 2007-2011 to bail out the
banks (Michael Taft).
The miniscule tax paid by the likes of Cerberus shows the tax
breaks that FF and FG give to big business.
The cost of water services is about 1 billion per year less than
the interest on the bank debt.
The decision by FF and FG-Labour that the Irish state should borrow
money to pay the speculator debts of the banks, and the interest on
those borrowings, is why there is a lack of investment to deal with
the crisis in the water infrastructure and why they want to impose
water charges. There should be a moratorium on payment of bank-
related debt and an audit of that debt with a view to repudiating it.
How to fund water infrastructure
Between 5 billion and 13 billion investment is required (2.4.26).
Tax the multinationals / tax wealth: see AAA PBPA budget
submission.
(THE FINANCIAL ASSETS ALONE of the Richest 10% of households
are now 37 Billion above peak boom level in 2006. Tactically, I
believe we should concentrate on this rather than raising the issue
of taxation of multi-nationals. The latter enables our enemies to
confuse people by raising the jobs issue. See IRISH SUPER_RICH
AWASH WITH MONEY elsewhere ON THIS BLOG-Paddy Healy)
Notes:
Do Water Meters Reduce Domestic Consumption? a summary of
available literature. 2011.Thus, on the UK evidence, the
true impact of metering needs to be seen in terms of better leak
detection, reduced peak consumption and little difference in average
consumption in exchange for higher cost and complexity in
customer billing and management.(p.4)
http://www.heednet.info/metering-defraHEEDnet.pdf
2.3.5 Irish Water presented consumption data to the Expert
Commission based on metered consumption to date, which
indicated that domestic consumption is relatively low in Ireland with
average consumption of 123 liters per capita (compared, for
example, to 140 liters per capita in the UK). This metered data also
indicated that 7% of households are using six times more water
than the average household, although Irish Water indicated this
level of consumption is likely to decline as customer-side leaks are
fixed.
2.3.8 In Ireland, the reduced domestic consumption due to charges
was originally projected to be 6%, but Irish Water
subsequently indicated that this estimate would have to be modified
downwards in the light of the introduction of a cap on charges.
2.4.22 the collection rate for commercial water charges was
much worse than for other charges with almost half of
water charges being unpaid across all local authorities. (2012:22)
5.2.2 A distinction must, however, be made between a right to
water for normal domestic and personal purposes and
wasteful usage. The former can reasonably be regarded as a public
service that should be funded out of taxation and which the State
should
provide for all citizens. Where water is used at a level above those
normal requirements, that principle is no longer applicable and the
user should pay for this use through tariffs.
5.2.3 Each household that is connected to the public water supply
receives an allowance of water and a corresponding allowance of
wastewater that corresponds to the accepted level of usage required
for domestic and personal needs without any direct charge being
levied. This allowance should be related to the number of persons
resident in the household and adjusted for special conditions.
5.4.3 . The allowance to households should be periodically
reviewed in an open and transparent way as further consumption
data is gathered and with a view to ensure that consumption levels
are maintained at levels that are aligned with best practice in water
conservation.

PROPOSAL OF SEAMUS HEALY TD TO HALT WATER


METERING RULED OUT OF ORDER
Seamus Healy TD put down an amendment to halt metering but it
has been ruled out of order for Committee Stage(see below). HE
will put it down again for Report Stage but we expect it to be ruled
out of order also. The so-called new politics is a sham. We have also
been told that any bill or motion or amendment which costs the
state money can only be put dowm by government. If proposed by
any opposition TD or party, such a motion will be ruled out of order!
Seamus had submitted several proposals to the Sub-Committee on
Dil Reform including a proposal to enable opposition deputies and
parties to table Bills which impact on state finances. His proposal
was rejected by the subcommittee majority including FF members.
Amendment to Water Services(Amendment) Bill 2016 from Seamus
Healy TD 087-2802199
Seamus Healy TD wishes to submit the following amendment:
Amendment
In section 2 (a) (ii) on line 16 after Irish Water insert:
shall suspend the installation of domestic water meters for
domestic dwellings on the passing of this Bill by the Oireachtas until
the Water Commission Report is laid before the Oireachtas and
Seamus Healy TD
An Roghchoiste um Thithiocht, Pleanil agus Rialtas itiuil

Teach Laighean
Baile tha Cliath 2

Teil: (01) 618 3481


R/phost : HPLG@oireachtas.ie

Select Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government

Leinster House
Dublin 2

Tel: (01) 618 3481


E-mail: HPLG@oireachtas.ie

05 July 2016

Deputy Seamus Healy


Dil ireann
Houses of the Oireachtas

Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2016


Committee Stage

Dear Deputy Healy

I must inform you that the amendment 3, tabled by you for


Committee Stage of the above Bill, must be ruled out of order as it
is not relevant to the provisions of the Bill as read a second time.

Yours sincerely
__________________
Maria Bailey T.D.
Chairman of the Select Committee

Labour Leader Howlin Said EU law takes precedence over


the Irish Constitution and legislation.
TDs are being asked to break EU law by legislating to
suspend water charges Howlin
John Downing Irish Independent

FORMER Public Spending Minister, Brendan Howlin, has said a law before the Dil to
suspend water charges effectively breaks EU law.

The Labour leader challenged Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald


following an assertion yesterday by the EU Environment
Commissioner that Ireland has no exemption on water charges.
Commissioner Karmenu Vella said Irelands earlier exemption ended
in July 2010 when the Fianna Fil-Green Party Coalition told
Brussels they were introducing water charges.
Mr Howlin, who was still a government minister two months ago,
said legislation currently going through the Dil breached EU law.
He said EU law takes precedence over the Irish Constitution and
legislation.
The Oireachtas has never before knowingly been asked to
contravene European law, the Labour leader said.
The Justice Minister, Frances Fitzgerald, said the Government was
acting in line with the law and the Constitution and the water
legislation will proceed.
She said the issue had been fully debated by Cabinet and a meeting
with the EU Commissioner was now scheduled.
Ms Fitzgerald rejected arguments by Anti-Austerity Alliance TD, Paul
Murphy, that the EU was seeking to set aside the Irish general
election outcome which was a vote against water charges.
MINISTERS HAD NOT PAID WATER CHARGES
BUT HAVE NOW CAPITULATED TO FG!!!
Minister Finian McGrath and soon to be elevated John Halligan have
not paid water charges-Non-Payers Vindicated-Why should anybody
continue to pay recent bills?
Many ill, old and vulnerable people were terrified into paying. There
should be a full refund and full abolition of charges
-
Dil Speech by Seamus Healy TD Demanding
Full Abolition of Water Charges 27/04/2016
Listen here
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B11TATMMt6heZlpaXzFWbDJhQ3c/
view?pref=2&pli=1
I stood in the recent general election as a Right2Water and
Right2Change candidate and have been involved in the movement
since the initial stages. I congratulate all water campaigners around
the country who in the past two and a half or three years stood up
to be counted. Hundreds of thousands of people went out onto the
streets. Community campaigners, anti-metering protestors and
those who fought Irish Water on every street and estate and in
every village, town and city stood up to be counted. They also stood
up to the political parties. People power has won its first victory
against water charges. Those involved have forced the political
parties to retreat. The emerging deal a fudge is the first victory
as the Government and Fianna Fil have been forced to back down,
but they did not do so voluntarily. They did it under the pressure
exerted by people power. A word of caution to everyone involved in
the campaign: he or she should stay organised and continue to
resist metering. The political parties are treacherous and may
attempt to reintroduce water charges. Todays bad tempered rant by
the caretaker Minister, Deputy Alan Kelly, may be an indication of
what is to come. If we stay organised and continue to resist
metering, however, water charges will be dead and buried.
As we have said from the beginning, water charges are unjust and
represent double taxation. They were the straw that broke the
camels back among people who had been devastated by austerity,
in particular low and middle income families. A motion on the Order
Paper that has been signed by 39 Deputies calls for the abolition of
water charges and the enshrining in the Constitution of the public
ownership of water infrastructure. It should be debated urgently,
but, unfortunately, Fianna Fil has agreed with Fine Gael to prevent
that from happening. I appeal to Fianna Fil, the Members of which
where elected on a pledge to end water charges, to allow the
motion to be tabled and voted on, as there is a majority in the
House in favour of abolishing water charges. Irish Water must be
abolished as it has been a disaster for ordinary people. We must
also ensure the many people who paid their water charges under
duress the elderly people who were afraid and people who were ill
and worried certainly did not pay voluntarily will have their money
refunded. It is important that the legislation underpinning domestic
water charges is repealed. I appeal to Fianna Fil and Fine Gael to
allow the motion on the Order Paper to be debated and voted on so
as to put water charges and Irish Water to bed once and for all.

First Victory for Water Charges Campaign, the


marchers, the meter resisters, the payment
boycotters
Huge Defeat for Alan Kelly and Labour
Suspesion or abolition of water charges is political,
economic ad environmental sabotage-environmental
treason Alan Kelly TD Dil Eireann 27/04/2016
Is what is happening now legal under EU directives? RTE
News at 6 27/04/2016Alan Kelly TD
http://wp.me/pKzXa-nC
BUT STAY ORGANISED-BEWARE OF EU
INTERVENTION
Continue to Resist Metering

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly-Photograph: Gareth Chaney


Collins

Water charges Gone for duration of Government -unless EU


intervenes!
The commission is to report to an oireachtas committe. Unlike
Banking inquiry, government will not have a majority on this
CommitteeFF and oppsition will!
This committee will report to the Dail which will vote on whether the
suspension of water charges should be ended and charging for
water resumed. The government will not have a majority in the
Dail!
The trickery is to camouflage an agreement to suspend charges for
duration of government.
We must stay organised. The charges are still on the statute book.
They can be reactivated at any time. The threat of fines by EU could
be the trigger. The resistance to metering must continue.
Everybody who paid should get their money back. Many vulnerable
and/or old people were terrified of owing money and more terrified
of ending up in court. They were bullied into paying
New Vote on Taking Motion to Abolish Water
Charges
FG, FF, Labour Block Discussion. But the vote for discussion on the
motion increases from 39 to 49
26/04/2016
Question put: That the proposal for the adjournment tonight be
agreed to.
The Dil divided: T, 83; Nl, 49.

T Nl

Aylward, Bobby. Adams, Gerry.

Bailey, Maria. Barry, Mick.

Barrett, Sen. Boyd Barrett, Richard.

Brassil, John. Brady, John.

Breathnach, Declan. Broughan, Thomas P.

Breen, Pat. Buckley, Pat.

Brophy, Colm. Canney, Sen.

Browne, James. Collins, Joan.

Bruton, Richard. Collins, Michael.

Burke, Peter. Connolly, Catherine.

Burton, Joan. Coppinger, Ruth.

Butler, Mary. Cullinane, David.


Byrne, Catherine. Daly, Clare.

Byrne, Thomas. Doherty, Pearse.

Cahill, Jackie. Ferris, Martin.

Calleary, Dara. Funchion, Kathleen.

Cannon, Ciarn. Harty, Michael.

Carey, Joe. Healy, Seamus.

Casey, Pat. Healy-Rae, Danny.

Cassells, Shane. Healy-Rae, Michael.

Chambers, Jack. Kenny, Gino.

Chambers, Lisa. Kenny, Martin.

Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella. McGrath, Finian.

Coveney, Simon. McGrath, Mattie.

Cowen, Barry. Martin, Catherine.

Creed, Michael. Mitchell, Denise.

Curran, John. Moran, Kevin Boxer.

Daly, Jim. Munster, Imelda.

DArcy, Michael. Murphy, Catherine.

Deering, Pat. Murphy, Paul.

Donohoe, Paschal. Naughten, Denis.

Durkan, Bernard J. Nolan, Carol.

English, Damien. Broin, Eoin.

Farrell, Alan. Caolin, Caoimhghn.

Fitzgerald, Frances. Laoghaire, Donnchadh.

Fitzpatrick, Peter. Snodaigh, Aengus.


Flanagan, Charles. OBrien, Jonathan.

Harris, Simon. OReilly, Louise.

Haughey, Sen. OSullivan, Maureen.

Heydon, Martin. Pringle, Thomas.

Howlin, Brendan. Quinlivan, Maurice.

Kehoe, Paul. Ross, Shane.

Kelleher, Billy. Ryan, Eamon.

Kelly, Alan. Shortall, Risn.

Kenny, Enda. Smith, Brd.

Kyne, Sen. Stanley, Brian.

Lahart, John. Tibn, Peadar.

Lawless, James. Wallace, Mick.

MacSharry, Marc. Zappone, Katherine.

McConalogue, Charlie.

McEntee, Helen.

McGrath, Michael.

McLoughlin, Tony.

Madigan, Josepha.

Martin, Michel.

Mitchell OConnor, Mary.

Moynihan, Aindrias.

Moynihan, Michael.

Murphy OMahony, Margaret.

Murphy, Dara.
Murphy, Eoghan.

Murphy, Eugene.

Naughton, Hildegarde.

Neville, Tom.

Noonan, Michael.

OBrien, Darragh.

OCallaghan, Jim.

OConnell, Kate.

ODowd, Fergus.

OKeeffe, Kevin.

OLoughlin, Fiona.

ORourke, Frank.

OSullivan, Jan.

Penrose, Willie.

Phelan, John Paul.

Rabbitte, Anne.

Rock, Noel.

Ryan, Brendan.

Sherlock, Sean.

Smyth, Niamh.

Stanton, David.

Troy, Robert.

Varadkar, Leo.

Tellers: T, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Michael Moynihan; Nl,


Deputies Ruth Coppinger and Aengus Snodaigh.
Question declared carried.

HEALY RAE(M), Dr Harty and Mattie McGrath


Support Taoiseach in Refusing to allow
Motion for Abolition of Water Charges on Dil
Agenda
A motion to abolish water charges has been on the Dail agenda
since the first meeting of the new Dail, almost 8 weeks ago. It now
has 33 signatures.
Yesterday,20/04/2016, Taoiseach Kenny proposed an order of
business for the sitting which did not include the motion. Despite
many requests from Dil deputies to include the motion, Taoiseach
Kenny refused. Pro-abolition deputies then called on TDs to vote
against the order of business. Effectively those who voted T(Yes)
supported the Taoiseachs decision to exclude the abolition motion.
Those voting Nl(No) wanted to have the abolition motion debated.
FF, FG and Labour and a number of independents voted to support
Taoiseach Kennys exclusion of the abolition motion from the agenda
The official voting record below deserves study
Question put:

The Dil divided: T, 82; Nl, 39.

T Nl

Aylward, Bobby. Adams, Gerry.

Bailey, Maria. Barry, Mick.

Brassil, John. Boyd Barrett, Richard.

Breathnach, Declan. Brady, John.

Breen, Pat. Broughan, Thomas P.

Brophy, Colm. Buckley, Pat.

Browne, James. Connolly, Catherine.

Bruton, Richard. Coppinger, Ruth.

Burke, Peter. Cullinane, David.

Burton, Joan. Daly, Clare.

Butler, Mary. Doherty, Pearse.

Byrne, Catherine. Donnelly, Stephen S.

Byrne, Thomas. Ellis, Dessie.

Cahill, Jackie. Ferris, Martin.

Carey, Joe. Funchion, Kathleen.

Casey, Pat. Healy, Seamus.

Cassells, Shane. Kenny, Gino.

Chambers, Jack. Kenny, Martin.

Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella. McGrath, Finian.

Coveney, Simon. Martin, Catherine.

Cowen, Barry. Mitchell, Denise.

Creed, Michael. Munster, Imelda.



Positive Meeting Of Anti-Water
Charges Activists-Report Cllr.
Brendan Young
At a positive meeting of anti-water-charge
activists on April 16 (attendees below) a wide-
ranging
discussion took place and the following was
agreed:
1. With regard to the public discussion on the
formation of the next government, we are
opposed to the
movement against the water charge calling for
TDs to vote for a government of the parties
responsible for the austerity imposed to pay for
the bank bailout including the water charge;
2. Instead we support a call for all TDs who say,
or have said, they oppose the water charge to
vote to
immediately abolish the water charge and to
immediately abolish IW when a Bill to that effect
is put
before the Dail;
3. We are aware of discussions amongst anti-
water-charge TDs on drafting a Bill and look
forward to
seeing that draft Bill in the coming week;
4. We are in favour of such a Bill being a cross-
party Bill, rather than a Bill presented by any
one party;
5. We are in favour of all TDs who say they
oppose the water charges being asked to sign
this Bill;
6. While we support a Bill being put to the Dail,
we regard mass non-payment as key to
defeating the
water charge and are committed to promoting
the boycott of the charge;
7. We are in favour of a national demonstration
against the water charge and in support of a
Bill to
abolish the charge and abolish IW involving all
who oppose the water charge;
8. We are aware that a Bill will not be put to the
Dail until after the formation of the next
government;
we favor a demonstration before the formation
of the next government;
9. We are aware of discussions taking place,
amongst the TDs and parties involved in the
drafting of a
Bill, on the possibility of a national
demonstration and the possibility that these
TDs and parties
may agree to call a national demonstration; we
look forward to hearing the outcome of this
discussion in the coming week;
10. We agree to a press conference being called,
involving broad participation of anti water
charge TDs,
in response to IW payment figures when they
are announced in the coming week;
11. We support a visible mobilisation of all who
oppose the water charge at the Reclaim the
Vision of
1916 event on Sunday April 24 in Dublin
assemble in Merrion Sq at 14.00 and bring
banners; the
organisers ask anti-water charge groups to join
the parade behind the banner Irish Republic
ownership of Ireland
12. We are in favour of a national day of action
against the water charge in the near future
provisionally on Saturday April 30, depending
on the outcome of the discussion on calling a
national demonstration mentioned above and
will discuss this at our next meeting;
13. In the event that the incoming government
does not scrap the water charge, we support
open
discussion and democratic decision-making in
the next phase of the campaign;
14. we agree that there is a need for systematic
work on social media; we will discuss how best
to do this
at our next meeting;
15. We will meet again at 14.00 16.00 in the
Teachers Club, Parnell Sq on Sat April 23. This
meeting
is open to all who oppose the water charge and
we will publicise the meeting as much as
possible.
Attendance: Paddy Healy, Sean Heffernan,
Seamus McDonagh, John Lyons, Donall
OCeallaigh, Garrett
Banks, Joe Kelly, Enda Craig, James Quigley,
Shane Fitzgerald, Eddie Doyle, Joanne Pender,
Liz Wilders,
Mary ODonnell, John Meehan, Aaron Nolan,
Paul Murphy, Ciara Hendrick, Evelyn Campbell,
Pat Waine,
Brendan Young.
Report: Brendan Young. 18 April 2016.
New Treachery of FF-FG on Water
Charges
Water and Home taxes to be Merged?
Time to get Back on Streets!!!
From Irish Independent 11/04/16
Fianna Fil wants to suspend charges and abolish Irish Water in
favour of a national directorate, while Fine Gael insists that
payments for water must stay.
The Irish Independent has learned that figures in both parties are
now talking up the idea of amalgamating water charges and the
property tax into a so-called household package.
This would allow Fianna Fil to claim that charges have been
effectively scrapped, while still potentially satisfying EU rules,
according to a senior Fine Gael source. A high-ranking Fianna Fil
figure said the move could bridge the gap between the two
parties.

Sinn Fin on Water Charges Again


The sooner we all get back on the streets in
united opposition to water charges the
better. This crisis of rule of the rich is our
opportunity!
Why Does Sinn Fein not suspend the proposal
for a Commission until the water charges have
already been abolished? That would dispel all
confusion.
There has been, indeed, mischief-making in the media in relation to
the SF position on water charges. The papers were so intent on the
mischief that they failed to ask the really pertinent questions.
The fact that SF has and is proposing the abolition of water charges
in Dail motions is praiseworthy and should be supported. There is
no incompatability between that fact and the questions posed here
in view of the large Dil majority in favour of water charges. I fully
support the SF Dil motion for abolition, but I know that
FG+FF+Lab=100 deputies out of 158 will either prevent it being
discussed or vote it down.
Letter to Irish Independent from Gerry Adams,
Sinn Fin President, Sat 09/04/2016
Before reading the letter from Gerry Adams hereunder, consider the
following:
The policy re-iterated in the letter is that put forward by Sinn Fin in
the General Election. Since then 101 FG+FF+Lab TDs out of 158
have been elected to the Dail. Several other deputies are also in
favour of water charges. There are approximately 118 deputies
opposed to the abolition of water charges and 40 in favour of
abolition.
FF favours suspension of water charges for 5 years but is opposed
to abolition. Even if this suspension occurred the charges would still
be on the statute book and could be revived by government at any
time. It is at least possible that the FF position on water charges is
merely designed to facilitate FF entry into government. Having
entered government it is probable that FF would buckle to EU legal
threats and use these threats to renege on the suspension and
continue the charges .
The independent commission proposed by Sinn Fin is an
Oireachtas Commission which would report back to Government in
9 months. This means that the membership and terms of reference
of the commission would be set by the 100+ deputies who are
opposed to abolition of water charges.
The questions that arise from the Gerry Adams and Eoin OBroin
(further down) material on this matter in media are:
Why did experienced SF politicians not reply to reporters questions
on the terms of reference of the Commission in the following
manner Water Charges would have been already abolished, so the
question of their continuation would not arise ?
Why, instead of the above, the concentration on the protection
which terms of reference would give? After the election, it is now
clear that these terms of reference would be set by the large Dil
majority supporting the continuation of water charges?
Why does SF not suspend the proposal for an Oireachtas
Commission until there is a Dil majority for abolition?
Are the 4 steps in the Gerry Adams letter, which were fine during
the election campaign, now merely for use as a negotiating
document with other parties?
Letter to Irish Independent from Gerry Adams,
Sinn Fin President, Sat 09/04/2016
The Irish Independent claimed that Sinn Fins position in relation to
water charges is in tatters(April 6). This is not true. Sinn Fin has
consistently said that we would establish an independent
commission to examine the most appropriate model of public utility
to replace the flawed Irish Water model. Its not that hard to
understand. All commissions are given terms of reference. They
couldnt function other wise.
Allow me to set out the Sinn Fin position in clear terms for your
readers. There are four steps in the Sinn Fin position:
_ Abolish Water Charges to take place with immediate effect.
_ Abolish Irish Water-to be concluded within one year
_ Establish an independent commission on water services to examine
the most appropriate model of public utility to replace the flawed
Irish Water model -to report back within nine months
(An Phoblacht March 19,2016 We said we would establish an
independent Commission on Water Services to examine the most
appropriate public ownership model to replace Irish Water which
would report back to Government within nine months.)

Hold a referendum to enshrine the ownership of Irelands water as a


human resource in the Constitution
This is the position as presented to the people in the General
election. And is clearly set out in our policy document Water
Charges-A tax too far. There has been no change in this position
whatever.
What there has been is a certain amount of mischief making by
elements of the media
Sinn Fin has also committed to investing an additional 900m Euro
in water infrastructure over 5 years
Gerry Adams
Sinn Fin President

PUTTING FG IN GOVERNMENT MEANS WATER

CHARGES WILL CONTINUE


But Threat of New Election by FG is
Pure Bluff
FG threats to hold a new election rather than abolish or suspend
water charges is pure bluff.
If FG faced SF and the principled left calling for abolition and FF
calling for suspension in a general election, FG would not prevail .
What would the Labour Party do?
Irish Independent March 27 is reporting that the FG attempt to
assemble 15 others to support Kenny for Taoiseach is faltering

From Irish Independent March 26


Fine Gael sources directly involved in the
negotiations told the Irish
Independent if Fianna Fil demands the
abolition(really suspension-PH)
of charges then were heading into another
election.
Water charges are staying and Irish Water is
staying. That is not up for negotiation, said one
FG party source.
The view in the parliamentary party is so
robust on this from all sides and the party
leadership know that. Middle Ireland is with us
on this one.
The majority of Independent TDs who met with
Fine Gael this week have not listed water
charges on the agenda of items they want
urgently addressed.

Welcome Initiative By Right2Water


Unions and Community Pillar
Bill To abolish Water Charges to be proposed in Dil

full report below


While the lobbying of TDs to support the abolition Bill is progressing
we should be preparing a new national day of protest to back the
Bill possibly on the Saturday before it is to be debated. An attempt
may be made by FF-Fg-Lab to prevent the bill being debated. This
could be successful. The national day of action could be focused on
this if necessary.
By the way, to correct misleading comments on Facebook
Seamus Healy fully supported the Sinn Fein call to put
motion for abolition of water charges on the agenda for
today, March 22 when Dail first met. We voted with SF and
AAA-PBP against the Kenny proposal which excluded it. Seamus
Healy also voted for both Gerry Adams and Richard Boyd-Barret for
Taoiseach as both were signatories of Right2Change principles
The above is posted to correct misleading comments
UNIONS & COMMUNITY PILLAR MEET Monday March 22
Together we can get there
Today in Unite non political activists assembled from counties Louth,
Donegal, Carlow. Roscommon, Cork, Limerick, Kerry, Meath,
Wicklow, Kildare and of course Dublin. Once again people giving of
their own time and expenses with nothing in mind but to advance a
peoples cause.
The meeting decided that the Right2Water Unions would now draft
legislation to abolish Irish Water and charges and, also, to enshrine
public ownership of our water and sanitation in our Constitution.
The Unions will publish this legislation and then approach every TD
who sought election in opposition to charges and/or Irish Water. We
will look for the legislation to be supported not by party interests,
but by TDs voting in alphabetical order regardless of party. People
before party in opposition to these water charges was the
consensus!!!
It was also unanimously felt that the focus now needs to be on our
elected representatives working together and deliver abolition. They
have all benefited from the water campaign to get themselves
elected. It is now time to deliver. Lobbying and peaceful protesting
will be the order of the day until they do.
For the coming weeks this is where the focus will be.
The Unions and the communities have now begun debate and
discussion on how a peoples movement can arrive and formalise in
the mid to long term to CHANGE the face of Irish politics forever.
This dialogue will now intensify in coming months.
Once again, together we can do this.
-

Clarification???: Eoin O Broin(SF)


TD has now supplied an article in
An Phoblacht, March 19
http://www.anphoblacht.com/conte
nts/25839
It contains no clarification or explanation of his remarks in an
interview in Irish Times carried below.

Sinn Fin cant say who would sit


on water commission-Irish
Independent
Irish Independent Published 19/03/2016 | 02:30 Mark
Condren
Sinn Fin cannot say who would sit on a commission it wants to set
up to decide the fate of Irish Water.
The party has backed away from its pre-election promise to
immediately set about abolishing the utility and now wants to set up
a committee to assess how to maintain the water network.If that
group was to recommend the retention of Irish Water, then Sinn
Fin would abide by that.
Our position is we would have a commission on Irish Water. The
idea of the commission would be to come up with a utility that could
deliver a proper water service.
Wed be talking about investing 900m extra into the water
services, said newly elected TD for Limerick Maurice Quinlivan.
However, when asked by the Irish Independent who would sit on the
commission, Mr Quinlivan replied: Youre talking hypothetical about
a commission.

Independent Commission on WaterServices set up by Dil


Majority????
What on Earth is SF doing on water Charges? SF must clarify
this urgently
It is clear from the responses by Eoin Broin (SF) TD below that
the Commission is to report back in NINE MONTHS TIME BEFORE
THE ABOLITION OF WATER CHARGES!!!
The Commission is to be set up by the Dil which means its
composition and terms of reference would be determined by FF, FG
and Labour.
Policy Point on SinnFein Website
Establish an independent Commission on Water Services to
examine the most appropriate public ownership model to
report back to Government within NINE MONTHS
Eoin OBroiN SF TD-Irish Times
Thats why actually we think the best thing to do is to form that
independent commission on water services to design the best
possible model of public ownership. On whether Sinn
Fins commission could recommend the retention of the existing
system, Mr Broin said: I would be very surprised if any body of
experts came back saying Irish Water is the best possible model. I
dont think that scenario is likely but I think that if you set up an
independent commission and you ask it to look at the best model of
public ownership then I do think there is a responsibility to accept
its recommendations when it does come back.

Dil Report-Keeping Water Charges Off the Dil AgendaFF,


FG, Labour,GP(1) and some independents voted in Dail for an Order
of Business which EXCLUDES ABOLITION OF WATER CHARGES as
an item from Dail Agenda when House resumes on March 22
T 100 Nl 32
T : FF, FG, Lab, Gp(1) Mattie Mcgrath, Sean Canney, Michael
Fitzmaurice, Denis Naughten, Maureen O SullivanNl; SF 23,
Seamus Healy, Ruth Coppinger, and 7 other left independentsIt was
clear that the Taoiseach FG, FF And Lab were determined to keep
water charges off the agenda. There was a TWO HOUR debate
Nobody could have been under any illusion about what was at
stake.
The Taoiseach had the right under standing orders to agree to a
Sinn Fin amemndment to the order of business to allow the SF
motion on Water Charges be included on order paper but he
explicitly refused.
When SF sought to amend the Taoiseachs proposal to have the
water charges included, the Ceann Comhairle ruled the amendment
out of order.
It was clear that the only way to have the charges included was to
vote against the motion and to send it back to the Taoiseach for
amendment
That is why all the left TDs and Sinn Fin voted against the
Taoiseachs motion.Just look at the independents who voted for
Kennys motion!

Victory Possible for Right2Water,


But Dont Take it for Granted!Let us
redouble our Efforts.Explain to
those Paying that they may not get
their money back following
abolition or suspension of
Charges
March 2

Cabinet blocks Irish Water


complaints
probe by Ombudsman
Caroline ODoherty
The Ombudsman has questioned
why the Government declined to
allow his office investigate
complaints against Irish Water and
says the move has left the utilitys
customers without any independent
grievance mechanism.
Ombudsman Peter Tyndall, who examines complaints about public
bodies, claims Irish Water was needlessly removed from his remit
when the company took over water supply and sewerage services
from local councils over which he does have jurisdiction.
He says the excuse that Irish Water is a now standalone company
does not wash with him, as ombudsmen in other countries have
retained powers to investigate water services, even when the
ownership or management structure changed.
And he says the decision is particularly hard to stand over
considering that Irish Water remains on the States books.

Mr Tyndall says the Commission for Energy Regulation, which has


regulatory control over Irish Water, cannot properly investigate the
company.
People who had complaints about Irish Water, just at the point
when complaints were starting to grow, had nowhere to go, he
said.
They can go to the regulator but best practice is that complaints
should sit with an independent body, not with the regulator, because
some of the things that people are complaining about are what the
regulator is telling Irish Water to do.
So the notion of it being independent just doesnt work.

Burton astonished at unions in


anti-water-charge brigade
Irish Independent PUBLISHED30/10/2015
Tnaiste Joan Burton has lashed out at trade unions who she says
dont consider upgrading the countrys water system to be a priority.
The Labour Party leader said she finds it astonishing that some
unions are part of the anti-water charge movement, given the scale
of problems.
Its very odd to have elements of the trade union movement, who
appear to be reluctant to accept the idea that water, while
absolutely a right, actually has to be funded and paid for, Ms
Burton said.
She was responding to questions about the new Right2Change
voting pact, which has the backing of six trade unions including
Unite, Mandate, the Communications Workers Union and the
Technical Engineering and Electrical Union.
Last night, the newly formed Social Democrats declined to join the
movement, which wants left-wing parties and independent election
candidates to agree on a vote-transfer pact.
Right2Change has set out a number of policy principles around
health, housing, jobs and the abolition of water charges.
Sinn Fin has already signed up but many other left-wing politicians
have said that while they back the idea they will not be asking their
voters to transfer to Gerry Adamss party.
In a letter to the leaders of Right2Change, the Social Democrats
said that while they commend the group for a proposal built on
sound principles, they wanted to remain independent heading into
their first General Election.
While we wholly support the principles of Equality, Democracy and
Justice which underline the document, we do have a concern that
the substance of the entire document amounts to a manifesto.
Given that we intend to produce our own manifesto, it would not
be appropriate for us to sign up to that of another group, they said.
Asked if the Labour Party would miss the support of the union
movement, Ms Burton said the party still had an enormous amount
of support in the trade unions but some unions had made a
political choice.
She said that the six unions needed to realise that water services
were in need of repair.
We need to do it. We have to do it for ourselves, we have to do it
for industry, agriculture and for tourism, she said.
Weve had occasions when Dublin has pretty much run out of
water.
Weve had part of the country where weve had boil water notices
and weve had more than 40 spots around the country where we
are dumping waste and effluent into rivers, lakes and beaches.
She added: Im a bit astonished really that trade unions wouldnt
consider addressing those issues to be a priority.
The Tnaiste said she understood why some politicians were not
backing the Right2Change voting pact, adding that she was not
surprised that certain groups and parties would not wish to embrace
Sinn Fin.

DEFEND THE JOBSTOWN 27 March Tomorrow Sept 19


Jobstown Not Guilty has called for a major protest TOMORROW
Saturday at 1pm at Central Bank. It will march from there to the
CCJ.

After Hugely Successful Right2Water Major


National Demonstration, LET US BUILD ON
THIS SUCCESS!!!
AFTER TEEU Affiliates to RIGHT2Water, Press YOUR Union to
Affiliate!
Motion 41 Passed at ICTU Biennial Delegate Conference
2015 by a Huge Majority
That the Waterford Council of Trade Unions calls on Conference to
reject imposition of water charges on the Irish people and call for a
Constitutional Amendment that ensures water remains in the
ownership of the Irish people.
Waterford Council of Trade Unions
Proposer : Waterford Council of Trade Unions
TEEU, Irelands largest craft union (40,000 members) has now
affiliated to Right2Water
It joins UNITE, CPSU, CWU, OPATSI and MANDATE in support of the
abolition of water charges.
SIPTU and IMPACT are increasingly isolated.
ICTU BDC has now passed a motion calling on government to
abolish water charges.
Is it not time that all unions affiliated to Right2Water?
Please put up motions to your executives calling on them to affiliate
without delay. Quote the motion passed at ICTU. I will circulate this
shortly.
TUI, ASTI, INTO,IFUT, INMO, PSEU, AHCPS, UCATT should all
affiliate now!!!!
Members of Siptu and IMPACT should organise to change their
unions policy

Seamus Healy TD Welcomes TEEU Support for Right2Water


Busses from Clonmel and Carrick-On-Suir will be going to the
protest march in Dublin on Saturday Next
Telephone WUA Office 052-6121883 for booking and further
Information
I welcome the huge boost given to the campaign to abolish water
charges by the decision of
TEEU Trade Union, Irelands giant craft union, 40,000 strong, to
affiliate to Right2Water
Let us now give the campaign another big boost by joining the
protest march on Saturday next in Dublin
Seamus Healy TD 087-2802199
Water Charges And Taxation-Right2Water Should Change the
Formulation to Avoid Confusion and Misrepresentation
The statement Water Services should be funded by progressive
general taxation is technically correct. But it is open to be
misrepresented as an attempt to place the burden on the middle
class. This is being done currently by Leo Veradkar. It will be
trumpeted in every constituency in the general election. In Ireland
all those living in private rather than local authority estates and/or
have white-collar occupations are regarded (wrongly) as middle
class. They are a very numerous cohort and the fight for their
political support is very important to the left. Already many people
from this background support left-wing TDs and councillors. (As a
lifelong trade union rep of teachers and public servants, I am
particularly conscious of this)
The problem with Water Services should be funded by progressive
general taxation is that it does not express the gross inequity in
the distribution of wealth and in the incidence of taxation in Ireland.
I try to deal with this in my blog,
Irish Super-Rich Awash With Money http://wp.me/pKzXa-n4
Instead I think the formulation in documents and speeches should
be Water Services Should be Funded by taxing the incomes and
assets of the super-rich
The formulation Water Services should be funded by progressive
general taxation should be dropped.
When canvassing doors, I often ask What do you think is the
annual income of each of the top 10,000 Irish people
I commonly get the reply: About 200,000 euro like all the
ministers
The reality is 595,000 Euro (over half a million and there are almost
no public servants or Ministers in it-all private sector). Public
perception is distorted by biased media coverage.
I recommend the following reply to Presenters Question: So you
intend to load the cost of upgrading Irish water on the middle
classes
Answer: No, we wish to prevent extra taxation being imposed on
those on low and middle incomes. No Water charges, no Home Tax
We will directly tax the super rich. The top 10,000 Iris People have
incomes of 595,00 per year each, a total of 5.95 billion. Net
Financial assets-investments and bank deposits of the very rich
Irish have gone up by 90 billion since the crash. There is plenty
surplus money there to fund investment in water servicesPaddy
UPDATE:SUPER-RICH IRISH AWASH WITH MONEY!-UPDATE
Aug 19,2015 Read Full Blog http://wp.me/pKzXa-n4

Brian Gould(Cork) Arrested Yet Again For Resisting Water-


Metering. Good on you Brian!
Weve told residents that if they want help, were more than willing
to give it to them. We wont do it for them though.
Were willing to stand with them, not stand for them. They
themselves have to be willing to take a stand.-Brian Gould
Water charges protester defiant at third arrest

Irish Examiner Wednesday, August 19, 2015


by Joe Leogue
A water charges protester arrested three times since last Friday has
vowed to continue his resistance to the installation of water meters.
Brian Gould, aged 64, was yesterday arrested at a protest at the
Ard Cashel estate in Watergrasshill, Co Cork having been detained
on Monday at a demonstration in the same residential area.
Mr Gould was also arrested at a protest in Brooklodge in nearby
Glanmire last Friday.
Mr Gould appeared in Mallow District Court yesterday and was
released on bail.
He said afterwards that, as part of his bail conditions, he had been
ordered not to attend any further water meter installations in
Watergrasshill.
Mr Gould said that he was yesterday arrested for grabbing
equipment from an Irish Water worker, but said that it was an
instinctive reaction after the material was passed over his head
from behind.
His arrest on Monday, Mr Gould said, came after he stepped on a
stopcock.
He also confirmed that he is not a resident of either the Ard Cashel
or Brooklodge estates.
Over the last six or seven months weve been going to various
estates in Cork City and county to park meetings, said Mr Gould.
Weve been giving information and leaflets to residents on the
water charges, meters and smart meters.
Weve told residents that if they want help, were more than willing
to give it to them. We wont do it for them though.
Were willing to stand with them, not stand for them. They
themselves have to be willing to take a stand.
Mr Gould said that, as a result of his involvement, he gets calls from
residents who are seeking help in speaking with garda and Irish
Water workers.
I have gained experience in dealing with the garda and Irish Water
that people dont have, he said.
Last week, a spokesperson said Irish Water would resume works in
estates where workers had been refused access by residents.
This work will be rescheduled in due course to enable works to be
carried out in a safe manner, the spokesperson said. Meter
installations are continuing in the south-west region. To date in
excess of 735,000 meters have been installed nationwide and over
90,000 in the south-west region.
Coleman Sheehy, brother of FG donor, was
appointed to the Irish Water Board in
November 2013.The part-time position
carries an annual salary of 15,000 Euro. Mr.
Sheehy is involved in property investment
and development and commenced
employment with Sherry Fitzgerald Estate
Agents. What qualifications has he to run a
water company. How was he selected?
Water bills could rise by 50pc and 100 grant facing axe as
EU report hits home-Irish Independent
Irish independent Paul Melia
PUBLISHED01/08/2015 | 02:30
Water bills could rise by as much as 50pc if the Coalition insists on
keeping Irish Waters loans off the national balance sheet.
The 100 water conservation grant and the pricing cap are also in
the firing line, if the Coalition wants the company to pass Eurostats
market corporation test.
This would result in 70pc of customers, or almost 950,000
households, being hit with a higher charge as they would have been
expected to pay no more than the maximum bill of 260 per year.
Scrapping the 100 grant to every householder who registers with
Irish Water will also result in higher charges.
European agency Eurostat earlier this week ruled Irish Water did not
pass a crucial test because more than 50pc of revenues came from
Government.
It also found the so-called water conservation grant should be
treated as a payment to Irish Water, as it was clearly designed to
offset bills.
Failure to pass the market corporation test means that Irish Waters
borrowings will be added to the national debt.
The Government has committed to not changing the charging
structure, including the cap, until at least 2019.
Subsidies
It has also said the 100 grant will be paid annually, but the
Eurostat decision means that some subsidies will have to be
withdrawn for Irish Water to qualify as a standalone entity.
ESRI economist Dr Edgar Morgenroth said that the minimum the
Government needed to do was scrap the 100 grant.
Its hard to argue the 100 water conservation grant is anything
other than a rebate to Irish Water. To meet the Eurostat criteria I
expect that at the minimum the government would have to get rid
of the untargeted 100 subsidy.
The true cost of providing water and wastewater is probably 500
to 600. We now have (a charge of) 260, less the 100, and were
not even close to 50pc.
New data published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) also
shows how the Government is heavily subsidising the cost of
treating water.
It says that households are currently being charged 3.70 per 1,000
litres of drinking water and wastewater, but that the real cost is
5.42.
The prices are being kept low because the Government not only
subsidises household bills, but also pays another 1.72 per 1,000
litres to cover the cost of child allowances and the cap.
Removing these subsidies would add around 46pc to bills.
The CSO, Irish Water, Eurostat and the Government have all refused
to release redacted figures in the Eurostat ruling, arguing they are
commercially sensitive.
But data released by the CSO shows the extent Irish Water relies on
the State.
The Government will this year provide Irish Water with 400m to
offset treatment costs and keep charges low. This will increase to
479m next year.
Some 60m is being provided from taxation to pay for the free
allowance of 21,000 litres per child. Another 129m is being paid to
keep the maximum charge at 260 per two-adult household and
160 for a one-adult home.
A product subsidy of 211m is paid to offset treatment costs.
These subsidies exclude the water grant, which costs 130m.
Dr Morgenroth said if 51pc of total funding had to come from direct
charges to customers, it gave the Government very little room for
manoeuvre.
Prices are not set in relation to costs at all, theyre set politically. It
cant be like that if you want a market operation firm, he said,
adding that payment rates would have to improve.
Irish Independent
Seamus Healy TD
TRIP TO TIPP PT 2 NATIONAL PROTEST AGAINST WATER
CHARGES
Nenagh, Saturday August 8
Step up the Campaign Against Water Charges By Protesting in
Nenagh on August 8
Nenagh is the home town of Minister Alan Kelly
Assembling at Nenagh Railway Station@2pm
Free parking on Saturdays in Nenagh
Coaches can park at the railway station
Government and Minister Kelly Must Withdraw the Charges
NOW!
57% Refuse to Pay Water Charges!
Statement By Seamus Healy TD 087-4183732
Well over half of those billed have not paid the water charge. This
shows that the majority of the Irish people are opposed to these
charges and the Government and Minister Kelly should now
withdraw the charges. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the
biggest civil society organisation in Ireland, has voted
overwhelmingly against the imposition of these charges.
Irish people already pay for water through general taxation
including VAT. The majority are refusing to pay a second time.
The Fine Gael/Labour Government gave 80 million Euro in tax relief
in the last budget to over 100,000 people who earn 180,000Euro
per year each. But it is persisting with a charge that amounts to
double taxation of households including very poor households.
The widespread refusal to pay the first water bill should encourage
many more to refuse to pay the second bill.
As no penalties take effect before the next general election, people
can continue to refuse to pay and can vote out the present
government and elect candidates committed to abolishing the
charges in the election.
I will continue to refuse to pay
The mass refusal to pay is a huge boost to the Anti-Water Charges
Campaign which will be holding a mass march in Dublin on August
29.
Let us keep up the pressure!
Seamus Healy TD 087-2802199
IMPACT/SIPTU Austerity Collaborators Fail To UNDERMINE
ANTI-WATER CHARGES MOTION AT ICTU BDC
A motion to oppose water charges unconditionally was passed at the
ICTU Biennial Delegate Congress after an amendment from IMPACT
And SIPTU which agreed the principle of charging domestic
households for water was defeated by 9 votes.
Well done to outgoing President of ICTU and Mandate General
Secretary, John Douglas
Well done to Waterford Trades Council who proposed the motion
Well Done to the 5 Right to Water Unions-MANDATE,UNITE, CPSU,
CWU, OPATSI
Well done to Northern Unions who were aware.
SIPTU and IMPACT are well aware that once water becomes a
saleable commodity inder EU law, it is only a matter of time until
the charges increase and the service is privatised.
This is what happened with the bin service.

-
Abolition of Water Charges Must be a Red Line Issue for
Participation in Government!
Submission to Right 2 Water Unions by Workers and
Unemployed Action Including Pledge to Be Signed by General
Election Candidates to be Endorsed by Right2Water Unions
WUA Submission
Workers and Unemployed Action is a nationally registered political
party. Seamus Healy TD will be contesting the next General
Election on behalf of WUA.
A small extract from our constitution and rules encapsulates the
political position of the party:
1. With James Connolly, Workers and Unemployed Action is
committed to achieving Irish Unity, Independence and Socialism. It
is opposed to any intrusion on the sovereignty of the Irish people.
2 WUA supports and defends Irish military neutrality
3 WUA supports the struggles of workers, unemployed and oppressed
people all over the world.
4 It is dedicated to advancing the political reorganisation of the
working class on an All-Ireland basis in a united all-Ireland party of
workers.
5 It is opposed to coalition or collaboration with conservative parties
in Government or other public authorities as a matter of principle.
(This means that WUA will not be participating in a coalition
government with FF, FG, Renua)
Full constitution and rules can be viewed on our website and by
clicking here
https://wuag.wordpress.com/about/constitution-and-rules/
WATER CHARGES
WUA is strongly in favour of the abolition of domestic charges and
the recognition of access to free domestic water as a human right.
We participated in the previous campaign which succeeded in
abolishing water charges and also in campaigns against bin taxes
and local property tax.
We therefore welcome the initiative of the Right2Water unions in
attempting to use the next election as one means of bringing about
abolition of the charges.
Campaigns for non-payment by those in a position not to pay and
mass protests against government policy and the installation of
water meters in residential areas must continue in parallel with this
electoral initiative.
We have no difficulty endorsing the content of the 5-union policy
document though WUA has strongly held additional political
positions and principles.
In addition to WUA, there will be several political parties and
individuals including individual Dail deputies and senators,
committing themselves to abolition of domestic water charges in the
general election.
Inevitably these will have differences on fundamental issues
including participation or non-participation in government with other
parties.
But we think it important that all candidates endorsed by
Right2Water regard abolition of domestic water charges as a red
line issue for participation in government or remaining in
government. Otherwise, should candidates endorsed by
Right2Water fail to win an overall majority in the General Election,
the elected deputies would have no further obligation to
campaigners against the charges. They could participate in or
support a government which continued the charges WITHOUT
BREAKING THE PLEDGE if there are not additions to the current 5-
union document ON WATER CHARGES. This would be grossly
unfair to activists who campaigned for such candidates or
who recommended votes for them.
Irish Water PLC and domestic water charges will be
abolished within the first 100 days of a Government
endorsing this policy.-Right2Water Unions Document
WUA endorses this pledge.
However, since the fundamental duty of a Right2Water campaign is
to ensure, as far as possible, the abolition of the charges we think
that the following should be added to the above:
Suggested Water Charges Pledge to Be Presented for
Signature to Candidates in the coming General Election who
seek endorsement by Right2Water Campaign
I am unconditionally in favour of the abolition of domestic Water
Charges and I will vote for such abolition in Dil Eireann at the first
opportunity.
I shall not participate in or support the formation of any
government which is not formally committed in its programme for
government to the abolition of domestic water charges within 100
days of taking office.
I shall not remain in or continue to support any government which
fails to fully abolish domestic water charges within 100 days of
taking office.
In signing this pledge I am fully aware that the current FG-Lab
government has surrendered the Irish Exemption from The EU
Water Framework Directive (article 9.4) which legally absolved
Ireland and Ireland alone from the requirement to charge for
domestic water.
Conclusion
UNITY TO REMOVE WATER CHARGES!
It is important that opportunist candidates be prevented from
climbing on an anti-water charges band wagon in order to gain
election only to betray later. The enhanced pledge above minimises
the chances of this occurrence and maximises the chances that
water charges will be abolished. WUA strongly recommends the
enhanced pledge above.

Mass Peaceful Street protest during


Labour Party Conference
Support Killarney Right2Water Feb 28!!!!
KillarneyToday.com Exclusive
A MAJOR national protest is being planned for the streets of
Killarney to coincide with the staging of the annual conference of
the Labour Party in the town later this month, KillarneyToday.com
can reveal.
The protest rally, to voice opposition to water charges and the
austerity regime, is being organised for Saturday, February 28 by
Killarney Right2Water campaigners and it is likely to attract at least
several hundred people from all parts of the country.
The Labour conference, which will be attended by several cabinet
ministers and party leader Joan Burton, will be held in the INEC
from February 27 to March 1.
Dec 1
IMPACT TRADE UNION FORBIDS BRANCHES FROM
CAMPAIGNING AGAINST WATER CHARGES
Letter From Shay Coady, General Secretary
You will be aware that this matter was debated at the IMPACT
Conference in May. Motions calling for the abolition of water charges
or supporting a campaign of opposition to water charges were not
endorsed by Conference. The policy position adopted at Conference
is the following motion;
This Conference calls on IMPACT to support a Trade Union national
campaign of opposition to the introduction of water charges for
households unless the Government commits to retaining the service
in public ownership.
The Action on Motions adopted by the CEC and circulated to all
branches noted that the Water Services No. 2 Act 2013 provides
that Irish Water and its assets will remain in State ownership. The
Act prohibits Irish Waters board, the Minister for the Environment
or the Minister for Finance from selling their company shares. You
will be are that the Minister recently announced further protections
relating to the requirement for a plebiscite if this were to change.
This will require legislation.
In these circumstances IMPACT is not participating in or supporting
the December demonstration and it would be contrary to policy as
determined by Conference for any IMPACT Branch to sign up to
this campaign. You are aware that, under rule, the conference is the
governing body of the union. Furthermore, under rule, branches are
subject to the overriding authority of the CEC.
IMPACT was involved in the negotiation of the service level
agreements between Irish Water and local authorities. We represent
the local authority staff who now deliver that service to Irish Water.
Thes e workers continue to be employed under the same local
authority terms and conditions. We are also organising members in
Irish Water and we have secured a recognition agreement for
IMPACT from the company. I am copying this correspondence to the
IMPACT Officials involved in the water sector as well as the
President.
Shay
Nov 30
Clonmel March bigger than ever to-day
Over 2000 marched
Two Clonmel Busses now filled for Dec 10 to Dublin

Clonmel March against Water Charges Today even Bigger!


Well Over 2000 Marched
Technical Engineering and Electrical Union
representing 40,000 Irish craft workers have called
for the abolition of Water Charges at their national
Conference
TEEU now joins MANDATE, UNITE, CWU, CPSU, OPATSI in
campaigning for abolition.
But SIPTU still supports the principal of charging
households for water. This makes water a tradeable
commodity rather than a public service. Refundable tax
credits do not change this.
David Begg, General secretary of ICTU said on Saturday
that the government package was acceptable
ICTU had supported water charges in its pre-budget
submission.
We must assume that UNIONS we have not heard from
support the ICTU position. These include TUI, IMPACT,
INTO, ASTI, PSEU, AHCS, IFUT, etc
Activist must step up the pessure in these unions for the
abolition of water charges
Meanwhile, members of the Technical Engineering and
Electrical Union (TEEU) have called on the Government to
abolish planned water charges with immediate effect.
Delegates at the unions biennial conference in Kilkenny
backed calls for it to campaign in support of the abolition
of the plan.-(Irish Times)
Nov 20
Households May Pay More-Labour Minister
Labour Party Minister White Admits Households May have
to pay more for water even before the General Election
There is a risk, he said on RTE, that the EU may find that
the arrangements may not meet the EU requirements to
allow Irish Water to borrow off balance sheet (50% of
funding of the company coming from charges to
households and businesses)
The reason for this is that the 100 Euro allowance may be
regarded as illegal state aid to Irish Water.
The reason the 100 Euro is being paid to all households
including those with private pumps who are not
customers of Irish Water is in order to pretend that the
100 Euro it is not a form of state aid to the Company,
Irish Water!
Mr White said the Government has no plan B.
The government is committed to retaining Irish Water as a
company trading in water. Minister Kelly says that it was
not a mistake to set up Irish Water.
THE ONLY SOLUTIONS OPEN TO GOVERNMENT IN
THAT CONTEXT ARE:
1 Abolish or seriously reduce the 100 Euro allowance
2 Increase the charges
3 A bit of both
In either case, this means that people will pay
more!
THE ONLY SOLUTION FOR HOUSEHOLDS IS THE
ABOLITION OF WATER CHARGES
Update Nov 17
Government to introduce loss leader to lure people into
paying. After the general election the charges will rise. A
cap on charges can be removed by next government by
a simple majority. Allowances can be frozen or reduced.
Once water becomes a commodity through charging
households its treatment under EU law changes
fundamentally. Movement to full cost recovery is
inevitable over time.
Joan Burton took 1008 Euro per year in child benefit from
a household with 4 children including households of the
unemployed. She cut rent allowances and fuel allowances.
Now she is about to impose a water charge which will
inevitably rise.
Update Nov 14
Will SIPTU Jack OConnor Allow Government Take
Water Charges From Workers Pay?
The government may now move to have water charges
deducted from pay,pensions and social welfare.
SIPTU could stop this as the Labour Party is now almost
completely dependent on SIPTU for its very survival.
UNITE THE UNION has already dissafiliated from the
Labour Party but SIPTU remains part of the Labour Party.
SIPTU members should call on Jack OConnor to issue a
statement saying that such a move will not be tolerated.
DISCUSSION
ICTU Accepted The Principle of Charging for Water
in Budget Submission
http://www.ictu.ie/press/2014/07/17/congress-pre-
budget-submission/
Congresss proposals on water charges represent a
compromise position between the need to raise additional
government revenue and the need to protect low and
middle income households-
If water charges are to be introduced, the already
announced free allowance will have to be supplemented
by a system of water credits or cash transfers for lower
and middle income earnersIf
Congresss proposals come into conflict with EU state aid
rules , then it is Congresss position that Irish Water
should exist as a public authority
John Douglas(Mandate), Current President of ICTU and
Jimmy Kelly(UNITE) are leaders of the campaign to
abolish water charges and CWU, OPATSI, CPSU are
supporting the demonstrations. Other members of the
General Purposes Committee of ICTU are Shay Cody
(IMPACT ), Sheila Nunan (INTO), Patricia King (SIPTU),
Joe OFlynn (SIPTU), Jack O Connor (SIPTU)
Almost all general secretaries of trade unions are on the
Executive Council of ICTU
The statement: -If Congresss proposals come into
conflict with EU state aid rules , then it is Congresss
position that Irish Water should exist as a public
authority is merely a washing of hands or tail covering
exercise. ICTU and SIPTU have substantial research
departments.
WATER MUST BE RESTORED AS A PUBLIC GOOD NOT
A COMMODITY! REPEAL THE WATER SERVICES ACT
EU Illegal State aid rules Will Ensure that Water
Charges Will rise once introduced
Full Rebate to all households to pay for all
necessary water in the Form of a Refundable tax
credit
will be excluded- SIPTU Jack OConnor knows this.
ONLY SOLUTION IS TO REPEAL The Water Services
ACT and restore water as a public good not a
commodity
Tax the Super-Rich for Extra Investment- See
Super-Rich Awash With Money on
paddyhealywordpress.com
Technically the money paid by households and businesses
must be more than 50% of supply and production costs in
order for Irish Water to be allowed by the EU to borrow off
balance sheet. Borrowing off balance sheet simply means
that households and businesses will pay the interest on
borrowings and repay the capital in water charges over
time.
Dr Tom McDonnell (NERI) has said: At the moment it
appears that the funding model for 2015 is 533 million
from the Local Government Fund, 305 million from
domestic water charges and 230 million from non-
domestic (mainly commercial) water charges This means
that technically the government must collect 305 million
Euro from households next year.
Following the huge countrywide protests and the political
damage to FG and Lab, government is now now asking
the EU to allow them to charge less than the 305 million
until after the General Election. On behalf of the state
they will make committments which bind the next
government to allow charges to rise until the 50% figure
is exceeded . Ultimately, the intention is to recover all
costs from households and businesses.
The key step required to make water a commodity rather
than a public good under EU law is to begin charging
households for it even if the initial cost is low for a
temporary period and there are significant allowances and
tax credits.
Unless the attempt to introduce charges on
households is defeated now, the charges will rise
over time to a level comparable with electricity bills.
The charges will, of course, be in addition to the money
we are already paying in direct and indirect taxes for
water as the government subvention to Irish water will be
either frozen or reduced over time as the charges rise.
The net effect of the entire operation is to switch taxation
from the super-rich to those on low and middle incomes.
Already the poorest 10% pay a higher proportion of their
income in tax than the richest 10% when both direct and
indirect taxes(VAT etc) are taken into account. (See my
post on this blog: Poorest Pay Most Tax)
Governments wiggle-room on water
charges limited
ANALYSIS
Cliff Taylor Irish TIMES OCT 31
The Government has limited room for manoeuvre in cutting water
charges to consumers, if it wants to keep the costs of Irish Water
off the State balance sheet. This is the crux of the problem it faces
as it aims to defuse public anger at the charges.
Giving money back to consumers via tax relief and household
benefits packages may, however, be the way to lower the costs
while staying within the rules.
An analysis of the published information on what Irish Water will
spend and where it will raise its money shows it needs to raise
significant revenue from the public to stay within the rules. If it
does not do so, officials have calculated that more than 800 million
will be added to borrowing next year, cutting Irelands ability to
meet EU deficit targets.
Juggling the deficit
The whole structure of Irish Water was established so the bulk of
State funding would not be counted in the annual exchequer deficit,
as measured for EU purposes.
Thus, Irish Water has to be seen to raise a significant part of its
funding from sources other than the Government.
The rules for this are set down by the EU statistics agency Eurostat,
in what is called a market corporation test in other words, a test
of what Irish Waters finances need to look like to justify its
existence as an independent entity.
Three tests need to be met, relating to the amounts that Irish Water
raises in revenues from households, businesses and the
Government and the relationship between these numbers.
Two of these restrict the Governments wiggle room.
First, the amount of money raised from the public must clearly
exceed payments from Government coffers. Previous figures show
that revenue from households (just over 300 million in 2015) and
businesses (230 million) at 530 million exceeded total
Government support by about 100 million.
Doesnt add up
The second test is even tighter. It requires that the amount
collected from households and businesses must be equal to 50 per
cent of Irish Waters production costs, and should clearly exceed
this figure as soon as possible.
With production costs of just over 1 billion, this leaves very little
room to play with. Even if there was some adjustment to Irish
Waters costs, it is hard to see the figures adding up if less than
250 million is collected from households, and more in future years.
Giving money back via tax relief and household benefit packages
will help stay within the rules, while cutting the net costs to
households.
The cash will still come in to Irish Water from the public and can
thus be counted in its finances.
Widening the promised tax relief to households so that all
households benefit from 100 in tax relief, no matter what their bill
comes to together with a credit for those on welfare support is
one key step in the Governments plan to try to assuage public
anger.
Further moves to cap charges are also being considered, but these
will have to ensure that Irish Water still gets enough revenue.
Will It Cost The Government 930 Million Euro per year to
Abolish Water Charge as it Claims?
Read ML Taft Economist at UNITE THE UNION
http://notesonthefront.typepad.com/
The Government Should now Come Clean on Water
Charges
I admit I cant let this issue go but such is the misrepresentation, partial
information and deliberate obfuscation being put out in the debate that it
goes beyond a narrow calculation. It actually reveals a Government
determined to hide the facts in pursuit of a policy which caused over
150,000 to demonstrate last weekend.
Yes, Im talking about water charges but specifically about the estimated
impact on the deficit if water charges were removed. And now Dr. Tom
McDonnell over at the Nevin Economic Research Institute has done his own
sums and they mirror what I had previously calculated here.
The Government is claiming that removing the water charges would cost
800 million (this was run out again on Morning Ireland today). Is this
correct? No. Lets look at how the Government is obscuring the real
numbers and see if we can find the right ones. If this gets a little number-
dense please stay with it for it is about more than just abstract
calculations; it is about how the Government is treating this issue and the
public at large. All numbers are approximate and rounded. I have produced
a summary table below.
7 First, the total cost of water service provision is 1.3 billion (700 million in
current spending and 600 million in investment).
Second, the Government is committing 500 million from the Local
Government Fund to Irish Water. This is on the books; that is, this is
counted as government expenditure.
6 Third, this leaves a saving to the Government of 800 million.
So far, pretty clear. The Gvvernment's argument seems to stack up. But, no,
this is not the case. Because the Government is losing 250 million in
revenue. This is the amount collected through commercial water charges on
businesses This used to Government coffers. Now it belongs to Irish Water.

So the Government gains 800 million savings on the expenditure side but
loses 250 million on the revenue side. This leaves a saving of
approximately 550 million. This is pretty much the same number that Dr.
McDonnell arrives at: 527 million.
Ok, so we have sorted that out. The actual cost of removing water charges
would be 550 million yes? No, that's not it either. Because the
Government is spending money as part of the move to water charging
spending that wouldnt exist if there werent the charges. Dr. McDonnell
states that he doesnt factor these in. So lets do that. There are three
expenditures:
First, Social Protection is increasing subsidies to the Household Benefit
Package and recipients of the National Fuel Allowance scheme to offset the
cost of their water bills. This will cost 66 million.
Second, a water tax credit scheme is being introduced. This will cost 40
million.
Finally, the cost of providing free water allowanced for children is on the
books; that is, it is counted as government expenditure.
Social transfers in kind include such items as free travel on public
transport, fuel allowances and the child-based free allowance related to
water charges.
How much does this cost? The Government doesnt say. But we can
estimate. There were approximately 1,170,000 recipients of Child Benefit.
Each one of these children should be receiving a free water allowance of
21,000 litres per year. On the basis that this will cost 102 per child, this
brings the total cost to 119 million. But this is just an estimate so lets be
conservative and round it down to 100 million.
When we add up these costs Social Protection subsidies, tax relief and free
water allowances for children it comes to 200 million. This will cost the
Government.
When we subtract these expenditures from the 550 million net savings to
the Government from moving Irish Water off the books, the bottom-line
savings is between 300 and 350 million. Heres the summary table.

So the Government claims removing water charges will cost 800 million.
But when we factor in the lost revenue (commercial water charges) and
additional expenditure (Social Protection subsidies and tax cuts), the net
cost will less than half that: between 300 and 350 million.
Why is this so important? Because it shows that if water charges were
removed, the impact to the deficit would be miniscule (0.16 percent of
GDP). This would still leave the Government well below the deficit target.
The Government is refusing to listen to people not because it would
undermine their deficit target but because . . . well, you supply the answer.
The Government can claim its numbers are right but only if they ignore the
losses and additional expenditure. This is highly misleading. They do not
refer to net costs; they do not refer to the net impact on the deficit. This is
no way to debate public finances.
Of course, both Dr. McDonnells and my own calculations are just estimates.
There is one body that can bring complete clarity to this issue: the
Government. But they are refusing to answer simple questions in the Dail.
Therefore, the appropriate Oireachtas Committee should take up this issue
either the Public Accounts Committee or the Joint Committee on Finance,
Public Expenditure and Reform. It is up to legislators to protect the
integrity of the debate over public finances.
There is a simple rule in debate: when someone obfuscates, avoids direct
questions and resorts to throwing out numbers without reference to the
bottom line, you can be assured: they have something to hide.
No wonder 150,000 people were out marching last weekend. They oppose
water charges. And they, rightly, dont trust the Government on this issue.
Unrealistic Timelines: Water Charges and the Fiscal
Deficit
During a recent debate on water charges, Minister Alan Kelly had this to say
about Government policy:
I would go so far as to say that the timelines operating to date have been
somewhat unrealistic, squeezing many years of work into too fine a
condensed period of months.
To which a reasonable policy response would be abandon the current
timeline; in particular, the introduction of water charges. If the timelines
are unrealistic then, clearly, it is realistic to proceed with the charges.
However, an argument that has arisen in the last week is that if water
charges were abolished, suspended, postponed, put in cryogenic freeze,
whatever, it would have a negative impact on our deficit. This arises
because Irish Water is now off-the-books for the purposes of calculating
our deficit. This means that, unlike in the past, expenditure in water
services is not counted as government expenditure since more than 50
percent of its revenue comes from non-government services (i.e. household
and business charges). There is an exception to this which is discussed
below.
So how much would it cost the state to get rid of the charges? I have heard
claims that it would cost an extra 600 million, 800 million, 1 billion and
more. Would it?
FFs Micheal McGrath asked the Minister of Finance a pretty straight-forward
question:
To ask the Minister for Finance the deficit in nominal and percentage
terms which would exist in 2015 if domestic water charges were not
applied, and the costs associated with water provision if brought fully back
on to the State's books.
The Minister refused to answer the question or even offer an estimate. So
when you hear Ministers, backbench TDs and commentators going on about
how much it would cost the state to get rid of water charges, just
remember: the Minister for Finance refused to tell the Dail how much.
[Also, SFs Angus Snodaigh also asked the same Minister Kelly the amount
it will cost to provide water and sewerage services in 2015. Again, no
answer. What does it take to get a direct answer to a direct question?]
Given the official silence on this issue, I went in search for the answer. The
PwC report on water services published in late 2011 stated that the cost of
water services, which includes investment, was 1.1 billion in 2010. Lets
assume some growth in spending, though during this period it could have
easily been cut (Eurostat numbers show a steady reduction of expenditure
since 2010 but they have a different method of categorising water
expenditure so we cant be sure if were comparing like-with-like).
If the cost of providing water services in 2015 is 1.2 billion, and the 533
million is on-the-books, then the Government will benefit by 667 million.
Therefore, if there were no water charges, then the deficit would rise by
667 million.
However, the Minister also stated that 233 million in revenue from non-
domestic sources (does this refer to businesses?) counts as Government
revenue which wouldnt be the case with households. I cant say
conclusively how this impacts but if given that off-the-books revenue must
be at least 50 percent, and the Government has trimmed this to be as low
as possible, we could be looking at a saving of only 300 million for the
Government.
And the cost of the child-free water allowances will also count as
government expenditure. If the charges were abolished, so would this
expenditure.
Is this clear? No, but the Government has refused to answer straight-
forward questions. To complicate matters further the Government is
intending to spend 223 million in an equity investment in Irish Water. But
if we just freeze the situation, this 223 million wouldnt arise, so we
shouldnt allow this to be thrown into the pile.
So what have got? On a static basis:
7 If the savings to the Government were 667 million, then the deficit would
rise by 0.3 percent. The Government would still hit its 3 percent deficit
target.
If the savings were 300 million, then the deficit would rise by only 0.1
percent meaning the Government would come in comfortably below target
(at 2.8 percent).
However, this is on a static basis. One has to estimate three things: first,
with the removal of the water charges, consumer spending will rise, thus
increasing GDP (for most people, every 1 not spent on water charges is
likely to be spent in the domestic economy). A higher GDP means a reduced
deficit (as a percentage of GDP).
Second, tax revenue rises from the increased spending; this has a downward
pressure on the deficit.
Third, social protection costs may fall if employment arises from this
increased spending; again, putting downward pressure on the deficit.
Therefore, the Government would come in below their targets. And thats
for 2015. When you estimate the impact on the deficit for 2016 and
beyond, it makes little difference to the deficit as it will be falling
substantially.
If my estimates of costs hold then the Government will hit its fiscal targets
next year and the following years. I am open to correction but the only
ones who can do that are the Government and they aren't telling.
The Government should call a halt to this mess called Irish Water. It is a
toxic brand that no amount of re-branding will save. If the Government, as
part of a panic measure to mollify the opposition, caps water charges until
2016, this could actually threaten the ability of the Government to keep
expenditure off the books (never mind the whole conservation mojo). The
Government would be imposing charges, but be unable to keep the spending
off the books. All economic pain, no fiscal gain.
Stop the mess. Put the numbers out into the public domain. Go back to the
drawing board.
There are other, better ways to finance water investment, dis-incentivise
wasteful consumption and fund a modern, state-of-the-art water and waste
system.
http://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/migrated-
files/en/Publications/Environment/Water/FileDownLoad
%2C29193%2Cen.pdf
Department of Finance
Water Charges Introduction
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All Written Answers on 21 Oct 2014
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Michael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)Link to this:
Individually | In context 1415055600, 1488324833 | Oireachtas source
246. To ask the Minister for Finance the deficit in nominal and
percentage terms which would exist in 2015 if domestic
water charges were not applied, and the costs associated
with water provision if brought fully back on to the State's
books; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
[40441/14]

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Michael Noonan (Minister, Department of Finance; Limerick City, Fine


Gael)Link to this: Individually | In context 1415055600, 1488324833 |
Oireachtas source
In my reply to the Deputy's PQ No. 166 of 7 October last
(37932/14), I pointed out that the CSO would have to take the
absence of water charges into account in its classification of Irish
Water. I also informed the Deputy that if Irish Water was
classified inside general government then all revenue and
expenditure would count towards the general government
balance.
My colleague the Minister for the Environment, Community and
Local Government is providing 533 million from the Local
Government Fund, which is in general government, to Irish Water
in 2015. Accordingly, this amount of 533m is already included
in general government expenditure for 2015.
Furthermore revenue from non-domestic customers, which I
understand is worth about 230m annually, will count as general
government revenue off-setting an equal amount of general
government expenditure.
I am also providing equity investment of 222m to Irish Water in
2015 subject to the CSO and Eurostat classifying Irish Water as a
market institutional unit outside of general government. If this
were not the case then such a transfer could, if it were made, be
classified as a capital transfer and become general government
expenditure when invested by Irish Water.
Accordingly, under the scenario that Irish Water is in general
government, any expenditure or investment undertaken by Irish
Water in 2015 over and above the amounts outlined above would
be counted as general government expenditure and impact the
deficit. Money borrowed by Irish Water would also count towards
general government debt.
Regarding the costs associated with water provision in 2015, I
refer you to PQ No. 498 (35470/14) of 23 September
last answered by my colleague the Minister for the Environment,
Community and Local Government.
https://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2014-10-21a.421&s=
%22water%22+section%3Awrans
Irish Water: Motion [Private Members]
Tuesday, 21 October 2014
7:50 pm
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Barry Cowen (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)Link to this: Individually | In


context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
I move:
That Dil ireann:notes:

that the 2009 Fine Gael Party NewERA document advocated


the establishment of Irish Water;

the announcement of the Irish Water Charges Plan on 30th


September and the introduction of the new domestic water tariff
system on 1st October;

the 172 million set-up costs of Irish Water;

the 80 million being spent on consultants within the set-up of


Irish Water;

the 500 million ongoing estimated spend on water metering


across the country;

the 300 million in total annual domestic revenue accruing to


Irish Water;
the performance related award bonus structure within Irish
Water; and

the 700 staff due to be employed within Irish Water by the


end of 2015;

further notes:

the Governments plans to subsidise Irish Water's domestic


revenue stream through several options by an estimated 125
million;

the estimated domestic revenue stream, after Government


subsidies, of approximately 150 million - 175 million; and

the number of changes to the water charges system


introduced by the Government since 1st October;

condemns:

the Government's failure to address excessive spending on


outside consultants;

the lack of information for members of the public and lack of a


complaints system;

the lack of communications between the Oireachtas and Irish


Water;

the lack of additional spending on the water infrastructure


network; and

the Government's refusal to acknowledge the ability to pay or


otherwise; and

calls on the Government to:

fully review the appropriateness of the Irish Water model from


a funding and service delivery point of view;

assess the actual sustainability of the funding streams of Irish


Water;

confirm that it has no intention of privatising Irish Water;


establish an equitable regime for reliefs on domestic water
tariffs;

ensure the body is subjected to full Oireachtas scrutiny, not


just internal political party forums; and

cease any payment of bonuses within Irish Water.


I wish to share time with Deputies Sen Fleming and O'Dea.

This is the third time we have had to use Private Members'


business to raise the issue of water charges and the setting up of
Irish Water, and in an effort to highlight the unmitigated disaster
it has been. I have also published various Bills in an effort to
amend the legislation which gave effect to the setting up,
ongoing maintenance and administration of Irish Water. On each
and every occasion we were voted down and largely ignored, yet
the problems never went away, the costs were never reduced
and peoples fears were never addressed. The problem that was,
and still is, Irish Water, was allowed to drift, and the runaway
train continues apace.

We failed to divert the initial course of action by the Government,


which created a gold-plated, bonus-driven, super quango. We
were not alone in that regard. PricewaterhouseCoopers, PWC,
was commissioned by the Government to carry out a report and
it advised against the vehicle that became Irish Water. We then
focused on the many deficiencies within the legislation, which
was not open to debate. We say now what we said then, namely,
that the provisions of the legislation will impinge on peoples
ability to pay for a system that is not fit for purpose. One could
ask whether we should we be forced to have to take that route.
Of course we should not.

The role of the Opposition is to seek to hold the Government to


account. In order for Government to allow the Dil to work
effectively on behalf of citizens, it must provide that legislation is
analysed and scrutinised. That was most definitely not the case
with the legislation to give effect to the quango in question. If it
had been, many issues and problems that have ensued might
have been identified. Those problems now have the potential to
derail Irish Water. Many citizens are frustrated, fearful, worried,
annoyed and definitely very angry. They are angry to such an
extent that many feel it necessary to follow a path of
disobedience. Such a course of action threatens the ability of the
Government and this House to bring the public with them
towards meaningful recovery for all; rich and poor, young and
old, employed and unemployed, public and private sector, urban
dwellers and rural dwellers. Divisions have been created that will
be hard to mend. The situation will ultimately lead to a grave
distrust of the Government. As trust subsides, Governments
panic and bad governance sets in. When backbenchers panic,
governance will get worse. As the Government's once massive
mandate weakens it finds itself at a crossroads. One of those
roads leads to an election. Last week some Government Deputies
described the budget as an election budget. I caution them to be
careful what they wish for in that regard.

Fine Gael and Labour made many commitments in the previous


election campaign. Having vehemently opposed the tough yet
progressive budgets which achieved two thirds of the fiscal
adjustments to consolidate the economy, the Government
promised to steer a different path. Fine Gael and Labour said
they would not be a party to the tough but necessary corrective
measures. The public accepted their analysis and argument.
People had seen them vote against such budgets and their
associated finance Bills. They had promised a softer and easier
way. They said the troika agreement would be torn up. In
addition to the softer and easier way, the two parties promised a
new politics, a democratic revolution that would include report
cards for Ministers. They said there would be no hooky
appointments to State boards or other such bodies but what we
got was very different. What we got was a recognition that the
fiscal consolidation path had to be continued, the four-year
programme and the targets it contained would after all continue
under the new Government with its new politics of democratic
revolution. Hence, the Tesco advertisements were binned, the red
line issues were deleted, the five-point plan was silenced; the
strategic investment bank was quelled, to name but a few of the
promised initiatives. The Government had also to rid itself of the
statement the Labour Party made about Frankfurt's way.

In addition, there was the infamous explanation for the reason


people were let down; that it is what one does during an election.
That was another item to add to the bin. The expensive advisers
that were to be ditched were hired with gusto and their
associated payment caps were also thrown in the bin. The only
advice they could give in order to plough ahead was to blame
Fianna Fil and that might have won the Government the
previous election. I do not say who will win the next election but
if the Government continues along the same path, it will not win
another election.

Fianna Fil achieved 450,000 votes in 2011. The party in


government did two thirds of the heavy lifting necessary to
achieve fiscal consolidation and allow a prospect of growth. The
party achieved more votes and seats than any other party in the
local elections. Fianna Fil had discussions with the troika on
several occasions since the Dil was convened. The troika
reiterated to us, other Opposition parties and Independent
Members that the financial targets were the bottom line, not the
detail. All those factors determine that we have a duty and
mandate, as well as many others, to participate and to engage
and recommend paths to recovery. We were ignored on Irish
Water. The Government can ignore us at its peril, but it should be
very careful about ignoring the public. It does so at its peril.

On assuming office, Fine Gael wanted to broaden the tax base.


That is a credible and understandable objective. However, one
would assume that to achieve it, the parameters would have to
be right, the preparations would have to be thorough, the public
would have to be won over to the concept, the procedure, the
path and its delivery. Property tax and water charges were the
means chosen by the Government to achieve such a broadening
of the tax base but it would have to be done fast by a tough
Minister in a strict timeframe. The tough Minister in question
would need an incentive, a carrot. He would also require a line
that would not trouble Fine Gael or Labour either as they would
have to be brought along to support the endeavour. The Minister
appointed by the Taoiseach was Phil Hogan. The timeframe was
three years, the carrot was Brussels and the political line was
that it was Fianna Fil's fault anyway. With its ducks in a row,
and its target in sight, the Taoiseach and the Economic
Management Council, EMC, consisting of the then Tnaiste,
Deputy Gilmore, of the Labour Party, the Minister for Finance,
Deputy Noonan, from Fine Gael and the Minister for Public
Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Howlin, also from the Labour
Party, with the then Minister for the Environment, Community
and Local Government, Deputy Hogan, would pursue the target
and the carrot with gusto.

We know now that most of the Cabinet would be kept in dark


about the mechanism used to fund the quango. Ministers did not
have to feign surprise last January when they were told about the
cost of consultants. They were surprised and they were not
aware of the facts, as they should have been, but that is the way
the Government works. The members of the EMC disregard many
of their ministerial colleagues. Not only were members of the
Cabinet ignored but the Minister of State with responsibility to for
the implementation of NewERA, Deputy Fergus O'Dowd, was
ignored if he was not prepared to toe the line. The Opposition
was ignored and debate was shut down. The Commission for
Energy Regulation, CER, was to be instructed on policy and Irish
Water was told to plough ahead and set up its pay systems and
bonuses. Local authority managers were told they could resign or
retire, get their packages and get a new job in Irish Water. Irish
Water could do as it liked. It could get the charges as quickly as
possible and swell the Government's coffers for future tax
giveaways and election victories. However, the Government did
not bank on John Tierney's interview with Sean O'Rourke. Only
then did the chickens find their way home and consider roosting.
The cat was out of the bag, but the Government said to plough
on regardless. Furthermore, it instructed Irish Water and the CER
to plough on regardless. The Government never banked on a
resilient nation, a persistent Opposition, the local election results,
the by-election results or people power, as exemplified in the
march that took place last Saturday week.

This weekends announcements by RTE following our


parliamentary question last week eventually proved what we
suspected all along, that Irish Water as set up by this
Government, by every member of the parties associated with it,
is nothing but a gold-plated, bonus-driven super quango. The
Government would not do it before but now is the time for an
honest, open, frank debate; now is the time to initiate an
appropriate review of Irish Water and its ability to be a service
provider. In the meantime, all impending charges need to be
suspended.
To set this debate in its proper context the Dil needs to
acknowledge and note some facts. In 2009 it was Fine Gael, not
the troika, which in its NewERA document advocated the setting
up of Irish Water. The Minister, Deputy Coveney, I believe, was at
the heart of it. I would very much like to know who were the
consultants hired to initiate that plan. I ask the Dil to note that
it cost 172 million to set up; I ask the Dil to note that 80
million has been spent on consultants; I ask the Dil to note that
500 million has been spent on metering; I ask the Dil to note
further the categoric and unambiguous fact that there are
performance-related bonus structures in Irish Water, despite
what the then Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, said last January, that
there is no bonus culture in Bord Gis ireann nor will there be in
Irish Water. I ask the House to call on all its Members from Fine
Gael and the Labour Party as well as ourselves, to condemn the
Government for its failure to address excessive spending on
consultants and the set-up costs; for its lack of information
provided to the public, whether by CER or Irish Water or the
Department of the Environment, Community and Local
Government; for the lack of a complaints system which should be
enshrined in any such body; and for the lack of an adequate
communication system for Oireachtas Members. This is the
second or third time we have raised this issue in the House. We
raised it last year, in September, October and November and
Departments refused to answer questions about Irish Water
tabled by me and others. The conceited, underhanded nature in
which the body was configured from a monetary perspective
allowed the Government to avoid answering questions. The
Government gave a commitment in January or February which it
has not honoured and we are now at the end of October.
I ask the Dil to condemn the lack of additional spending that is
evident in the same Irish Water. The three-year spending
programme of 1.7 billion announced earlier this year was not a
red cent more than was given in capital expenditure by the
previous manner in which funds were expended in this area. I
condemn the Government for the lack of a mechanism of an
inability-to-pay clause.
When I think of the ongoing concerted effort by Government to
keep the public in the dark and all the double-speak we have
heard, I am reminded of what has been said in recent months.
The Taoiseach spoke on this issue in the House on several
occasions. He initially said that children would not have to pay for
water, that there would be no charge. He subsequently said that
children would be given 38,000 litres free and then he said it
would be 21,000 litres. He said the average charge would be
240 but it is far from it. The Taoiseach admitted that Irish Water
has had a few teething problems. I refer to what we have been
told in recent days. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade,
Deputy Charles Flanagan, said Irish Water needs to be more
customer-friendly; the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy
Frances Fitzgerald, said that Irish Water needs to work on its PR;
the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local
Government, Deputy Alan Kelly, said he met with Irish Water two
weeks ago and he expressed concern about the bonuses; and a
total of 20 Fine Gael Deputies spoke out last week at a
parliamentary party meeting saying that they had a problem with
the communications in Irish Water but they had no problem in
marching up to vote for it. I remind the 20 Deputies, wherever
they are, and the Labour Party Deputies, that nobody but
themselves set up Irish Water. They would not listen to anyone
because they took their orders from the top down and they were
kept in the dark.
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8:00 pm
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Mattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)Link to this: Individually


| In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Big Phil.
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Barry Cowen (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)Link to this: Individually | In


context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
We were not allowed to contribute to the debate and we were not
allowed to show those opposite that some of the measures could
not work. They are all culpable and they are all responsible.
The Minister for Finance, Deputy Michael Noonan, said last week
after the budget that the Opposition is only scratching around for
an issue and it has come up with Irish Water. I say to the Minister
that the people of Roscommon are scratching around; the people
of Dublin South-West are scratching around; and up to 100,000
people on Dublin streets last Saturday week were scratching
around too. Now we hear that a few backbenchers are scratching
around. How much scratching around does it take to get with the
programme?
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(Interruptions).
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
One speaker, please.
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Barry Cowen (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)Link to this: Individually | In


context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
There is no doubt that the Minister for Finance did not single-
handed return this economy towards the prospect of growth,
prosperity or even recovery. However, that disregard, contempt
and ill-feeling towards genuine fears and anxieties that exist,
risks everything and says so much about this Government's total
and absolute disregard for the democratic process, a disregard
for the people who elected us to this House, who gave us the
privilege to explore, analyse and critically examine legislation
despite the fact that we might not agree with the thrust of such
legislation or the policy behind it. We have a mandate first of all,
and a duty thereafter, to analyse that legislation and to ensure in
our belief that it will have the least possible detrimental effect on
those we represent and is in the best possible interest of the
country and the coffers.
I will make clear that my party wants a review of the service-
delivery model of the vehicle and of the system which the
Government put in place, Irish Water. We want a proper and
critical assessment of the sustainability of the funding model
contained within it. I want the House to confirm categorically in
this debate, once and for all, that there will be no privatisation. I
want the Government to enshrine in this Irish Water model,
which it has pushed ahead, an equitable regime that has at its
core an ability-to-pay clause. I want the Government once again
to provide an assurance that there will be full accountable
scrutiny of this body by the Oireachtas, that when Members of
the Oireachtas make inquiries and raise concerns and when they
wish to make representations on behalf of their constituents,
they will be treated with a bit of respect which their constituents
deserve. The cat is out of the bag and the game is up - Sen
O'Rourke saw to that last January. The Government gave
commitments which have not been honoured and only when they
are honoured can the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, be
told that the scratching might stop.
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Sen Fleming (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)Link to this: Individually | In


context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
I thank my colleague, Deputy Cowen, for tabling this motion on
behalf of the Fianna Fil Party. We are discussing what is
becoming the increasingly discredited super quango, Irish Water.
The whole country is furious about this matter. The Government
has a Dil majority of well over 100 Members but I am looking
around now and I count only four Members present on the other
side. The Government side of the House is not listening - its
Members are not even here to listen and there is not a single
member of the Government present. It reminds me of last
Tuesday evening, the day of the budget. The Ministers delivered
their scripts but it was an inconvenience for them to have to
come into the House to deliver their scripts because as the
Taoiseach said they had to speak to the nation by means of press
conferences with the national media. Once they had delivered
their scripts they left the Chamber, as did every other Minister
and more than 100 Members on the Government side. We were
left with four Members from the Government parties to listen to
what the Opposition had to say.
The same level of arrogance and contempt for the Chamber is
being displayed this evening. It is no wonder the Government is
having trouble with Irish Water. The principal reason for this is
that it is not listening. It is not listening to the people, to the
professional advisers who presented a report on the flawed
model with which the Government proceeded, or to the
Oireachtas. The longer it tries to run the House like an absentee
landlord, the more trouble it will get in.
Only four members of the Government parties out of well over
100 are present, with no member of the Cabinet. It is a repeat of
what the Government did last Tuesday. It might do it again next
Tuesday and the following Tuesday, but while it can run away
from the Oireachtas, it cannot run away from the public in 12
months time or whenever the election is held. Let it be a salutary
lesson. Members of the Government parties will wonder why the
people will be cross with them. If the people look at this debate,
and it should be borne in mind that it is being broadcast on a
couple of television stations as we speak, they will see the
contempt the Government is showing for the debate on Irish
Water. It showed contempt when it established Irish Water. It
guillotined the legislation last December and did not allow a
debate. It showed contempt. If I were to characterise the
performance of the Government on the Irish Water fiasco, I
would say one word sums it up, and that is "contempt". The
Government has shown it every single step of the way.
The Government has sought in recent days to blame the chief
executive. We are not here to defend John Tierney, but he is one
of the finest public servants and has an excellent track record at
delivering to the detail on Government policy. The reason the
Government is unhappy with him is because he is delivering its
policy of which it is now ashamed and from which it is trying to
run and hide. The running and hiding will stop, because it will
have to face the electorate in the ballot box.
The Government blames the management of Irish Water for
communication. Not a single issue upsetting the people is the
fault of Irish Water. The Government regulator, who is not
independent, was given his instructions and procedures to follow
and told the parameters by which he could arrive at his decision.
The Government regulator set the price. The Government
regulator announced the free water allowances. The bonuses
were approved by the former Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, who is in
the House, because it is part of Bord Gis and he approved them
within Bord Gis. Ervia, the parent company, also runs Bord Gis,
and Deputy Rabbitte was aware at all stages of the bonus culture
in the organisation establishing Irish Water. The former Minister,
Mr. Hogan, was the same.
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8:10 pm
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Pat Rabbitte (Minister, Department of Communications, Energy and


Natural Resources; Dublin South West, Labour)Link to this: Individually | In
context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
For the record, I did not approve that bonus scheme.
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Sen Fleming (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)Link to this: Individually | In


context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Deputy Rabbitte was aware of the bonus culture. I did not ask
him whether he signed up to the jocose bonus culture we now
have, whereby even those who do not do their work or show up
will receive a bonus. If he had inquired, which was his job, about
what bonus regime was in place in Bord Gis, he would have
known what would follow into Irish Water. The Tnaiste, Deputy
Joan Burton, signed up to the fiasco with regard to the PPS
numbers, because Irish Water will consult the Department of
Social Protection, which is responsible for PPS numbers. This
could not have been done without the Minister having agreed to
it. We asked time and again for Irish Water to be included under
the freedom of information legislation. A third Labour Party
Minister, Deputy Howlin, refused to do this, but eventually he was
forced to do so. The former Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, knew
about the bonus culture in Bord Gis, which is running this
operation. The Tnaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Deputy
Burton, approved the PPS arrangement whereby people must
include the PPS numbers on the application forms. The Minister,
Deputy Howlin, tried to keep it from being subject to the freedom
of information legislation by establishing it as a semi-State
company.

The possible privatisation of Irish Water is a live issue which


upsets the people. I find one sentence in the Government
amendment to the motion grossly hypocritical. It states the
Government recognises the legislation establishing Irish Water
prohibits the privatisation of the company. One vote, one
guillotine and one whim of the Government can change this
outright overnight. Members of the Government know all it takes
is for the Government to come in some fine day and change it.
This was voted in without the Opposition present. The
Government did not allow a debate and the Opposition could only
do what it could, which was leave the Chamber, after which the
Government proceeded with a guillotine. A simple vote of the
Government can change what is in the legislation. Any assurance
from the Government that it will not privatise Irish Water counts
for nothing because it only holds for as long as the vote lasts,
and at a future date a Fine Gael Government will try to privatise
Irish Water.

The people are returning to sender their application forms for


their free allowance en masse, and there are not just boxloads of
them in post offices throughout the country. I had it confirmed to
me this morning that pallet loads of forms with "return to sender"
on them, returned by the people, are in An Post sorting offices
throughout the country. This is what the people think of what the
Government is doing.

Measures on tax credits and social protection were announced


last week in the budget. Despite these hasty measures, many
people were left out. Those who do not pay income tax or who
are on low incomes are excluded, as are people who lose their
jobs and receive jobseeker's allowance. How did the Tnaiste,
Deputy Joan Burton, come in here and tell the people if they lose
their job and go on jobseeker's allowance they will not receive
any allowance because they are not in receipt of the fuel
allowance? Only people on long-term jobseeker's allowance
receive this and those out of work for up to 12 or 14 months will
not be able to avail of it.

I welcome the Minister, Deputy Kelly, to the House. We now have


five Members of the Government parties out of more than 100,
and at least one member of the Cabinet has shown up at this late
stage.

The people have lost confidence in Irish Water. The Minister is


presiding over this floundering around him. It is not too late to
go back to the drawing board. A key measure left out of the
legislation from the very beginning is recognition of the ability of
people to pay. The Government's ham-fisted efforts last week
were panic-driven because of the people it saw on the streets the
previous weekend. This is only making the people angrier.

The only thing Irish Water has done since being established is to
spend 500 million on installing meters and 180 million on
consultants and a billing system. Irish Water is not spending one
additional euro on investment in the network or water and
sewage treatment plants compared with what was spent the
previous year by the local authorities - not one single euro. When
one considers the amount that subsidies will cost taxpayers,
through tax credits and people receiving social welfare
allowances, the net income of Irish Water will only be
approximately 175 million per annum. It will take four years to
recoup the funds invested in the meters, consultants and the
billing system based on the revenue from the domestic charges
the Government hopes people will pay next year. This is
assuming a relatively high number of people pay their bills. The
Government is threatening the financial viability of Irish Water,
and in doing so it will have to recoup the cost over the coming
years and less will be spent on the infrastructure rather than
more, which is needed.

Fianna Fil is telling the Government it is not too late to go back


to the drawing board. It should do so now. We are stating clearly
and unambiguously that it is time for a comprehensive review on
the role and performance of Irish Water in its entirety. Do not
rule out closing down that ugly shop.
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Willie O'Dea (Limerick City, Fianna Fail)Link to this: Individually | In


context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
I thank Deputy Cowen for tabling this motion. A total of 750,000
people in the country, that is one in six, live below the poverty
line. Hundreds of thousands more are struggling just barely
above that line. The population as a whole has been battered by
year after year of austerity, cuts, charges and impositions of all
sorts, both covert and overt. Against this background the least
that people are decently entitled to expect is that where the
Government establishes a body, regardless of what type of body
it is, to impose another charge on these battered taxpayers, the
interaction between this body and the taxpayers who will be
charged should be clear, transparent and coherent. Deputy
Fergus O'Dowd, among others, has told us, and we do not have
to take his word for it because we see it every day, that Irish
Water is acting in a way which is the polar opposite of this
transparency, accountability and openness.
8 o’clock

It is opaque, distant and even disinterested.


I will give the House some examples of my interaction with Irish
Water to illustrate what I am saying. Some time ago I telephoned
Irish Water with a simple query. I am lucky enough to own a
second house in Limerick and I have it converted to use as a
constituency office. I wanted an answer to the simple question as
to how that is treated for water tax purposes. Is it in the same
category as a holiday home? Is it an unoccupied building? What
is it exactly? The gentleman who answered said, "Well, Deputy,
that's a very interesting question, but I can't answer it. I'll have
to put you on to somebody higher up". He duly put me on to
somebody higher up and the reply I got from the somebody
higher up was, "Well, Deputy, that is a most interesting question,
but we don't have the answer to it. I'll have to put you further up
again". So I went up and up; I almost finished on the roof.
Eventually when I got to the key man he told me - guess what -
"That's a very interesting question. I don't have the answer, but
give me your mobile phone number and I'll ring you back within
the hour". That was five weeks ago and I have not heard a word
back from that man since.
Undeterred by my failure in that regard, because of countless
constituents who have queried why they need to submit their PPS
numbers, I contacted Irish Water again with a simple question.
Why do people, for example, those who are being assessed and
who know what their liability will be, have to submit their PPS
numbers? As a matter of fact, why do I, as a citizen, have to
submit my PPS number? I got straight through to the top on this
occasion, I am glad to say. The gentleman's first response was
shameless blackmail. He said, "You go and tell your constituents
that if they don't give their PPS numbers, they won't get their
allowances". I reminded him that was not the question I asked
him at all; I wanted a clear rationale for why people had to
submit their PPS numbers. He went into an explanation and to
my amazement I could not understand the language he was
speaking. After a while I figured it out; it was a variant of the
English language, called incoherent gibberish. I would have been
better off if the man had been talking Swahili because then I
would know why I did not understand what he was saying.
George Orwell said that the function of political language is often
"to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind". If that is the
case, the function of the language of Irish Water is to give the
appearance of pure balderdash to - well - pure balderdash.
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8:20 pm
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Mattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)Link to this: Individually


| In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Hurricane Willie.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
One speaker, please.
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Willie O'Dea (Limerick City, Fianna Fail)Link to this: Individually | In


context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Undeterred by my failure at verbal communication, I sent an e-
mail and got a response back late last night that stated, "The PPS
numbers have to be submitted to ensure that correct water
allowances are allocated to the correct recipients". That is a very
interesting answer because it tells us that Irish Water is starting
from the premise that the entirety - or almost the entirety - of
the population are shysters, fraudsters and gangsters who will
deliberately submit false returns and poor old Irish Water will
give 5 million allowances to 1.5 million houses.
The Revenue Commissioners, who collect tax in this country, take
people on trust. A person fills out a tax return outlining his or her
circumstances. In most cases that will not be examined as they
take people on trust. There is a spot-check, and anybody caught
cheating the system will be dealt with very severely and properly
so. I cannot understand why Irish Water cannot do something
similar.
The Minister ought to be aware of a court case in the past three
weeks where two people were successfully prosecuted and
convicted for obtaining information from the Department of
Social Protection - namely people's addresses - by giving the
Department of Social Protection PPS numbers which they had got
from credit unions. That should illustrate, if illustration was
needed, the danger of people's most confidential information -
their PPS numbers - getting into the hands of a third party.
I have received no coherent explanation from Irish Water as to
why I, as a citizen, should submit my PPS number and I have
absolutely no intention of doing so. At the end of the day, when I
get my water bill I will pay it, but I will deduct the allowance to
which I am legally entitled. At that point Irish Water with its
serried armies of consultants laden down with taxpayers'
largesse, employees laden down with bonuses and directors, who
regard their responsibility as of such importance that it is only
secondary to driving the Minister's car, can all come after me if
they wish.
In addition I made a further effort to get information on this by
tabling a parliamentary question to the Minister for the
Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Kelly,
who is sitting across from us now looking pensive. I asked him
what my constituents - and constituents of very other Member of
this House - are asking. Why do people have to submit their PPS
numbers? I was not alone; in fairness, Deputies Clare Daly and
Catherine Murphy tabled similar questions. I had to laugh out
loud at the sheer irony of the Taoiseach's statement this morning
that the real problem here was that there was not enough
communication. What sort of communication did we get from the
Minister, Deputy Kelly? We got a one-line arrogant reply stating
that the situation was unchanged and outlining Irish Water's
telephone number with a recommendation to use it. That is some
example of communication.
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Michel Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna


Fail)Link to this: Individually | In context 1415055600, 1488324909 |
Oireachtas source
That is accountability.
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Willie O'Dea (Limerick City, Fianna Fail)Link to this: Individually | In


context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
It gives rise to a number of very interesting questions. Is that the
Minister's version of accountability?
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Mattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)Link to this: Individually


| In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
That will go down well in Tipperary.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
We will have one speaker, please. Deputy O'Dea is in possession.
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Willie O'Dea (Limerick City, Fianna Fail)Link to this: Individually | In


context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Is that his version of the democratic revolution for which people
voted in such numbers in the last general election? I remember a
grandiose statement from the programme for Government: "We
believe that in recent years an over-powerful Executive has
turned the Dil into an observer of the political process rather
than a central player and that this must be changed". How hollow
that sounds? Is it any wonder there is such cynicism about
politics and the political process when people measure that
performance against the promise?
I have no doubt the Minister in his speech will refer to the hoary
old chestnut the Taoiseach always drags up when he is asked
about this - that Fianna Fil signed some sort of a deal with the
troika for some huge amount of money to be paid by the citizens.
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Alan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)Link to this: Individually | In context


1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Are you going to borrow it?
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
We will have one speaker, Minister, please.
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Willie O'Dea (Limerick City, Fianna Fail)Link to this: Individually | In
context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
I cannot remember exactly the amount because it seems to
change every time he answers the question. However, the
Minister should remember that nobody signed up with the troika
for somebody on the dole with four or five kids to end up paying
400 or 500 in water charges year-in year-out. Nobody signed a
deal with the troika or anybody else that the people of this
country would be forced to shell out tens of millions of euro in
payments to consultants - no doubt very well connected
consultants. Nobody ever signed an agreement with the troika or
anybody else that the battered people of this country would have
to pay bonuses to people simply for turning up - many of them
retired senior officials of local authorities on gold-plated
pensions.
The system is broken. The man who brought the legislation
through the Dil told the Minister that. I urge him to fix it, but I
must say my confidence is not great.
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Alan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)Link to this: Individually | In context


1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
I move amendment No. a1:
To delete all words after Dil ireann and substitute the
following:

supports the establishment of Irish Water as a long-term


strategic investment project to deliver the necessary water
services infrastructure and quality of services required to meet
statutory compliance and demographic needs, benefitting Irish
citizens and businesses;

recognises that managing our water resources effectively is also


essential to ensure that Ireland can continue to attract major
overseas investment and employment;
recognises that the legislation establishing Irish Water prohibits
the privatisation of the company;

notes that:
following on from the requirement to introduce water charges
as part of the agreement with the troika, the Government
provided for the introduction of a fair funding model to deliver a
clean, reliable and affordable water supply with a charging
system based on usage;

the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER, has published its


decision on water charges on 30 September 2014 taking account
of the policy framework set by the Government;

the CER have examined the establishment costs of Irish Water


and approved 172.8 million on the basis that this investment
will enable Irish Water to drive substantial cost savings and
service quality improvements over the interim review period and
for many years to come; and

the CER has approved an extensive capital investment


programme for Irish Water and, in its examination of Irish
Waters costs in the period ahead, set challenging annual
efficiency targets for both operational and capital expenditure;
recognises the importance of ensuring that there is full public
understanding of the rationale for the establishment of Irish
Water and that issues of legitimate public interest arising in that
context are addressed, in order to support public trust and
confidence;

emphasises the commitment of Irish Water to addressing the


issues involved, with a particular priority on actively reviewing its
communications strategy to better reflect the needs of all
stakeholders, including elected members;

welcomes:
the progress with the roll-out of the domestic metering
programme being delivered by Irish Water with some 450,000
meters installed to date, supporting some 1,300 jobs; this level
of meter installation now significantly exceeds the 400,000
target for end-2014 already indicated to the CER;

the indications that progress remains on track for the


installation of 1.05 million meters, with programme completion
likely to be ahead of the target - mid-2016 rather than end-
2016; and

the Governments package of measures to ensure that


domestic water charges are introduced in as fair and equitable a
basis as possible, with particular reference to the following
elements:
Irish Waters Government subvention averaging 537 million
per annum in 2015 and 2016;

each household will receive an annual free allowance of


30,000 litres of water and a corresponding allowance for waste
water;

there will be an additional free allowance for every child under


18 years of age to cover a childs normal consumption of water
supplied and waste water treated, 21,000 litres;

household benefits package and free fuel allowance recipients


will receive a 100 "water support" payment per year, benefiting
653,000 households;

income tax relief on water charges will be available, at the


standard rate, worth up to 100 per household per annum when
claimed in the following year;

charges to be capped for people with high water usage due to


medical needs; and

Irish Water to take account of the quality of services provided


to customers, including circumstances where services are
reduced or restricted, for example, due to boil water notices; and
the Governments intention to provide funding to increase
investment in public water services infrastructure on average by
100 million in each of the years 2015 and 2016, including for a
scheme to provide each household with a free fix of the first leak
on a customers water supply pipe; and
supports the Governments overall water funding package, which
balances the need for a sustainable funding model to support
long-term investment in the sector, taking account of the
relevant European rules on Government accounting, while
ensuring that domestic water charges are introduced in the most
affordable, fair and equitable manner possible.
I thank Deputy Cowen for bringing this motion to the House and
for providing us all with an opportunity to - until the last
contribution - rationally debate the critical challenges the country
faces in terms of our water infrastructure, and the role of Irish
Water and domestic water charges in the future of water services
delivery.

At the outset, I acknowledge that the past few weeks have seen
some difficulties in communication and public engagement
concerning Irish Water. I fully accept this. I accept that for the
public, for some of the utility's customers, the customer
registration process has been frustrating and at times confusing,
and the charging structure is not as easy to understand as it
should be. I believe Irish Water also accepts this.

The timelines associated with the establishment of Irish Water


have been extremely challenging and ambitious and a task of this
scale was never going to run smoothly or easily. There is a need
to directly address many issues that have arisen and I intend to
do so in this debate. I would go so far as to say that the
timelines operating to date have been somewhat unrealistic,
squeezing many years of work into too fine a condensed period
of months. This is about the creation of one of the largest utilities
in the history of the State and it was never going to be a simple
task.
Addressing legitimate issues of concern arising, however, is
essential to maintain public trust and confidence. I expect to see
a major overhaul of the communications strategy employed by
Irish Water and that it will be transformed to a customer
focussed and customer friendly organisation.
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8:30 pm
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Michel Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna


Fail)Link to this: Individually | In context 1415055600, 1488324909 |
Oireachtas source
On a point of order, normally the ministerial script is circulated
during Private Members' business.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
It is a matter for the Minister.
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Michel Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna


Fail)Link to this: Individually | In context 1415055600, 1488324909 |
Oireachtas source
This is a normal courtesy. It was de rigueur in our time.
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Alan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)Link to this: Individually | In context


1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
I will get the Deputy a copy.
This needs to happen urgently and the Government will drive
this. It is clear there has to be a seismic shift in how Irish Water
interfaces with the public. Clarity and certainty has to be given to
members of the public about the charges they will pay. I assure
the House that the Government is working with Ervia and Irish
Water to ensure these issues are addressed and addressed
immediately. I also accept that there needs to be more
explanation of why we have embarked on this highly ambitious
water sector reform programme, what we have achieved in a
short time and what we can achieve for the long-term future of
our public water system. I would like to use this debate as an
opportunity to provide clarity on many of these issues.
It is important, in the first instance, to remind the House of the
purpose of our reforms. The traditional water services system
was in need of fundamental change. Water infrastructure is
deficient and inadequate as a consequence of decades of under
investment and of not having a truly, national approach that
could maximise the impact of investment. The result has been a
national leakage rate of 49%; inadequate wastewater treatment,
with untreated sewage discharging into 42 urban areas, for
example, putting rivers and bathing waters at risk of pollution;
Ireland going on formal notice of an EU infringement case,
requiring wastewater improvements at 66 urban centres; a total
of 22,181 people are on boil water notices, and a further 945,000
people dependent on drinking water supplies at risk of failing
required standards - these include the major but antiquated
drinking water schemes on the Lee Road in Cork and the Vartry
Scheme in Dublin, both critical for our two major cities; and
insufficient supply for the greater Dublin area. While most major
European capital cities have a spare capacity of between 15 and
20%, Dublin has a surplus capacity ranging between 1% and
4%.
Future challenges also make the need for a more cost effective,
efficient and nationally orientated system imperative. Our
population is increasing, and is forecast to increase in the coming
decades. Our economy is recovering, bringing with it added water
demand for industry and agriculture and we have to meet these
challenges. These challenges result in large part from decades of
under investment, with the bulk of that time presided over by
Governments led by the party that tabled the motion. A total of
600 million should be invested every year in capital
infrastructure to ensure our public system of treatment plants
and networks is adequate for modern requirements and
operations, yet recent investment levels have stood at just over
300 million per annum.
Under investment is not the system's only difficulty. Local
authorities have demonstrated commitment and great dedication
to water services for well over a century, but 34 separate water
services authorities providing services and infrastructure
unilaterally for the most part have not, and could not have,
achieved the best public water system. An example of this is in
the lack of economies of scale identified in the independent
assessment on establishing a public water utility. Operating
expenditure per connection, for example, is more than twice the
average of UK water companies.
The only way these deficiencies could be rectified, the
infrastructure deficit removed, the problems of quality addressed
and inefficiencies tackled was by creating a single, national utility
and a new funding model. All parties will be aware that the public
water and wastewater systems will not improve without a
national approach. All parties will be also aware that the best way
to secure the necessary expansion in infrastructure and to ensure
spending on water services is accountable and the standards of
quality expected by the public are achieved is by creating a direct
relationship between the water user and the service provider
where funding goes from one to the other, and where the
expected standards are received in return. We are all aware of
the previous funding model for water services. However,
Members should ask the people on boil notices over 12 years if
this model has worked for them. If water is condemned forever
to compete with health, education and housing for essential
funding, we simply will not be able to address the major
difficulties that exist within our water system and we, as a
Government, will be condemned for not facing up to this reality.
Against this backdrop, I would like to take this opportunity to
dispel certain myths that have grown around the establishment
of Irish water. First, it cannot be privatised. This is the law of the
land. While this is a legitimate concern many people have, it is
based on falsehood and it cannot happen. I would also like to
address the issue of start-up costs of Irish Water, which is
important. I accept again that people need reassurance about
this issue. That is why it is necessary that such costs be
examined by independent experts with experience in utility
management. That was part of the job of the Commission for
Energy Regulation, CER. The conclusion at which it arrived was
that 95% of the establishment costs were justified and 5% of the
budgeted costs should not proceed. I accept that it was incorrect
to refer to too many of these costs as "consultant" costs. Much of
this was related to costs associated with building the company's
systems using outside expertise but I reiterate that after all the
establishment costs of Irish Water were independently assessed,
95% were justified, warranted and necessary.
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Mattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)Link to this: Individually


| In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
What about bonuses?
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Alan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)Link to this: Individually | In context


1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
This was done on the basis that these initial costs will enable the
company to drive substantial cost savings and service quality
improvements over the immediate period to end 2016 and for
many years to come.
The CER is responsible for setting performance standards for the
new utility, examining its costs with a view to approving,
amending or rejecting its "water charges plan" and protecting
customers by directing the company in respect of codes of
practice in areas such as performance standards, customer
billing, payment methods, information communication to
customers, and customer complaints. Earlier, the commission's
staff outlined their approach to their work before the Oireachtas
Joint Committee on the Environment, Community and Local
Government, demonstrating the important link between
independent regulation and Oireachtas scrutiny.
The commission's work to date has demonstrated the importance
and impact of independent, economic regulation. In setting
performance standards for the utility, the CER has announced
that it will conduct a partial overall performance assessment of
Irish Water to incentivise the utility to improve its performance in
areas such as service delivery. The company will be required to
publish the performance results. This will incentivise the
company to improve its performance through a set of key
metrics, for example, customer service scores, drinking water
standards and environmental compliance. An overall performance
assessment will commence from the beginning of the first full
revenue review period in 2017.
The CER has also demonstrated its independence in its
examination of Irish Water's establishment and operational costs
as well as its capital plans. It rejected 5% of proposed
establishment costs, 14% of operational costs and has set an
overall reduction in costs of 8.2%. Operational costs will have to
come down by 7% per annum, and the same level of efficiency
will be required in respect of non-committed capital costs. These
cost reductions are aimed at ensuring Irish Water's customers
pay charges only to cover reasonable costs on the system.
Important safeguards such as this are evidence of the role
regulation plays in protecting consumers and ensuring that there
are consequences when Irish Water's performance standards
drop. The establishment of Irish Water is a critical long-term
project for this country and an absolute economic necessity. It
will become among the largest utilities in the history of the State
and is necessary for a safe and secure supply of water into the
future. There is some way to go before we have the world class
water system the public deserves but we have already achieved
much progress during this ambitious programme of reform. For
example, as a result of the establishment of Irish Water, by
Christmas of this year boil water notices in parts of Roscommon
will be lifted for the first time in 12 years. I am sure this
development will be welcomed by everyone in the House. Why it
did not happen previously is beyond me. Over the next two
years, there will be an average annual increase of 100 million in
investment in water services infrastructure in the State.
One of the less commented on consequences of reform, but a
fundamental and a positive one, has been the increased focus on
water quality and standards. As the public prepares to pay for
water services, it will expect even higher standards, and rightly
so. I can assure the House that a key driver for Irish Water, the
Commission and my Department, is the continual improvement
in customer service and quality. Irish Water and I accept that
customer service to date has not been good and steps to address
this will be taken. More resources have been diverted to the Irish
Water call centre. It is currently handling approximately 10,000
calls a day and the average waiting time has been reduced to
three minutes. It is expected that by the end of the week in
excess of 750,000 responses under the registration process will
have been received by Irish Water, the vast majority of these
being registering customers. The level of registrations is
consistent with previous experience of the pace of registration in
respect of the household charge and septic tank registration.
Today, the CER indicated that it is considering extending the
deadline. Previous experience suggests that there will be a rush
of registrations towards the end of the registration period. I
accept that Irish Water must do more to facilitate queries from
elected representatives of all political parties, be they Oireachtas
Members or local councillors. Steps will be taken urgently to
address this issue.
In overall terms, an organisational reinvigoration of customer
engagement within Irish Water is required. The complex nature
of the charging system has led to confusion and frustration. I will
be working with Ervia and Irish Water to address these issues
and to give customers certainty and clarity with regard to what
they will be paying. This must be done immediately. I believe
reform of the boards of Ervia and Irish Water will offer an
opportunity to reinvigorate the organisation and give it a much
stronger customer face.
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(Interruptions).
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8:40 pm
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
One speaker at a time please.
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Alan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)Link to this: Individually | In context


1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
I know the man well. He is a good man. Irish Water must engage
with its customers in a new way and with a new style. The brand
of Irish Water must be repositioned in the public mind.
Despite some protests, the metering programme is being
successfully rolled out, with some 458,000 meters already
installed, which will benefit overall water conservation and allow
customers to manage their usage. It is important to remember
the reason Government authorised the most ambitious metering
programme of its kind. Metered charges are the fairest form of
water charges. In metering 1.1 million homes under the first
phase of the domestic metering programme, we are linking
usage with cost recovery. The OECD has stated that usage-based
charging is the fairest form of charging. The Government agrees.
Through metering, customers can manage and control their
water usage more effectively. International evidence suggests
metering can reduce customer usage by 10% to 15%. Customers
and Irish Water can also tackle leakage through the domestic
metering programme. It is believed that at least 5% of the 49%
of leakage in the water distribution network is on the customer
side. Installing meters helps identify customer side leakage and
will help Irish Water to achieve its objective of halving the
national leakage level.
Under the domestic metering programme spanning the country, a
meter is installed every 30 seconds. No other country is metering
on such a scale. The programme is providing 1,300 people with
employment, 84% of whom are from one of three social inclusion
categories: the unemployed; employees of SMEs; graduates or
school leavers or apprentices. This far exceeds the Government's
target of 25%, set in February last year. The domestic metering
programme is providing much needed employment across the
length and breadth of the country, representing the kind of
economic stimulus and infrastructural investment for which many
on the Opposition benches and elsewhere have been calling.
Irish Water has already demonstrated the benefits a more
national approach to water services and infrastructure a national
utility can produce. It has placed greater focus on deficiencies
within the water system such as leakage, water quality, lead
piping and infrastructural planning. It has adopted a new
approach to asset management, in particular central strategic
planning based on accurate asset performance data. It wants to
plan investment consistently across the asset base rather than on
large scale, one-off investments. An example of this is the
proposed Ringsend waste water treatment plant upgrade, an
alternative approach to a treatment plant extension which will
save the company 170 million in capital investment.
Irish Water is also working on the centralisation of procurement
of supplies such as chemicals and energy sources, which will
result in significant savings for the company. Its 2014 to 2017
transformation plan, agreed with the local authorities in the
context of the service level agreements, contains new initiatives
in the areas of standardised, digitised systems for work and asset
management and inventory management capability.
I would like to turn now to the issue of the funding model for
Irish Water. As I outlined earlier, water services and
infrastructure have been underfunded for many years. This is no
longer tenable. The Government has agreed on a funding model
that will allow subvention of Irish Water to help the public offset
some of the direct cost of funding water services, while also
designing the model in a way that allows Irish Water to operate
commercially. This will allow Irish Water to borrow money for
capital expenditure from capital markets and should see an
increase in capital expenditure averaging 100 million in each of
the years 2015 and 2016, in comparison to some 350 million
this year. An increase in capital investment is one of the
objectives of the Government's reform programme. We will
achieve this next year.
As in other OECD countries, domestic water charges form an
important part of the funding model for water services. Over the
years ahead, economic regulation will drive operational
efficiencies in water services to ensure that charges remain
affordable for customers. It was important for the Government to
set parameters for this regulatory period to guide the transition
from the old funding model to the new regime, and particularly to
focus on affordability. The subvention to Irish Water ensures that
the Government's objective of the average charge being less
than 240 per annum is achieved. Some 537 million will be
provided to Irish Water in 2015, in the main to cover the free
allowances.
The Government recognises that the poorest and most marginal
in society must be protected from water poverty. Water poverty
is a real challenge of which we must all remain acutely aware. To
this end, the Government is providing a number of significant
protections and reliefs to assist households in meeting their
charges, including the provision to every household in the
country of a free allowance of 30,000 litres per year; an
additional free allowance to cover the normal consumption of
water supplied and wastewater treated per child in primary
residencies in the State; the capping of charges for people with
high water usage due to certain medical conditions; a 100 water
support payment for all recipients of the household benefits
package; and free fuel allowance and water charges income tax
relief at the standard rate on water charges up to a maximum of
500 per household per year. This will provide relief of up to
100 per household per annum when claimed in the following
year and the Government is examining what support can be
made available for those who are not entitled to income tax relief
or the water support payment. For social and environmental
reasons, there is no standing charge on domestic water charges.
This will benefit those living on their own.
In addition, the exceptional needs payment system will continue
to be available for people experiencing severe financial
difficulties.
The introduction of a new charge is difficult for any household,
and the Government instructed the regulator in July to provide
certain supports to ensure ease of transition. An important
support provided for in the regulator's decision is the capping of
charges at the unmetered rate for the first nine months of
charging. Metered homes have now an incentive to reduce usage
since 1 October as their bills can be lower than the assessed level
but in recognition of the challenge in changing behaviour and
usage patterns, bills will not be higher than the relevant assessed
level for those nine months.
The regulator was also instructed to provide for retrospective
adjustment of charges, including provision for a rebate, if
assessed bills are higher than metered usage would warrant.
As stated earlier, Irish Water is also expected to implement a free
first fix policy early next year. This will help those households
with leaks to address problems that can cause significant
customer-side wastage of water. The Government is providing
51 million in funding for this scheme, on which the regulator will
hold a public consultation shortly. In the interim there will be
supports to ensure that households identified through the
domestic metering programme as ones with leakages will have
their bills capped until the issue of leakage is comprehensively
addressed.
Through the various supports and reliefs available from
Government, I believe that a fair, equitable and affordable
charging system is being produced.
It is critical that Irish Water performs as the Oireachtas and the
public expect. Government recognises a number of concerns
have arisen in the context of getting Irish Water fully up and
running and will move to address these - none more so than the
complexity of the charging regime.
As stated earlier, the establishment of a unified Ervia-Irish Water
board presents an opportunity to reinvigorate the organisation to
become significantly more customer focused in its operations and
communications. The Ervia Group and Irish Water are actively
reviewing their communication strategy to reflect better the
needs of all stakeholders, including elected Members.
I also recognise that the particular pay model in the Ervia Group
has been the subject of much comment. This model, which was
applied by Ervia rather than being created by Irish Water itself,
provides for part of salaries to be placed at risk and this element
of pay is only earned subject to performance. One of the first
actions I will be asking the new board to do is to review the
application and operation of this model in Irish Water, particularly
in its start-up phase.
I would like to add one more detail. There were reports at the
weekend of in excess of 188 charges for a second call-out after
people have had their first leak fixed for free through Irish
Water's first fix policy. I would like to express a personal
view-----
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8:50 pm
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Michel Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna


Fail)Link to this: Individually | In context 1415055600, 1488324909 |
Oireachtas source
A personal view.
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Barry Cowen (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)Link to this: Individually | In


context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
You are the Minister.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Sorry, Deputy Cowen, no one interrupted you, to be fair. One
speaker please.
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Alan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)Link to this: Individually | In context


1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
-----that I believe this is too expensive but again I point out, as
stated previously, that this has not been finalised and it will be
subject to the approval, as everyone knows, of CER. I also point
out that the use of such services is not mandatory.

As the system of charging and water services delivery through a


national utility beds down there will be an ongoing need for
accountability and scrutiny within this House and the Seanad of
Irish Water's performance and its actions.

Deputy Cowen's motion calls for full Oireachtas scrutiny of Irish


Water. This level of scrutiny is already in place-----
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Michel Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna


Fail)Link to this: Individually | In context 1415055600, 1488324909 |
Oireachtas source
Do not read it-----
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Alan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)Link to this: Individually | In context


1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
-----through parliamentary questions, engagement between Irish
Water and elected representatives on an individual level-----
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Michel Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna


Fail)Link to this: Individually | In context 1415055600, 1488324909 |
Oireachtas source
Stop, please.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Thank you.
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Alan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)Link to this: Individually | In context


1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
-----and at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment,
Culture and the Gaeltacht.
This scrutiny is in addition to the various forms of accountability
that Irish Water is subject to including the submission of an
annual report on the performance of its functions to the Minister
for the Environment, Community and Local Government; the
laying before the Oireachtas of the company's annual report and
accounts; approval by the Minister for the Environment,
Community and Local Government of a 25 year water services
strategic plan; and the power of direction, held by the Minister
for the Environment, Community and Local Government, towards
Irish Water in relation to the performance of its functions.
Last year's Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 also requires Irish
Water to consult with the Commission for Energy Regulation,
CER, the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, and each local
authority and regional body before submitting the 25 year
strategic plan, and on capital plans, to consult with the EPA,
regional authorities and planning authorities for which the plan is
relevant.
Irish Water has responded to 4,700 individual queries from
elected representatives on a range of issues since its specific e-
mail facilities were put in place. However, I know that Members
are dissatisfied with the effectiveness of the current arrangement
and I have been engaged with Irish Water to ensure that a more
comprehensive, responsive system is put in place, given the
overall extent of queries. New arrangements in this regard will be
communicated to Members in a week or so.
These important safeguards on accountability and consultation
with elected representatives and State agencies reflect a new
water services framework that is designed to remain in public
ownership. I want to be perfectly clear on this issue - Irish Water
will always remain in public ownership. The Government stated
this at the start of its water reforms, it has stated it throughout
the reform programme and it has demonstrated it through
enshrining it in law. The law of this land does not allow Irish
Water to be privatised.
While I welcome the chance to debate the details of water
charges and aspects of Irish Water's operations, it is
disappointing that the Opposition has not sought to articulate any
vision for where it would like to see water services in the future,
through its budget submission, for example.
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Michel Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna


Fail)Link to this: Individually | In context 1415055600, 1488324909 |
Oireachtas source
That was not in the script.
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Alan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)Link to this: Individually | In context
1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
The Government, on the other hand, has a vision. It is a vision
for a country in which every household connected to public water
supplies has a high quality, reliable water supply and has
established a relationship with this new, national utility that is
based on customer service, reliability and good communications.
It is a vision for an adequately funded water and wastewater
system in which the necessary funding is obtained to upgrade
public water supplies, have low leakage levels and adequate
levels of waste water treatment to keep our rivers, lakes and
coastal waters free of pollution, helping to maintain Ireland's
image as a clean, green country that continues to attract a
growing number of tourists.
The vision includes a security of quality water supply through
effective services, quality asset management and significant
investment so that Ireland is seen as a water secure country in
the future, notwithstanding the challenges of a rising population,
economic recovery and climate change, and a water secure
country in a context where the global scenario is heading towards
demand exceeding supply by 40%. It is a vision in which
Ireland's security of supply will guarantee current and future
competitiveness for industries such as agrifood, ICT and pharma-
chem, which combined, provide well over 200,000 water
intensive jobs in Ireland. It is a security of supply that will attract
further water intensive industries to Ireland as other countries
experience growing water shortages, creating further prosperity
into the future.
I accept fully that there is much that remains to be done to see
that vision fully realised, but it is a vision this Government is
committed to realising. Establishment and effective operation is
an essential part of realising that vision, and any issues that
need to be addressed along the way towards realising that vision
in full will be dealt with effectively and immediately.
Government is committed to giving clarity and certainty to
people surrounding their water bills. This is absolutely going to
happen. From both Ervia and Irish Water, I am expecting a
reinvigoration in customer focus and to establish a much stronger
relationship with the public and stakeholders. There has to be a
seismic shift across the range of Irish Water activities. Put simply,
this Government will reposition Irish Water in the public minds,
and I expect this to happen immediately.
The question has been put to me in recent days about confidence
in senior management of Irish Water. I am expecting them to
deliver major changes in a short period of time and I have
confidence both in the boards of Irish Water and Ervia, and their
management teams, but I am demanding that they deliver.
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Michel Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna


Fail)Link to this: Individually | In context 1415055600, 1488324909 |
Oireachtas source
That was not in the script.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Thank you, Deputy.
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Alan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)Link to this: Individually | In context


1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Deputy Martin is very funny.
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Michel Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna
Fail)Link to this: Individually | In context 1415055600, 1488324909 |
Oireachtas source
No, I am not. That was not in the script.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
The Minister to conclude please.
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Michel Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna


Fail)Link to this: Individually | In context 1415055600, 1488324909 |
Oireachtas source
The Government rewrote that script today. The Minister could not
say that yesterday.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Deputy Martin-----
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Alan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)Link to this: Individually | In context
1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Tonight's debate is an important opportunity for all sides of this
House to support this vision.
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Barry Cowen (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)Link to this: Individually | In


context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
He is the big man's man.
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Alan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)Link to this: Individually | In context


1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
It is an opportunity for the House to end the negative criticism
that offers no solutions or constructive ideas. Let us get behind
this ambitious, far-reaching reform programme and focus on the
long-term benefits for all of us and for future generations
through a water utility of which we can all be proud.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
I call Deputy Brian Stanley who is sharing time with Deputy
Pearse Doherty.
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9:00 pm
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Brian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein)Link to this: Individually | In


context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
I welcome the opportunity to speak on this subject. It is a timely
debate. The Minister said that he is demanding that the board of
Uisce ireann pull up its socks and he has set out certain things
for it to do. Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Fianna Fil have all
supported pushing water services out of democratic control, away
from the Oireachtas and local councils. That is why we are in this
situation. There is huge anger over the level of bonuses. It does
not encourage confidence in the company, despite the review of
communications announced this afternoon. To make matters
worse, it was revealed today that fewer than one third of
householders have filled in and returned the forms containing
their personal public service numbers and other details. That
means more than 1 million people have not returned their forms,
which has forced Irish Water to seek an extension of the period
for return of the forms to the end of November.
Given the level of anger at the bonuses, the water metering,
general incompetence and lack of clarity, it is not difficult to see
why those million or so households are not encouraged to comply
within this extended period. The Government should use that
time to implement a thorough review of its plan for Irish Water,
address the concerns that have arisen about it and pay heed to
the many people who regard it as a disaster.
The Fianna Fil motion details some of the huge costs incurred in
the establishment of Irish Water. Further sums will be made
available in 2015. The Estimates we received prior to the
announcement of the budget detail a further 200 million to be
given as a capital contribution to Irish Water. One of the Ministers
might inform us what exactly that is because in previous years
we have not been able to get that detail.
The costs are far higher than we were led to believe they would
be when the Government pushed through the legislation to
establish Irish Water, from the high salaries of top executives to
bonus payments, consultancy fees and the establishment of call
centres. Government party Deputies have complained about this
in the past week or two, but they seem to forget that they
rammed through the legislation on the eve of Christmas and
those of us who tabled amendments to try to knock the rough
edges off it were shouted down and told we were negative.
Everyone wanted to get home for Christmas, the legislation was
rammed through and they went away leaving a mess behind.
The bonus payments have come under scrutiny since last
weekend and are not justified given the shambles that Irish
Water has proved to be. The managers gave themselves huge
bonus payments, up to 19% for senior management. There was
4% for ordinary workers who exceeded the targets. Senior
management took 14% for meeting targets but gave only 1.5%
for those on less than 40,000, a lower percentage of a lower
amount for the peasants. Their game is very clear.
When asked about it today, the Commission for Energy
Regulation said this was a matter for the board of Irish Water.
The Minister should take heed because the Government has
handed over control of this very important resource and service.
It has disempowered the 31 new reformed local authorities, this
House and itself. What did we get for the 80 million paid to
consultants? Local authority and private rental tenants are in a
mess, while some meters are substandard. Surely the
consultants should have been able to figure out these problems
when paid that sort of money. We were led to believe that the
Uisce ireann contract was awarded to Bord Gis, the Mammy
and Daddy, because it had all the engineering skills and a
background in rolling out a utility service. We thought there was
a logic to that argument, but we discovered, courtesy of John
Tierney, the managing director of Irish Water, that all this money
had been blown on consultants. Why were they needed if
Mammy and Daddy, Bord Gis, already had these skills? I would
love to hear the answer to that question. It has never been
explained by Irish Water or the Government.
What does the call centre do? Is it observing a radio silence? A
member of the public spent seven days trying to get through to
it. This person is on the phone most days in the line of work but
could not have a call returned or answered. The same applies to
the Oireachtas helpline, which, although it may be a bit faster,
poses serious difficulties. People are receiving forms addressed to
previous occupants of households and there are problems with
databases.
While I realise that a new system will have problems the scale of
the problem is huge. A massive number of people have come to
my constituency office about this, and that is just my small
corner of the world. We Deputies can relate to this because it is
similar to the Health Service Executive which responds by saying
that our questions have been received and will be responded to
in due course. I am not attacking those at the other end of the
telephone line because I suspect that in most cases they do not
have the answer. They are fronting for the geniuses behind the
scenes who have set up this structure.
What will happen at the end of 2016, when the current
allowances, the rate per litre, and the household and child
allowances will be reviewed, along with the rebate to people on
social welfare and the tax credits? What will be the level of
household charges then? The regulator has said that the average
charge without subvention will be 594 and could be higher,
given how Uisce ireann is spending money. Will the EU
framework directive be used to ram that average charge down
the throats of taxpayers? The allowances and budget concessions
were conceived as a means to get people through a general
election, especially the comrades in the Labour Party. What will
happen after the general election late next year or in early 2016?
I call on the Government to go back to the drawing board with
this project which was ill-conceived. It is no harm for the
Government to admit it went down the wrong road. We can all
make mistakes. This was a huge mistake. Unfortunately, the
Government did not listen to the advice from this side of the
House or from economists and others involved in governance
who critically questioned it. The Governments colleagues in local
government have been questioning it this week in their council
chambers. They claim to be in revolt because they are getting a
pasting from the electorate about it. The Government has taken
away democracy.
There are some examples in other countries of services being
taken out of the hands of corporate structures and put back
under the remit of local councils and municipalities.
There is precedent for that. The Government has gone down the
wrong road in this case. This is a monster that cannot be
handled. This is not the ESB. This is not Bord na Mna. This is
not the old Department of Posts and Telegraphs. It is none of
those. This is a different baby that the Government has created.
It has turned into a monster and it needs to be stopped in its
gallop.
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9:10 pm
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Pearse Doherty (Donegal South West, Sinn Fein)Link to this: Individually


| In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
I was listening to the Minister, Deputy Alan Kelly, talking about
his grand vision. He repeatedly used the word "vision". It struck
me that I was listening to a Labour Party Minister in a Labour
Party-Fine Gael Government. I was wondering what the founding
father of the labour movement would have thought of his vision.
The vision the Minister spoke about in this Chamber is different
from the vision that many ordinary people in this State have. As
they see it, a Labour Party Minister is imposing additional charges
on people who are already struggling to pay for the austerity
measures that were imposed on them by this Government and its
predecessor, which was led by Fianna Fil. The vision they fear is
the bill from Irish Water dropping through their letterboxes next
January. They are wondering which they will have to compromise
on over the next few months in order to pay the Irish Water bill.
That is the vision of the Labour Party. That was the vision of the
Minister, Deputy Kelly, when he stood up proudly in the Chamber
this evening. That is the problem with all of this. It was the
problem with the Fianna Fil motion. It is not surprising that
Fianna Fil is wobbling on this issue, while sticking to its
principles of imposing a water tax on people who cannot afford
such a tax even though they have been paying for water through
general taxation for many decades.
The Government does not understand that people are saying
they simply do not have the money to pay for water. Regardless
of what way the Government asks for it, or what way it dresses
this up, people simply do not have the money. It is simply not
there. It is another burden that will be placed on people. It really
surprises me that this Government got out of touch with the
public so quickly. We experienced the same thing in the last
Administration, when a Government led by Fianna Fil was
completely out of touch with ordinary people. Its members were
living in their own bubble or silo. They were completely unaware
of what was happening. This Government has become
spectacularly out of touch with people within a very short period
of time. It fails to understand where people are at. It fails to
understand that people are asking chemists which of their
medications they really need because they cannot afford the
prescription charges for them all. It fails to understand that
people are homeless because they cannot afford to rent houses.
An individual who contacted me yesterday has been homeless for
14 days because the bank took possession of his house. He
cannot get any emergency accommodation. He was being kept in
bed and breakfasts and hotels, but the local authority has said it
cannot do that anymore. The Government is failing to understand
where people are at.
Deputy Stanley referred to Irish Water as a "monster" that has
been created. The Government washed its hands of the payment
of 80 million to consultants by saying that the former Minister,
Phil Hogan, is over in Europe now. The Government and the
Taoiseach claim to have nothing to do with the bonus culture
within Irish Water. When the Taoiseach and the Labour Party
were on this side of the House, they rightly decried the bonus
culture within the banks. The Government of the day was forced
to introduce a protocol which said that no bonuses could be paid.
Indeed, in cases of contractual bonuses that could not be
scuppered or cancelled, a clawback measure was included in the
Finance Bill to apply to any bonus that might be paid. This is
possible if the political will is there. Some new revelations in this
regard came out today, as they are doing every day. We learned
that information given to Irish Water in confidence about people
who are willing to pay these water charges was given to third
parties. We know of at least ten individuals whose bank details
were given to landlords. In all sincerity, who in their right mind
would give personal details to Irish Water, in light of the manner
in which it has abused very sensitive information so far?
The Taoiseach misleads the Dil time and time again when he
says that every child in the State will have a free water
allocation. I would like to nail this one to the mast and show it for
what it is. Only children who are in receipt of child benefit will get
the free water allowance. Some categories of children will not get
it. As early school leavers - 16 and 17 year olds - do not get child
benefit, they will not get the free water allowance. Returning
emigrants who cannot satisfy the habitual residency clause will
not get the allowance. Children whose parents work in the North
or in another European jurisdiction and do not get a top-up of
child benefit will not get the allowance. This is not hypothetical. I
know of a family in Letterkenny, with four children consuming
water, on which a charge of an additional 408 will be imposed.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |
In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Thank you, Deputy. I ask you to conclude.
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Pearse Doherty (Donegal South West, Sinn Fein)Link to this: Individually


| In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
I could go on about the mn t and other issues. The Government
is unwilling to listen.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Thank you, Deputy. Your time is up.
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Pearse Doherty (Donegal South West, Sinn Fein)Link to this: Individually


| In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
It needs to listen to the people, take notice of the right to water
marches that will take place in every village and town, and scrap
the water charges.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |
In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
You are eating into other Members' time.
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Paul Murphy (Dublin South West, Socialist Party)Link to this: Individually


| In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
I would like to share time with Deputy Fitzmaurice.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Is that agreed? Agreed.
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Paul Murphy (Dublin South West, Socialist Party)Link to this: Individually


| In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
There has been a lot of talk in the last few days about
communication problems. I am sure many people at home will
have been very reassured to hear the Minister, Deputy Kelly,
saying earlier that "the brand of Irish Water must be repositioned
in the public mind". That will ease people's worries about their
inability to pay the water charges. Apparently, the problem is
simply that Irish Water has insufficiently communicated how
grateful we all should be to pay 500 a year for water, on top of
what we already pay. We are being told that if we pay water
charges, investment in water infrastructure will automatically
increase. We know that the opposite happened in Britain.
Contrary to the experience with bin charges and despite people's
widespread instinctive understanding, it has been suggested that
if water charges are implemented, water charges will not
increase and privatisation will not inevitably flow. I would like to
make it clear to the Government that it is not the manner in
which the latest austerity robbery is taking place that is the real
problem. The real problem is the robbery itself. Irish Water, with
all the powers it has, is the Frankenstein creation of the
Government. Its specific purpose is to impose this bondholders'
charge on people and to prepare for privatisation. The
communications problem here is a problem of the Government,
which is wilfully refusing to listen to the 100,000 people who took
to the streets on the Saturday before last, to the people who
voted in the by-elections earlier this month, or to the 1 million
people, representing two thirds of households, who have refused
to send back the so-called application pack.
I would like to spell out the message clearly. Working people
across the country do not want these water charges. They do not
want some false concessions that will be taken away in the
future. They do not want a temporary postponement that will be
used to prepare for a more vigorous imposition of these charges
in the future. They are demanding the abolition of these water
charges and the disbandment of Irish Water. All the indications
are that they are prepared to mobilise to achieve that demand. It
is extremely significant that 1 million Irish Water forms are still
outstanding. There is talk of extending the deadline, but it has
already been extended. It was extended on 30 September by the
Commission for Energy Regulations in its documents. It is simply
a ruse to try to get people into the system. The Government and
Irish Water are running scared on this issue. Those who have
received the Irish Water forms at home should take confidence.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
I thank the Deputy.
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Paul Murphy (Dublin South West, Socialist Party)Link to this: Individually


| In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
They should tear them up. They should send them back in
protest.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
I ask the Deputy to resume his seat.
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Paul Murphy (Dublin South West, Socialist Party)Link to this: Individually


| In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
If we refuse to register and refuse to pay, we will beat these
water charges.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
I ask the Deputy to respect the House. That type of gesture is
inappropriate in the House.
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Joe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)Link to this: Individually | In


context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
It is very respectful-----
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
It is not, Deputy Higgins.
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Joe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)Link to this: Individually | In


context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
-----to bring the concerns of 1 million householders in here.
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Jerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)Link to this: Individually |


In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Thank you, Deputy Higgins. You are here long enough to know
the rules of the House as well as I do.
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Joe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)Link to this: Individually | In


context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
Yes. It is very respectful to bring the concerns of 1 million
householders in here.
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Michael Fitzmaurice (Roscommon-South Leitrim, Independent)Link to


this: Individually | In context 1415055600, 1488324909 | Oireachtas source
I am not going to harp on about Irish Water. We know that its
public relations set-up and everything else about it has been in
trouble from its very concept. It is really a farce. As I listened to
the debate all night, I heard everybody talking about water. We
have got to realise that if we talk about water as a commodity,
we are going down a dangerous road. The service of water is
what we should be on about. As the chairman of a group water
scheme, I put in meters along with the rest of the committee ten
years ago. We found that to be a great success in conserving
water. The first thing one must do before one talks about
charging for water is get water quality right. When I was in
Cloonfad, Ballaghaderreen, Boyle and Strokestown yesterday
evening, there was not one glass of water. I have often taken
water out of a bog hole to put into a machine that was of a better
quality than the water those people are being asked to drink.
I can see a few problems that need to be addressed straightaway
as part of the whole water debacle.
9 o’clock

People do not want to give their PPS numbers. The Minister


should declare that Jack, Tom, Mary, Keith or whatever the
person's name is fine for filling in the forms.
Proper allowances are needed. After ten years of working on a
voluntary water scheme, the Government has decided to cut the
amount of water that people need to meet their basic human
rights. A family of two adults and two children needs
approximately 140 cu. m. The system's administration will cost a
great deal of money, as it involves the Government spending on
social welfare payments to which people are entitled as well as
on the Revenue staff engaged in it. This is like asking someone to
buy a crashed car for what the full price would be were it fixed.
Another problem came to my attention today. Where there is no
supply of water from Irish Water and people are boring private
wells, a new requirement has been included in their planning
permissions by local councils whereby they must connect to the
network when Irish Water eventually comes to the area. This is
wrong. Account must also be taken of rainwater harvesting. Be it
for six months or a year, the Government should stand back, get
this project right, ensure that people are treated right and listen
to them.
https://www.kildarestreet.com/debates/?id=2014-10-21a.478&s=
%22ambitious%22+section%3Adebates#g536
Department of Environment, Community
and Local Government
Irish Water Expenditure
end .main
All Written Answers on 23 Sep 2014
Previous answer
Next answer
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Aengus Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)Link to this:


Individually | In context 1412636400, 1488325012 | Oireachtas source
494. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and
Local Government the amount of the 539 million loan from
the National Pensions Reserve Fund to Uisce ireann that
has been spent to date. [35470/14]

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Aengus Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)Link to this:


Individually | In context 1412636400, 1488325012 | Oireachtas source
497. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and
Local Government the estimated total capital investment
spend on water and sewerage services in 2015; and if he
will provide a breakdown identifying each funding source.
[35473/14]

end .main

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Aengus Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)Link to this:


Individually | In context 1412636400, 1488325012 | Oireachtas source
498. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and
Local Government the amount it will cost to provide water
and sewerage services in 2015; and the anticipated revenue
to be raised respectively through domestic household
charges, non-domestic charges and other streams.
[35474/14]

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Alan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)Link to this: Individually | In context


1412636400, 1488325012 | Oireachtas source
I propose to take Questions Nos. 494, 497 and 498 together.

The establishment of Irish Water is an integral component of the


Governments water sector reform strategy and involves major
organisational change, an entirely new funding structure
governed by economic regulation, the introduction of domestic
water charges based on usage and the roll-out of a national
domestic metering programme. Bord Gis ireann (BGE) had
responsibility for most of the deliverables under the Government
water sector reform implementation strategy including the
establishment of a fully functioning integrated public water utility
and the roll-out of the national domestic water metering
programme (the estimated cost of the metering programme is
539m excluding VAT). Some 250m in loan finance has been
advanced to Irish Water to date by the National Pensions Reserve
Fund in order to finance this expenditure.

The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) has recently


reviewed the Irish Water submission in relation to its costs over
the regulatory review period, which runs from 1 October 2014 to
the end of 2016, to ensure that only efficient costs are recovered
from customers. This will result in an allowed revenue for Irish
Water of 2,078million over the period. Irish Water has published
its proposed Capital Investment Plan 2014-2016 and this is
available online at

Irish Water will fund its activities with revenue from a number of
sources including domestic and non-domestic water charges,
Government subvention, commercial borrowing and equity
investment. Domestic water charges will commence with effect
from 1 October 2014 and Irish Water will issue the first bills to
domestic customers from January 2015. The approach to
charging was outlined by Irish Water in their Water Charges Plan
(WCP) submitted to the CER in line with the provisions of the
Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013.

As part of the CERs recent consultation process on the Irish


Water WCP it proposed a range of domestic tariffs which would
result in an average annual charge of 238 per household. The
amount billed to domestic customers for the year 2015 based on
this charging structure would be in the order of 300 million and
the amount billed to non-domestic customers would be some
230 million.

The CER is currently reviewing submissions received during the


consultation and a final determination on water charges will be
made by the CER later this month. Full details of the CER public
consultation are available on .

Irish Water has confirmed to my Department that it has


established a dedicated team to deal with representations and
queries from public representatives. The team can be contacted
via email to

or by telephone on 1890 278 278.


https://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2014-09-23a.1331&s=
%2235470%2F14%22+section%3Awrans#g1332.q

Thoughts on the funding of water


services
Posted on November 05, 2014 by Tom McDonnell

Next week the NERI will be holding a seminar on the topical


issue of water charges (detail are here). In advance of the
seminar, this blog provides some thoughts on funding water
services in Ireland.
Access to clean and affordable water is a human right. Yet
there is no such thing as free water. On an annual basis, the
provision of water and wastewater services costs in excess of
1 billion. Water is difficult to transport and a consistent and
secure supply of clean water is expensive to provide. Indeed
the provision of water and waste water services requires the
construction, maintenance, operation and improvement of
expensive network infrastructure. The question isnt whether
we should pay for water and wastewater services but how we
should pay for them.
We can pay for water through taxes or tariffs or both. Until
2014 water and waste water services for domestic users were
mainly paid for out of monies raised from general taxation (e.g.
VAT and income tax) which was allocated as subsidies from
central government to local governments.
At the moment it appears that the funding model for 2015 is
533 million from the Local Government Fund, 305 million
from domestic water charges and 230 million from non-
domestic (mainly commercial) water charges. In addition, there
will be 222 million allocated as an equity investment by the
Irish government in Irish Water. The equity investment wont
count towards the deficit and wont count for the purposes of
determining Irish Waters total revenue.
Irish Waters estimated 535 million revenue from charges
(305 million + 230 million) exceeds the government
subvention of 533 million and this places Irish Water off the
books. This enables the classification of the 222 million as an
equity investment that doesnt count towards the deficit.
Overall Irish Water will receive circa 1.29 billion in 2015. The
total off-books is 757 million (305 million + 230 million +
222 million) and the total on-books is 533 million.
Spending on water and wastewater will be close to 1.3 billion
in 2015 circa 700 million in operational expenditure and
circa 600 million in capital expenditure.
The improvement in the 2015 deficit arising from the
introduction of domestic water charges appears to be the 757
million less the 230 million in non-domestic charges (which
were an increase in revenue for the purposes of the deficit). If
this is correct, the improvement therefore seems to be around
527 million. This figure does not include the cost of the
various social protection measures introduced to help offset
the burden of water charges (e.g. the increase in the
household benefits package and the new water tax credit).
These measures are collectively well in excess of 100 million.
So who is scheduled to pay for water in 2015? The government
sector (general taxation) is contributing 755 million (58.5%),
the household sector is contributing 305 million (23.6%) and
the non-domestic sector is contributing 230 million (17.8%).
Are water charges fair? Will the current structure increase
poverty? I will discuss these issues at the seminar next
Wednesday
Of course the reality is that this issue is far from resolved.

http://www.nerinstitute.net/blog/2014/11/05/thoughts-on-the-
funding-of-water-services/
Water Charges, Water Poverty and Water Credits
http://www.nerinstitute.net/download/pdf/water_model_inbrief.pdf
Summary
Until October of 2014 water and wastewater services in Ireland
were funded through general taxation with an additional
contribution from commercial rates. Usage based water
charges take effect from October for residential households
and are expected to raise close to 370 million on an annual
basis. Charges based on use should improve water
conservation as well as the economic efficiency of water use.
However, consumption charges are regressive, impact
disproportionately on low income households and raise
affordability concerns. The current system of free allowances is
expensive, poorly targeted and economically inefficient.
Alternative models are described, including a water credit
model to alleviate water poverty, and a zero free allowance
model to generate a more progressive distribution of the cost
of water service provision. These options are discussed in the
context of the current regime; a changed water regime may be
able to more effectively deal with issues of water poverty,
affordability, efficiency and conservation.
Key Points
c Water policy pursues multiple objectives. These include
affordability and social concerns, environmental sustainability,
financial sustainability and economic efficiency.
c Moving the funding model from general taxation to user
charges reduces the progressivity of the overall system of
taxes and benefits, and raises issues of water affordability and
water poverty.
c Using universal free allowances to reduce the average
tariff level over the population is costly and reduces the scope
for targeted affordability measures for lower income groups.
c The most economically efficient way to protect vulnerable
households and to prevent hardship is to supplement the
capacity to pay of low-income households through direct cash
transfers or some other income supplement.
In the longer-term the universal free allowance
system should be completely replaced by a system of income
related water credits. This would best protect low income
households.
http://www.nerinstitute.net/research/water-charges-water-poverty-
and-water-credits/
Inequality" category An Irish Wealth Tax Posted on December 21,
2016
http://www.fiscalcouncil.ie/wp-
content/uploads/2016/11/FAR_301116_Final.pdf

Slides from NERI Seminar- Summary of Social Housing Assessments


2016 Posted on February 28, 2017
https://www.housingagency.ie/Housing/media/Media/Publications/Su
mmary-of-Social-Housing-Assessment-Needs-2016.pdf
Apple case points up even more serious issues, Innovative
Competence, How does the Republic of Ireland Fare and does it
Matter? Posted on February 24, 2017
http://www.nerinstitute.net/download/pdf/innovation_working_paper.
pdf?issuusl=ignore

Apple case points up even more


serious issues
Posted on February 24, 2017

Tom Healy, Director NERI


Which Government, when offered the chance and opportunity
to take in 13 billion in additional tax revenues declined the
offer and, instead commenced a lengthy and potentially costly
legal appeal to contest this? You guessed. With 13billion a
society broken and fractured by years of lopsided fiscal
austerity could do a lot of things like:
c Establish a European class early childhood care system.
c Abolish homelessness (yes it can be done and has been done).
c Establish a single-tier public and free-at-the-point-of entry
European National Health Service.
c Invest in a European class water infrastructure to update the
creaking 19th century piping system feeding into our major
cities.
And more besides
It is not suggested, here, that the Government did not want
13 billion extra in revenue (think of all the tax cuts that many
would like to see implemented!). Rather, such is the passion,
conviction and vulnerability of Consensus Ireland in relation to
the matter of corporate tax in general and the infamous Apple
case, in particular, that not only the Government of the day but
a broad swathe of political and public opinion is firmly on the
side of contesting the European Commission on this much to
the amazement and consternation of many including senior
European politicians. The view taken by many, in Ireland, is
that potentially huge sums of money by way of a windfall
receipts may be sacrificed on the altar of Irish corporate tax
policy and practice. That this is so points to a deep unease in
Irish enterprise policy. Why do we place so much reliance on
tax policy when we are likely to be fighting a losing battle as
the new realities of Trump, Brexit and tax competition spread
everywhere? Not to be outdone, a leading politician in Northern
Ireland has recently advocated a 10% corporate tax in
Northern Ireland to undercut a 12.5% proposed by others for
the whole island of Ireland. Are there any takers on the
southern side of the border for a lower than 10% rate? Why not
0%? The consistent argument of the new Right since the
1980s is that tax cuts pay for themselves by stimulating more
economic activity, effort and enterprise (a claim largely
unsubstantiated by the empirical evidence).
However, two commendations are in order:
To the Irish Government for recently convening a High-level
Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on the theme of Corporate Tax:
Fairness, Responsibility and Leadership
To the European Commission and Margrethe Westager,
European Commissioner, on Competition and her hard-working
and courageous team of experts and officials in pursuing the
matter of State Aid.
There ends the commendations!
The elaborate, complex and immoral practice of tax avoidance
by large multinational companies is well known and
documented. The use of elaborate and confusing arguments by
the defenders of such tax avoidance to defend the indefensible
is also well known and documented. The matter which
concerns Irish policy makers and the general public is not
whether this is moral or not (clearly it is immoral because such
practices deprive citizens in many parts of the globe vital
resources to meet vital public service needs and social
investment). What concerns public interest, here, is whether or
not the relevant Irish public authorities were complicit, under
European law, in facilitating unfavourable tax treatment. The
issue is not about tax competition per se. Rather, through
special arrangements, it is claimed, the Irish Government was
complicit in favouring a particular firm over others. This would
be against European competition law. In case it might be
thought that the European Commission is out to get Ireland
because of ulterior motivations stemming from certain large
Member State envy or Ireland general approach on corporate
tax it must be pointed out that the Commission has targeted
other egregious cases of tax avoiding behaviour implicating
countries such as Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands
(see Fair Competition and a level playing field ). A potentially
dangerous development would be the invasion of British
Eurosceptic tabloid claims about Franco-German hegemony
over little nations. If there is at least one positive aspect of the
European Union it lies in its capacity to coordinate at
international level laws and rules about these matters. In the
absence of a multilateral and multinational approach the
multinational will continue to run rings around national
governments and tax authorities taking advantage of every
loophole and difference in tax provision to avoid paying tax.
Three cheers for the European Union on the issue of corporate
tax, state aid under the guise of selective tax treatment and
coordinated action to harmonise the tax base. The final
decision of the European Commission (which is extremely
difficult to find on the web is here ).
BEPS?
But what about the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)
initiative of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD)? Is not this an adequate approach and
one in which most countries including Ireland are bought into?
BEPS is not without its critics. Some argue that it does not go
far enough, quickly enough and evenly. But, it is a start. The
stated aim of BEPS is to allocate the corporate tax base in a
fair and transparent way to properly reflect the location of a
given economic activity. However, BEPS had no legal binding.
This is where a body such as the EU has the potential to make
a difference (especially as the UK is almost surely exiting).
Reputation counts
A critical factor in future enterprise policy, in Ireland, is the
issue of reputation. Whatever the arguments (and it will be
argued that the problem is not Irelands but that of the US and
other countries who have not reformed their tax laws) it is
clear that Ireland Inc. has taken a battering on the issue of tax.
This is not good for political good will and long-term strategic
alliances. The point should not be missed especially as much
will be on the negotiating table over the next 24 months ahead
of Brexit2019.
A cynic might comment that if only the public authorities, here,
were as passionate and diligent about resisting EU
encroachments on our fiscal and banking policy in 2008-2013
as it is now about facing down the EU commission on
something that appears morally indefensible (whatever the
legal, technical and political arguments) then we would be in a
better position. The real game is not what worked in the past.
It is the need to develop a strong, export-oriented, high-
productivity, high-skill and resilient domestic enterprise sector.
Notwithstanding spectacular successes in a number of sectors
and firms we are still left with what I call the weak link in Irish
capitalism the dominance of low-productivity enterprises with
a insufficient capacity to capture world market niches in areas
such as food, energy and business services. Turning this
situation around and adopting a plan B enterprise strategy to
see us through the first half of this century will take years of
work, preparation, capacity-building, mind-set adapting and
changes in the way enterprises are run. This is the boring year-
in year out stuff and is much less newsworthy than the latest
big numbers scandal or upcoming marginal budgetary changes
within some notional fiscal space that could evaporate as
quickly as GDP bounces back or forward with one company
reshoring its intellectual property. An example of much needed
forward strategic enterprise thinking is contained, for example,
in the recent NERI Working Paper published by my colleague,
Dr Tom McDonnell [Innovative Competence, How does the
Republic of Ireland fare and does it Matter?]
The official line of defence on Apple continues to be that it has
nothing to do with us. In brief, the claim is that the Irish
branches of Apple Sales International (ASI)
and Apple Operations Europe (AOE) merely carried out routine
functions and all important decisions were made by Apple in
the USA. Taxes were levied by the Irish authorities on profits
attributable to ASI and AOE and not profits that were stateless
or properly attributable to Apple activities in the US.
The European Commission line is summarised as follows:
the tax rulings issued by Ireland endorsed an artificial
allocation of Apple Sales International and Apple Operations
Europe's sales profits to their "head offices", where they were
not taxed. As a result, the tax rulings enabled Apple to pay
substantially less tax than other companies, which is illegal
under EU state aid rules.
As the Taoiseach said on 1st February concerning Apple:
It is a subject of a court process at European level and will go
on for a number of years.
http://www.nerinstitute.net/blog/2017/02/24/apple-case-points-up-
even-more-serious-issues/

Fairness and the fight for equal opportunities


are fundamentals in Europe. We like
competition when it is fair and based on the
merits: the quality of your product, the prices
and the services you give. That is why the
Single Market of more than 500 million
potential customers is so attractive - it is an
open and level playing field and you have a
fair chance of making it if you play by the
rules. And for those who do not play by the
rules we are even-handed and enforce EU
competition law consistently. And we are
both the European Commission and the
national competition authorities.
An important part of our European
competition law is state aid control. By
enforcing EU state aid rules, the Commission
plays a key role in enabling a level playing
field. State aid control has been part of our
common rulebook since the very beginning,
when EU member countries signed the
original Treaty of Rome back in 1957. And
these rules apply to all companies that do
business in the EUs Single Market, regardless
of size, sector or nationality.
The goal is clear: national governments
cannot distort competition in the EU Single
Market by giving an unfair competitive
advantage to a particular company that its
rivals cannot enjoy. State aid rules protect
fair competition based on merits and
European taxpayers.
Following its in-depth investigation of two tax
rulings issued by Ireland to Apple, the
Commission concluded last month that these
rulings gave Apple a selective advantage
over other companies. It artificially reduced
the tax bill of two Irish Apple companies. This
is illegal State aid.
Apple now has to pay the unpaid tax since
2003, which amounts to up to 13 billion,
plus interest. This does not penalise the
company in question with a retroactive fine
but simply restores equal treatment with
other companies and so a level playing field
for competition.
We have also concluded investigations
concerning tax rulings in Luxembourg
regarding Fiat, the Netherlands regarding
Starbucks and a scheme in Belgium
benefitting 35 mostly European companies.
In those cases, too, we found that a select
few were given a more favourable tax
treatment than others.
Of course, Member States can design their
own tax systems and set their corporate tax
rates. State aid rules do not interfere with
this right. What is at stake here is the equal
treatment of companies. In this context, it
does not matter whether the advantage
takes the form of a subsidy or a reduced tax
bill. Indeed, the Commission has taken a
series of tax state aid decisions addressed to
Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,
Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,
Spain, Sweden and the UK stretching back to
1998.
So, the Commissions decisions concerning
tax rulings are only the most recent
application of rules that have been in place
for a long time.
The good news is that most tax rulings are
used in a legitimate way. We have asked all
our Member States for tax rulings when they
issue tax rulings, and have already looked at
more than a thousand different rulings in the
last three years. Most of them are designed
to give companies clarity about what tax laws
mean, not to help them avoid tax. But where
they give a company illegal tax benefits, EU
state aid rules come into play.
Looking ahead, the ultimate goal is that all
companies, big or small, pay tax where they
generate their profits. EU state aid rules
alone cannot achieve this. We need a change
in corporate philosophies and the right
legislation to address loopholes and ensure
transparency.
Today, base erosion and profit shifting is
estimated to cost up to US$ 240 billion a
year, or up to 10% of the worlds corporate
income tax revenues. Global tax avoidance is
a huge problem and a growing global
concern. We need to close loopholes. A lot
more coordination is needed to tackle these
issues. The EU, the US and their international
partners must work together, because fair
taxation is dependent on international
cooperation. That is the only way we can
avoid mismatches between our national tax
laws.
At last weeks G20 in Hangzhou, China, the
leaders repeated their commitment to join
their efforts for fairer taxation. Its a
commitment that has already produced
important results. The G20 countries
endorsement of OECD recommendations to
limit tax base erosion and profit shifting is a
positive step.
This is also high on the agenda in the EU. The
Commission is pursuing a clear strategy
towards fair taxation and greater
transparency, which has already produced
real change for the better: For example, EU
Member States have last year agreed to
automatically exchange information on tax
rulings and produce country-by-country
reporting of tax-related financial information
of multinationals. But we want to go even
further: in order to shed light on tax rulings
that were previously in the dark, we are
pushing for public country-by-country
reporting that would make this information
also available to the public - citizens as well
as the press.
This is the context for the recent state aid
decisions taken by the European Commission
-and our ongoing work. I hope our
enforcement action will help keep the playing
field level and competition fair. And I hope
that we will all keep up the momentum for
European and world leaders to follow up on
the common objectives to tackle global tax
avoidance and pursue in earnest the
common objective of having companies pay
tax where they make profits. Because fair
taxation enables our societies to give you a
fair chance and create equal opportunities so
no one is left behind.
State aid: Ireland gave illegal tax benefits to
Apple worth up to 13 billion
Brussels, 30 August 2016
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-2923_en.htm

Congress Pre Budget Submission


17 Jul 2014
CONGRESS PROPOSES REFUNDABLE TAX CREDITS, REDUCED
WATER CHARGES FOR LOWER AND MIDDLE INCOME
FAMILIES AND SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT IN SOCIAL AND
AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Net adjustment of 800 million only needed to reach 3%


deficit target.

Five year social housing programme urgently needed.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has proposed to Government


that it introduce refundable tax credits and reduced water charges
to help people on lower and middle incomes and that it should
invest in a significant social and affordable housing programme.
These proposals were contained in Congresss pre-budget
submission A Budget for Jobs, Homes and Growth which was
launched this morning at Congresss head office in Dublin.

In relation to the overall budgetary arithmetic, David Begg said that


Congress does not accept the wisdom of a 2 billion adjustment in
2015 and also does not agree that the bulk of the adjustment
should continue to fall on cuts to public spending. Mr Begg says that
a better outcome can be achieved in terms of equity, growth and
employment by pursuing the following three-point plan:

_ A net budgetary adjustment of 800 million based on reforms to tax


expenditures, increased employers PRSI on incomes over
100,000, increased excise duties on tobacco, sugar, salt and
saturated fat, a tax on online betting, reform of Capital Acquisitions
Tax as well as the introduction of a Net Wealth Tax;

An increase of 400 million in social spending to be invested in


social housing, improvements in the household benefits package,
mental health services and various community supports;
7 An off-book investment package funded through the Strategic
Investment Fund a substantial proportion of which should be
allocated for social housing.

The Executive Council of Congress is concerned by the emerging


problem of social housing provision noting that its roots lie in an ill-
judged withdrawal from construction by local authorities over the
last 20 years. Congress is calling for a reversal of this policy and an
ambitious programme to provide for all social housing needs over
five years.

David Begg welcomed the announcement of a 300 billion


investment package by the incoming EU President, Jean-Claude
Juncker, involving funding by public-private partnerships, the EU
and the European Investment Bank saying:

There has been a private investment strike in Europe and the


public sector has been unable to fill the gap because of debt. Public
sector capital expenditure has all but disappeared in Ireland;
certainly it is amongst the lowest levels in Europe. We urgently
need to reverse this trend.

David Begg also said that in order for Ireland to meet the 3%
budget deficit target in 2015 a net adjustment of 800 million would
be required in the budget. On this basis, Mr Begg said that there is
no room for tax cuts in 2015 as any such cuts would have to be
funded by a tax increase elsewhere.

While there is no room for an overall cut in taxes in Budget 2015


tax reform in the shape of refundable tax credits would be beneficial
on employment and equity grounds. On the other hand an increase
in the standard rate tax band or a reduction in the marginal income
tax rate would be a highly inefficient way of increasing aggregate
demand, would not benefit the majority of PAYE taxpayers and
would be regressive. Introducing refundable tax credits would cost
the same as increasing the standard rate threshold for income tax
by just 1,000.

Mr Begg outlined Congresss thinking behind this proposal.

The current system of tax credits has a limited impact for many
low-paid workers who do not earn sufficient income to use up their
full tax credits. The introduction of refundable tax credits would
tackle this issue as the unused portion of their tax credits would be
refunded to such workers. A study undertaken for Social Justice
Ireland identified that 130,000 low-paid workers and their families
would benefit from refundable tax credits.
David Begg said that Government must be very cautious in how it
handles the introduction of water charges.

Access to water is a human right. Moving from paying for water


services through general taxation to a system of regressive user
charges risks plunging vulnerable households into water poverty.
The announced system of free allowances is by itself wholly
insufficient to prevent households from falling into water poverty as
well as being an inefficient and expensive policy tool.

If water charges are to be introduced then the already announced


free allowance will have to be supplemented by a system of water
credits or cash transfers for lower and middle income families.
Congress proposes that only those households with a gross income
of at least 80,000 should have a net household water charge in
2015.

David Begg concluded by saying that Congress plan for Budget


2015 would protect the most vulnerable communities and
individuals in Irish society while being supportive of jobs and
growth.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:


Pat Montague, Montague Communications, 087-2549123
http://www.ictu.ie/press/2014/07/17/congress-pre-budget-
submission/

Constitution and Rules


Workers and Unemployed
Action
Constitution and Rules
Introduction
The constitution and rules of Workers and Unemployed
Action are set out in this document.
Workers and Unemployed Action Group (South Tipperary)
decided to organise on a national basis at its Annual
General Meeting held in September 2012. The
organisation has been registered as a national political
party under the name Workers and Unemployed Action.
It was agreed that this would be the best way of making a
further contribution to the political reorganisation of Irish
working and unemployed people on a principled basis.
Already WUAG is the biggest political labour movement
organisation in South Tipperary having a Dil deputy and
eight local authority seats. It is the biggest single party on
Clonmel Borough Corporation holding five of the twelve
seats. It has strongly out-polled the Labour Party in all
recent general elections and by elections. It emerged from
the local trade union movement over twenty years ago,
initially, as a campaign for jobs and tax equity. Thereafter,
it was found necessary to organise on an open political
basis because the regular participation of the Labour Party
in coalition amounted to a betrayal of workers interests
which made it impossible to maintain a growing political
organisation of workers.
WUAG has always been strongly influenced by the
teachings of James Connolly. It was at the Irish Trade Union
Congress AGM held in Clonmel in 1912, that Larkin and
Connolly proposed the formation of an All-Ireland Labour
Party base on trade unions north and south.
It is now 100 years since that historic event. Nationally,
the state of effective political organisation of Irish workers
in their own interest is now as low as it has ever been.
In response to the current unprecedented attacks on
working people and the loss of even limited national
sovereignty, it was decided that a further step forward
was necessary and urgent at this time. All those,
committed to the principles outlined in the constitution set
out below and are prepared to work for their attainment
who are resident in the 32-counties of Ireland are now
invited to apply for membership.
The constitution and structure set out below does not
purport to be a finished document. WUAG is not just
another left-wing sect. It is a mass organisation of working
people albeit in a single constituency. It does not attempt
to impose a finished political programme or an ideology on
those who wish to join. Those joining will have an
opportunity to change or make additions to its constitution
and structure through motions proposed at the Annual
General Meeting. The document below represents the
minimum with which new members must agree to be
eligible for membership. It reflects current agreed thinking
in WUAG with structures altered to facilitate organisation
on a national basis
It is fair to say that opposition to participation in coalition
governments with conservative parties and refusal to
participate in unnecessary travel and conferences
(junkets) paid from public funds have been the bedrock
of its success to date and these positions will be
maintained into the future. These bedrock positions held
by the organisation are in the context of a wider
commitment to Irish unity, independence and socialism in
the Connolly tradition.
Workers and Unemployed Action
Constitution and Rules
Constitution
Preamble
The politics of Workers and Unemployed Action is rooted
in the heritage of James Connolly, who was martyred for
his participation in the 1916 Rising. We share his
commitment to socialist principles and international
solidarity with workers of all countries and oppressed
peoples everywhere. His determination as a pioneering
trade union organiser and his opposition to early signs of
bureaucratisation of the trade union movement inspire us.
We are committed to the restoration to the Irish trade
union movement of the kind of leadership he gave it. His
successful proposal, with James Larkin, of the founding of
an All-Ireland Party of Labour based on the Trade unions in
1912 was a historic step forward for Irish workers. WUA is
committed to the rebuilding of an all Ireland party of
workers on a principled basis.
We share the view of James Connolly that a united all-
Ireland republic is profoundly in the interest of all Irish
workers.
We are proud of his participation in the 1916 rising and his
input into the 1916 Proclamation of an All-Ireland
democratic republic and his steadfast opposition to the
partition of Ireland before his death. We recognise the
Democratic Programme of the first All-Ireland Dil, which
was influenced by the 1916 proclamation, as a historic
step towards Irish Unity, Independence and Democracy.
The rejection, in practice, by all pro-establishment parties
of key pillars of the Programme is a betrayal of the
objectives of those who signed the 1916 Proclamation.
1. With James Connolly, Workers and Unemployed Action is
committed to achieving Irish Unity, Independence and
Socialism. It is opposed to any intrusion on the
sovereignty of the Irish people.
2. WUA supports and defends Irish military neutrality
3. WUA supports the struggles of workers, unemployed
and oppressed people all over the world.
4. It is dedicated to advancing the political reorganisation
of the working class on an All-Ireland basis in a united all-
Ireland party of workers.
5. It is opposed to coalition or collaboration with
conservative parties in Government or other public
authorities as a matter of principle.
6. Members of WUA will not participate in travel paid from
public funds (junkets) and will oppose provision for this
in local authority estimates and budgets.
7. WUA fights for full employment and the right to work at
trade union rates for all.
8. WUA is opposed to cuts in pay, benefits, pensions, and
entitlements of workers and their dependants in all sectors
and it campaigns for such cuts to be restored.
9. WUA campaigns against cuts in public services, for the
restoration of such cuts and the enhancement of public
services generally
10. WUA fights for Tax Equity and demands the imposition
of steep taxes on the incomes and assets of the super-
rich, including tax exiles, and the alleviation of the tax
burden on those on low and middle incomes. It is opposed
to the imposition of the current household charge, the
proposed domestic dwelling tax( property tax), water
taxes and any other measures which have the effect of
increasing the tax burden on low and middle income
earners.
11. WUA is opposed to the making of repayments of
private debts to large investors or bondholders of their
investments in banks and other private institutions from
public funds and public borrowings.
12. WUA fights for the elimination of poverty and the
redistribution of wealth to those on low and middle
incomes.
13. WUA campaigns for a public health service free at the
point of use with access based solely on medical need.
14. WUA fights for Free Education for all at every level and
a state investment programme to address education
disadvantage at all levels.
15. WUA campaigns for an emergency house building
programme to ensure that all local authority housing
applicants will be housed within 12 months of their
application.
16. WUA campaigns for free high quality child care
provided by the state so that all parents can have the
option to work outside the home and to avail of education
and training.
17. WUA opposes anti-social behaviour and drug abuse
and insists on the provision of community garda on the
beat. WUA also calls for the provision of community and
sporting facilities in all communities/estates and
educational programmes at community level to address
these issues.
18. WUA fights for equality in all areas of life for all
irrespective of gender, marital status, family status, sexual
orientation, religion, age, disability, race, membership of
the travelling community.
19. WUA opposes the privatisation of state companies and
institutions, semi-state companies and banks and insists
that all banks and finance houses be fully nationalised and
integrated into the public service
20. WUA demands an effective public transport system
including an upgraded nationwide rail, bus and road
service in all parts of Ireland, including in rural areas.
Rules
1. WUA is constituted as follows:
Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Special General
Meeting (SGM)
National Management Committee
Branches
Members
2. AGM
The AGM shall be the governing body of the party and
shall meet in the month of October each year. The SGM, in
relation to the issue(s) on which it is convened shall have
the same powers as an AGM.
Motions for the AGM will be submitted one month in
advance of the AGM
Motions which have the effect of changing the constitution
or rules shall require a two thirds majority of those fully
paid up members present and voting at the AGM or SGM
to be carried. All other motions shall require a simple
majority to be carried.
Special General Meetings shall be called by the National
Management Committee or by a written requisition signed
by one third of members who are fully paid up. The SGM
shall be called for a stated purpose.
Motions for the AGM or SGM may be submitted by a
Branch or by two individual members.
Notification of the Annual General meeting together with
the agenda and nominations shall issue to each member
to reach each member not later than 14 days prior to the
date of the meeting.
3. The National Management Committee
The National Management Committee shall meet at least
once a month
The members of the national management committee and
the national officers of the party shall be elected by
proportional representation at the AGM.
To be eligible to stand for election to the above positions a
candidate must have been a paid up member of the party
for at least twelve months.
The officers shall be chairperson, secretary and treasurer.
It shall be open to the AGM to elect up to three additional
officers as it sees fit.
There shall be 20 ordinary members of the National
Management Committee in addition to the national
officers.
Two trustees shall also be elected.
Nomination of a member for election to an officer position
or to the National Management Committee shall be in
writing to the secretary. Any such nomination must be
received not later than three calendar weeks before the
date of the AGM.
The national secretary shall give an annual report to the
AGM on behalf of the National Management Committee.
The national treasurer shall give a report to each AGM on
the detailed financial position of the party.
The national chairperson shall deliver an address to the
AGM
4. Branches
Branches must have a minimum of 5 members. The
formation of a branch must be ratified by the National
Management Committee. General branch meetings will
take place at least once each month.
Branches will implement national policy at local level.
A branch may propose motions to be considered by the
National Management Committee
5. Membership
Individuals will be admitted to membership of WUA by the
national management committee on the basis of
agreement with the constitution and commitment to work
for the stated aims of the party. A candidate for
membership must be nominated by two existing
members. Members of other political parties, political
organisations and political groups shall not be eligible for
membership.
Following a hearing before a meeting of the National
Management Committee on stated charges of unworthy
conduct, a member may be expelled from the party. The
expelled member shall be entitled to personally appeal to
the following AGM which may confirm or overturn the
expulsion.
6. Dues
The current annual membership fee shall be 20 Euro per
year. This fee may be changed by decision of the AGM.
The fee shall be paid to the national treasurer on or before
July 31 each year. Any member failing to make a
contribution as set out above shall be deemed out of
compliance and shall be ineligible to vote or to hold office
within the group for a period of 13 weeks after the arrears
have been paid.
Only members who have paid their annual contribution
and who have completed 13 weeks in membership shall
be eligible to vote.
7. Representatives on Public Bodies
Members sitting on Public Bodies shall vote in line with the
policies and constitution of WUA and shall accept direction
from the National Management Committee in this regard.
All members seeking elective office shall sign a pledge
administered by the National Management Committee
8. Junkets
No member shall accept payment from public funds for
journeys outside their area of residence.
Public representatives of WUA shall vote against the
funding of such trips.
9. Candidates for Elective Office
Candidates for elective office will be selected by
proportional representation by the members in the
constituency or county council area concerned and must
be ratified by the National Management Committee. The
National Management Committee may nominate a
candidate or candidates for any elective office.
Only party members shall be eligible for nomination to
contest election to public office.
Each member nominated to contest an election to public
office or selected by the party to assume a public office
shall sign a pledge to abide by the policies of the party
and to obey the directions of the National Management
Committee
A public representative of the party who breaches the
pledge shall forthwith exclude herself/himself from
membership of the party.
Each member elected to public office shall make a
financial contribution (in addition to membership fee) to
the party as recommended by the national management
committee and decided by an AGM or SGM from time to
time.
10. Commencement
The first National AGM will be held within 6 months of the
official launch of this constitution and rules.
Until the first AGM is held the current Management
Committee of WUAG (South Tipperary) will act as the
leadership of the new party.

Text of Pledge by Candidates for Election or


nomination to Public Office
In accepting the nomination of WUA to contest this
election, I pledge that if elected I will promote the aims
and objectives of the WUA and agree to be bound by the
constitution, rules and policies of the WUA.
I understand the policy of the WUA in relation to service
charges and home or property tax and agree to oppose
and vote against any local authority Budget/Estimate or
parliamentary motion or legislative measure that includes
the imposition or implementation of these measures.
I understand the WUA position in relation to junkets and
I undertake, if elected, not to support or participate in
these.
I further pledge to make such a financial contribution to
WUA as determined from time to time by WUA for the
purpose of meeting the expenses of the party in
promoting its aims and objectives
https://wuag.wordpress.com/about/constitution-and-rules/

People Power Will Abolish


Water Charges!
February 28, 2017
I was present at the founding meeting of the Right2Water
campaign in 2014 in Leinster House and I was present again today
in Leinster House at the Oireachtas Water Committee meeting
when it became clear that a majority of members are now in favour
of abolishing these water charges and are also opposed to any
charge for so called excessive use of water.
Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Irish people took to the streets
to defeat this unfair double taxation.
While its early days yet, your opposition to these charges, your
protest, your opposition to meter installation, your non-payment
campaign has put us on the verge of an historic victory.
But beware, theres many a slip between the cup and the lip and
we must remain vigilant.
The people won on the water charges feckin ages ago!!
Once that defiant moment of clarity came and we stood
en masse and said f**k right off - that was the moment we
won...
The suits in Leinster House are chatting about this and
that and they can keep on talking... Cause who really
gives a f*ck - we made our stand - thousands upon
thousands upon thousands stood their ground - and that is
when we won.. We were defiant and didn't back down - as
a country we made a resolute choice...
The media didn't work against us - we rose above it...
Many government ministers threatened us through the
years and failed and are now gone..
They hired Irish water advisers to threaten us and they
failed too - many of them are gone too..
Their fear mongering didn't work, and by jaysus they
bullied!!
Let them pander out the incidentals and no doubt they will
throw out some last dying breaths - but be proud, very,
very proud - that each and every one of you beat them a
long time ago when you said "no more"..
And if they try to throw another slippery move at us
regarding water charges - that is gonna be them sealing
their own faith...
Now that you realise your strength - keep going!

Potential impacts of CETA on


water and water services
Dear MEP,
We, the undersigned organizations, would like to call on
you to vote against the ratification of the Comprehensive
Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU
and Canada, which endangers freshwater resources and
water services at both sides of the Atlantic.
After thorough analysis of the CETA text and the Joint
Interpretative Instrument, we have found several
provisions within the CETA which pose serious threats to
watersheds and public water and sanitation services in
Canada and the EU:
-- Water is included in CETA despite all the promises
that it would be out of negotiations and despite the
opinion of the European Parliament in its resolution of
8 September 2015 on the follow-up to the European
Citizens Initiative Right2Water (2014/2239(INI), no. 22),
where the Parliament calls on the Commission to
permanently exclude water and sanitation and
wastewater disposal from internal market rules and
from any trade agreement[1].
Provisions of CETA Article 1.9 could lead to further
water commodification and facilitate corporate
water grabbing. The article says: If a party permits the
commercial use of a specific water source, it shall do so in
a manner consistent with this agreement, without
defining commercial use or water source. In case of
"commercial use" water rights are subjected to CETA trade
and investment rules. Especially the extra investment
protection standards ("Fair and equitable treatment" and
Indirect Expropriation") for foreign investors could have a
strong influence on the way water rights are granted by
authorities and in fact limit their possibilities to deny or
restrict water rights once they have been granted to
foreign investors. There have already been
investment disputes involving water rights under
similar agreements (NAFTA[2], Energy Charter[3]) that
resulted in settlements in favour of the investor.
-- Reservations taken for Collection, purification and
distribution of water services on Market Access and
National Treatment are not enough to guarantee a full
protection. Most Favoured Nation and Performance
Requirements reservations would have been needed. And
even though drinking water services are included in Annex
II, investment protection would still apply to them [4].
-- Only Germany can apply a Market Access
reservation on sanitation (sewage, refuse disposal and
sanitation services). The introduction of those services
under the CETA framework for the rest of the EU member
states contradicts article 12 of the EU Concessions
Directive, which lays down that the Directive shall not
apply to concessions awarded to the disposal or treatment
of sewage[5].
-- The horizontal limitation clause applied by the
European Union to protect public utilities is not enough
to protect public services. On one hand, it doesnt
include reservations for investment protection or National
Treatment. On the other hand, the terminology is
ambiguous, as the term public utilities has no specific
meaning in international law, and no equivalent term in EU
law. This horizontal exemption has never been tested in a
negative list agreement or in an agreement with a country
that is a significant commercial supplier of public services
with a market interest in the EU[6].
-- Regulatory cooperation and investment protection
would lock in privatisation of water services and
hamper the ability of governments to reclaim public water
services back under public management, which is a
growing trend in Europe.
-- CETA might limit the operational capacity of
public water companies, as water rights are treated as
investments and the reservations do not cover all current
and future activities public operators need to fulfil
according to national legislation[7].
-- CETA lacks a precautionary principle approach,
which is an inherent component of EU law. In addition,
Regulatory cooperation in CETA would potentially restrict
the policy space of EU member states. This could have
major impacts on health, environment and water resource
protection.
-- CETA ignores the unitary nature of the water
cycle, water limits in the planet, and the multifunctional
nature of water in ecosystems[8].
The Joint Interpretative Instrument fails to address
the shortcomings of the agreement and paints an
unreasonably optimistic picture about CETA. There is
no legally safe new commitment or clarification in the
text. We will only know the real potential of CETA
provisions when decisions from public authorities or public
water companies are clarified at a later stage. We cannot
take that risk.
The European Union must consider water as a
commons, and access to water and sanitation as a
Human Right. We call on you to defend interests of the
people of Europe and their environment from the threats
posed by CETA by voting against the ratification of
the agreement in the Plenary vote.
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?
uri=CELEX:32014L0023&from=EN

Yours sincerely,
Blue Planet Project
Council of Canadians
European Water Movement
Food & Water Europe
Wasser in Brgerhand (Water in Citizens Hands, Germany)
[1] Resolution of the European parliament, 2014/2239
(INI), no 22
[2] AbitibiBowater vs. Canada, amount paid CAD $130
Comments on Article 1.9 of CETA by prof. Gus Van Harten
[3] Vattenfall vs. Germany, amount claimed 1.4
billion, p. 23
[4] Krajewski, Markus (2016). Model Clauses for the
Exclusion of Public Services from Trade and Investment
Agreements.
[5] Directive 2014/23/UE of the European parliament and
of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the award of
concession contracts
[6] Krajewsky, Markus (2016). Op. Cit.
[7] Allianz der ffentlichen Wasserwirtschaft e.V., 2016.
Wasserwirtschaft im Sog des Freihandels-CETA.
Prof. Laskowski, 2016. Rechtliches Gutachten zu mglichen
Versten gegen Investitionsschutzregelungen des
Freihandelsabkommens CETA durch Manahmen der
kommunalen Wasserwirtschaft, ISDS,
Schiedsgerichtsverfahren und Haftungsfragen.
Stadtwerke Karlsruhe, 2016. How water supply in
Germany would be affected by the EU free trade and
investment agreements CETA, TTIP, TiSA.
[8] Comments on Article 1.9 of CETA by prof. Francesc La
Roca

http://europeanwater.org/european-water-
resources/reports-publications/704-
potential-impacts-of-ceta-on-water-and-
water-services

Comments on Article 1.9 of


CETA
Gus Van Harten
Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School
The last clause of article 1.9 in the CETA is very clear that
the Agreement applies to water where put into commercial
use. In turn, the investment chapter and ISDS (investor-
state dispute settlement, renamed ICS in the final version
of CETA) would apply to such situations.
In this framework, one can speculate reasonably about
areas of regulation involving water that would by
implication subject to the public financial risks and
regulatory chill pressures created by the availability of
ISDS to foreign owners of water-related assets.
However, it would also be possible to identify existing ISDS
cases that related to water such as (a) the regulation,
ownership, or operation of public water supplies,
especially in circumstances of privatized ownership or
operation, and (b) the regulation of water subject to a
commercial agreement with a foreign investor. I can think
of various cases involving (a) and one involving (b).
There are also many ISDS cases involving resource
conflicts that affect water, such as where mining activities
are restricted due to potential contamination of water.
These are known ISDS cases. Of course we can reasonably
estimate that there are many more unknown cases in
which the threat of ISDS behind the scenes affects
decision-making or leads to settlements with the state.
Indeed I am aware of one case in Ontario, based on
interviews with current or former government officials, in
which proposals for water charges for takings of
groundwater (mainly by large bottling companies) was
subject to time-consuming internal government analysis of
ISDS risks under NAFTA; the proposals went ahead in part
because the charges were so miniscule as to make the
ISDS risks very low. Yet a more serious charge on water
takings may therefore have been deterred because of
ISDS.
A brief way of stating the overall situation is that article
1.9 makes very clear that water that is sufficiently
connected to commercial activities, in the view of ISDS
tribunals which have tended to favour the perspective of
claimant investors when interpreting ambiguity in the
treaty language can be considered an "asset" or
"investment" triggering the suite of foreign investor rights
and protections from regulatory activity that are available
through ISDS.

MODEL CLAUSES FOR THE EXCLUSION

OF PUBLIC SERVICES FROM TRADE AND

INVESTMENT AGREEMENTS

Study commissioned by the Chamber of Labour


Vienna and the European Federation of Public
Service Unions

February 2016
http://www.epsu.org/sites/default/files/article/files/Study%20M
%20Krajewski_Model%20clauses%20for%20the%20exclusion%20of
%20public%20services_2016.pdf
European Parliament resolution of 8 September 2015 on the follow-up
to the European Citizens Initiative Right2Water
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?
pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+TA+P8-TA-2015-
0294+0+DOC+PDF+V0//EN
FRANCE, ITALY DEFY FISCAL
TREATY. IRELAND?
October 5, 2014
Ordered to obey strict austerity measures like everyone else,
Francenonetheless said non. Italy has followed suitPerhaps
we should be more continental
It is, of course, a lot easier to defy the EUs budget rules when you
have a fleet of nuclear
submarines at your disposal. Still, France has gone ahead and given
the two fingers to
Brussels, prompting some to talk of a declaration of independence,
and others (more
prosaically) to recall 2003 and the wrecking of the original stability
and growth pact.
Like ourselves, France is supposed to get its deficit down below 3
per cent next year. But
in his draft budget on Wednesday, the French finance minister
Michel Sapin said he is
not going to. France will run a 4.3 per cent deficit next year a
whole 0.1 per cent better
than this year because, it says, austerity is not right for France.
2017 is the new date for a sub-3 per cent deficit in France, though
the French version of
the fiscal advisory council has its doubts about the growth needed
for this.
The Italians, who lack nuclear weapons, have nevertheless said
much the same thing in
their budget draft: stuff this austerity thing, we need some cash
ostensibly for growth-
promoting reforms but cash, anyway.
That two of the big three states of the eurozone have decided to
defy the rules should
make for an interesting Ecofin council in November, when ministers
get together to
review each others draft budgets. It has already poisoned the
political atmosphere in the
European Parliament, where Pierre Moscovici faced a torrid hearing
in his bid to
become economics commissioner. Having failed to meet the
deficit rules as finance
minister in France, Moscovici is now supposed to be the budget
enforcer for
everyone else.
Does all of this herald an almighty Euro-row in the weeks before
Christmas, potentially
destabilising not just for the stability pact, but the currency and the
bond market? More
importantly, whats in it for us?
Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin went in opposite directions
when I asked them
about the French budget.
Noonan said the rules were the rules, they applied equally to big
and small, and they
had to be adhered to for the good of all. Howlin, meanwhile,, who
met Sapin and his
budget minister in Paris three weeks ago, was less certain given
the choice between a
rules-compliant (and therefore contractionary) France or an
expanding France, he sees
growth there as being good for Ireland

Remember this from May 2016??


""His tenure as Environment Minister ends this week - but
a 1.7m-a-year water quango could be Alan Kelly's
"parting gift" to Tipperary voter"

Coveney says he will not


legislate for water charges
abolition as it would be illegal
The Housing Minister was talking tough tonight, but said Fine Gael were
not in breach of confidence and supply agreement.
February 28, 17
HOUSING MINISTER SIMON Coveney has said he will not
legislate for the water committees agreement if it doesnt
include a charge for excessive usage.
The majority of those on the Oireachtas joint committee on
the future funding of water services have indicated that they
are in favour of abolishing domestic charges and are
opposed to charging for the excessive use of water.
The committee met today to discuss a final draft report, with
Fianna Fil, Sinn Fin and the Anti-Austerity Alliance-
People Before Profit (AAA-PBP) agreeing there should be no
charges even for excessive water use.
I will not introduce legislation that potentially exposes the
country to very severe penalties and fines from the
European Commission I wont do that, Coveney told
reporters tonight.
EU law
Last year, the European Commission said Ireland will be in
breach of European law should it remove the charges
completely.
We have clear advice from Attorney Generals Office, I have
legal advice from my own department and the expert
commissions advice that was very clear and we have a
European Commission that has shown flexibility and
willingness to work with Ireland, but are also clear that there
has to be some consequences for households wasting large
amounts of water, he said.

Follow

TheJournal Politics

Coveney says he will not introduce water charges


legislation that will incur penalties from the EU
9:00 PM - 28 Feb 2017
U 3 3 Retweets1 1 like
Source: TheJournal Politics/Twitter
Coveney said Fine Gael are willing to compromise, but
added that other parties have to be prepared to do the same.
We have compromised on the Fine Gael view very
significantly, and were asking other parties seeking a
working solution to do the same.
If that compromise involves exposing the State to legal
action, I dont think as an office holder I can facilitate that,
said the minister.
Fianna Fils position
He said Fianna Fil had hardened its position on the issue,
and accused the party of altering their stance on charges in
recent days.
What Fianna Fil seem to be saying today is that it is okay
by them for the general taxpayer to waste water that
wasnt the Fianna Fil position until a few days ago.

Coveney insisted tonight that the work of the committee


isnt finished, adding that he still wants consensus.
When asked what the outcome would be if the committees
final recommendation was for the total abolition of all water
charges, he said:
I would be very surprised if Fianna Fil asked a government
minister to introduce something that was against the AGs
[Attorney General's] advice.
We cannot ignore independent legal advice it is hugely
irresponsible to ask us to do that.
Follow

TheJournal Politics

Coveney is digging in tonight - he won't legislate water


committee agreement if it doesn't include excessive water
charge use
9:04 PM - 28 Feb 2017
5 5 Retweets3 3 likes
Source: TheJournal Politics/Twitter

Breaching confidence and supply agreement


Coveney said Fine Gael were not breaching the confidence
and supply agreement (the deal between Fianna Fil and
Fine Gael which essentially keeps the government in power).
The agreement was never intended to instruct a minister to
act contrary to the advice of the Attorney General, he said.
We will continue to abide by it and I hope Fianna Fil will
too.
The agreement states that the government will facilitate the
passage of legislation for the implementation of the
recommendations in relation to domestic water charging
(whether it be abolition, a reformed charging regime or
other options).
This line was put to the minister this evening and he was
asked what would happen if the Oireachtas approved and
voted in favour for the abolition of the water charges regime.
Facilitating is not the same as introducing, he clarified.
What I am saying is I cannot introduce legislation that I
regard as effectively illegal.
Bullying the committee
Sinn Fin spokesperson on water Eoin Broin has accused
the minister of trying to bully the Oireachtas Water
Committee.
Tonights intervention by Minister Coveney prior to the
Committee concluding our business is wholly inappropriate.
He is trying to bully the Committee with exaggerated claims
on the supposed illegality of complete abolition of water
charges.
While a final decision is expected tomorrow or next week it
is clear that the Government is losing the argument.
The minister should stop interfering in the work of the
Committee. He should adhere to the process he set up and
respect the outcome of the Committee.
He said the minister will have plenty of time to respond to
the committees final report when it is debated by the Dil
and Seanad later this month.
OBroin said Coveneys attempts to influence the outcome of
the committees deliberations is wrong and smacks of
desperation.
The group of 20 TDs is expected to finalise its report
tomorrow ahead of a Dil vote due to take place by the end
of March.
http://www.thejournal.ie/simon-coveney-water-charges-
3264314-Feb2017/#comment-5931067
How do ya feel about the VRT being illegal Simon?
He is an absolute B word.
FG thugs, They set up a commission and now wont honour its findings,
what a shower of B words.
This really is a new low for our Leinster house executives it really is.
Illegal by who, the EU ! so heres my problem Slovenia another EU
country have attached their water to their constitution free of charge.
The EU have not instituted proceedings and will not. Coveney seems to
have a commercial interest in a privitised Irish Water. As for achieving
the leadership of FG he will be lucky to be elected next time.
John Perkins, Former Advisor IMF.
My job was to identify countries with resources that corporations
covert, like oil and then arrange a huge loan to that country from the
World Bank or from one of its sister organisations. The money however
would not go to the country, it would go to our own corporations who
would make huge profits, but the majority of the people would suffer
terrible as a result, because money would be diverted from Education,
Healthcare and other Social Services to pay interest on the debt.
What happened when the IMF moved in and the debt couldnt be
repaid?
We go back into that country and say, since you cant pay your debt,
sell your resource oil or whatever real cheap to our corporations without
any environmental restrictions or, or social regulations. Privatise, sell
your electric utilities, your water, sewage systems, your schools, your
jails, all your public sector businesses to our corporations, and in the
few cases where we failed economic hitman, the jackals went in and still
do and aah, they either assassinate the leaders of the country or
overthrow them in coups.
And who invited the IMF into Ireland?? FFFGLAB PARTY
Isnt it just amazing that the government can hide behind European
rules when its sees fit, but the Irish banks are allowed to charge variable
rates of 4.5% when the European rate is less than 2% across the board.
Hypocrisy at its best!

Hes completely undermined the credibility of the Expert water


commission with this statement.
If thats Fine Gaels position then why did they allow the commission to
go ahead with the report?
This commission was set up by Simon Coveney who remarked at the
time:
I have chosen people who I consider to have the necessary professional
expertise in environmental matters, law, economics, the customer
perspective, the water sector and the regulatory system, and I have
included a mix of both national and international experts,
Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
We should have an Irish Water debt clock. It must be running to around
10 billion euro by now? A criminal waste of taxpayers money and
resources. Make it a sackable offence for gross incompetence and
corruption and many of our problems would disappear overnight. If I
was a CEO of a large company and I had no punishment for fraud or
corruption I would expect the loophole to be exploited by staff and to be
out of business within the year. For some reason we allow it in OUR
government and when we see the problems it causes we still do nothing,
over and over again. Can we the people hire our own legal team and
bring a case against our government for not creating legislation that
prevents repeated damage to our citizens and our society? Just a
thought.

Its just the little guy they will want to target, the ones doing the
environment a favour by planting pollen and nectar rich flowers to
attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators into the garden and who
use a hose the rare occasion that we get a bit of warm weather. If there is
money to be made or a way to squeeze more out of you, theyll do it.

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These people do unfortunately exist. I currently live in Amsterdam, and


some time ago a member of parliament (who happened to be in the
Geert Wilders Freedom Party) was interviewed on national TV,
admitting to running his tap all day to moisturize his allegedly dry
house. This caused quite a shock in the country.
Simon Bilderburg Coveney will not and cannot countenance no
water charges. He's a fully signed up member of the Corporate
Privitisation agenda & his big business bosses won't allow him back
down. It's a core policy of his & Fine Gael. R2W has a bit of work to
do yet
And i am predicting that staff back from the tesco strike..will
become victims of bullying by management if it is not checked
straight away....and i base this on talking to the same people to-day.
Excessive water usage
charge' among key
proposals in water
committee draft
document
Niall O'Connor
February 28 2017

1
padraig o ceidigh
The Water Charges debate has created a
political storm.
Here are the key proposals contained in a draft document
prepared by water committee chairman Pdraig Ceidigh,
which have been seen by Independent.ie.

The key proposal about excessive water usage is the


subject of a row between Fine Gael and Fianna Fil.
An excessive water usage charge under the polluter pays
principle to comply with EU law
Refunds for households which have paid their bills
Domestic meters already installed to be retained and
requirement for all new builds to have meters installed
Tax/welfare benefit for those who voluntarily take up a
domestic meter
Waivers for users with high consumption who have
certified medical conditions
Tax relief for the installation of systems that reduce water
consumption
Consideration for those on group water schemes
All new buildings must incorporate water conservation
fittings
Referendum to keep Irish Water in public ownership
Establishment of a Drinking Water Inspectorate, similar to
the UK
Make the Public Water forum an advisor to the
Commission for Energy Regulation (CER)
Water charges are going
nowhere, says European
Commission
It has said that Ireland changed its established practice under a Fianna
Fil-led government in 2010.
Jun 27th 2016

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (EC) has said that Ireland


is no longer exempt from water charges.
In a statement today, the commission confirmed a view that
it outlined to TheJounal.ie earlier this month.
What this boils down to is whether or not water charges is
the established practice in Ireland, or if paying through
general taxation is.
With the EC viewing water charges as the norm, Ireland will
now be in breach of European law should it remove the
charges.
In a response to a parliamentary question asked by Irish
independent MEP Marian Harkin, European Commissioner
for the Environment, Karmenu Vella points to the
implementation of the river basin management plan in 2010
under a Fianna Fil-led government as the moment
established practice passed the point of no return.
This river basin management plan did not have water
charges as its sole objective but rather focused on hitting
the environmental objectives of the EUs Water Framework
Directive.
Back before then, Ireland would have been in a better
position to wriggle through the established practice
loophole in getting out of implementing the charges.
In his response, Commissioner Vella said that the Directive:
Does not provide for a situation whereby it can revert to
any previous practice.
Already parties on the opposition benches disagree with the
ECs assessment with Sinn Fin and Fianna Fil
contending Irelands established practice is for water to be
paid for through general taxation.
Ireland could still potentially challenge the European
Commissions stance at the European Court of Justice.
The governments current position is to suspend water
charges for nine months and establish a commission to
explore alternatives.
http://www.thejournal.ie/water-charges-nowhere-commission-
2849331-Jun2016/

Most households will not have to pay for all normal


domestic and personal water, an expert report said
on Tuesday.
The commission recommended the State should pay
for normal household use through general taxation
while a charge for excessive amounts must be made
by the householder.
The 63-page report added a change to existing taxes or
a dedicated levy could provide the money required to
fund the resource.
It was not entirely clear last night how normal or
excessive usage would be calculated.
But the report advised the Energy Regulator and public
water forum should decide on normal use while the
regulator must rule on excessive.
The proposals include a provision for people with
medical or other special needs while the document
suggested a waiver system should be applied in
exceptional cases

Irish Water workers

Most homes would not pay for water charges under draft
new proposals
It also recommended there should be equity for people on
group schemes or with private wells.
Two out of every three households have paid charges
since they were introduced in 2015 and the report advised
they should be treated no less favourably than those who
did not.
Minister for Housing, Planning, Community & Local
Government Simon Coveney TD
He said: I think most reasonable people, I hope
anyway, will see this as an opportunity to put this issue
to bed.
There is an acceptance in this report that for normal
usage of water the taxpayer should pay for that.
Fianna Fails Michael McGrath added: It marks a
departure from Government policy and would appear
to accept the principle, which we have put out there for
quite some time, that the provision of domestic water
would be based on general taxation.
A range of domestic water charges for homeowners
coming into effect in a little over eight weeks time will be
announced tomorrow by the energy regulator.
However, the proposed free water allowance for children
of 38,000 litres per child may be revised downwards after
suggestions from Irish Water.

The average cost per household, estimated costs for non-


metered homes and waivers for people with medical
conditions, will be among the plans announced tomorrow.

The plans will also address whether certain households will


have to pay charges if the water coming into their
properties is not fit for consumption.

Irish Waters proposals on charges have been considered


by the commission on energy regulation for a number of
weeks. The regulators draft charges are now being
released for public consultation.

Department of Environment sources say a substantial


document on the proposed charges, heavy on detail, will
be released.

The average charge per household, as already signalled


by the Government, is expected to be 240.

A free allowance will also be granted to homes, which is


expected to be 30,000 litres per property.
However, a previously suggested free allowance of 38,000
litres per child is expected to be revised downwards. This
emerged during an Oireachtas Environment Committee
meeting with the regulator last month, where officials said
that Irish Water had suggested so after the company
received provisional usage data from homes with recently
installed metres.

Paul McGowan, CER Commissioner, said that Irish Water


did not feel the allowance accurately represents the
usage of a child.

The Government have already said there will be no flat


charge for households.

But the regulator is also expected to announce whether or


not there will be a fixed charge for those with more than
one property.

Charges for non-metered households will also be proposed


by the regulator.

Despite the fact that nearly 30,000 a meters a month are


being installed, it is estimated that only a quarter to one
third of houses in the country will actually have a meter in
place when charging begins in October.

Irish Water will issue letters to households in September in


order to identify what free entitlements occupants can
claim.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/water/irish-water-
crisis/excessive-water-usage-charge-among-key-proposals-in-water-
committee-draft-document-35491307.html
They can't build a Children's Hospital. They can't house
the homeless. They can't provide hospital beds. One in six
people in Ireland are on hospital waiting lists. And this
gobshite Alan Farrell of Fine Gael wants to build a cricket
stadium. What planet are these people on?

Varadkar among
objectors to plans for 41
new apartments
Gordon Deegan
February 24 2017

He joined forces with local Fine Gael councillor Eithne


Loftus to lodge a joint appeal with An Bord Pleanla
against Fingal County Council's decision to give the green
light to Absainte Ltd for the 41-apartment development.
Last month, the council gave the go-ahead to demolish
Brady's pub at the Old Navan Road, Castleknock, to
construct four four-storey apartment blocks on lands
zoned for residential development.
Leo Varadkar. Photo: Tom Burke
Leo Varadkar is one of a number of
objectors against a new 10m apartment
block plan in an area of Dublin he admits is
being hit by the housing shortage.
He joined forces with local Fine Gael councillor Eithne
Loftus to lodge a joint appeal with An Bord Pleanla
against Fingal County Council's decision to give the green
light to Absainte Ltd for the 41-apartment development.
Last month, the council gave the go-ahead to demolish
Brady's pub at the Old Navan Road, Castleknock, to
construct four four-storey apartment blocks on lands
zoned for residential development.
The council granted permission in spite of 90 objections,
including from former Labour leader and Tnaiste Joan
Burton and Fianna Fil TD Jack Chambers.
Mr Varadkar said he was certain that the plan "will impact
on the residential amenity and property values of
neighbouring homes". He argued that "the application
must be rejected in favour of a more appropriate
residential or mixed-use development for this site".
A decision is due to be made by An Bord Pleanla in June.
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/varadkar-among-objectors-to-
plans-for-41-new-apartments-35478127.html

Politicians are Not to be trusted...


They are Running scared with an Election in the air
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action, and
Environment has given notice of his intention to grant
prospecting licences here for Base Metals, Barytes, Gold
and Silver to a Wexford-based mining company.
They'll be exploring in townslands across the city and
county, in the baronies 0f Callan, Crannagh, Kells,
Knocktopher, and Shillelogher.
Group Eleven Mining and Exploration Ltd, Cratloe,
Ballyprecas, Bunclody, Wexford will have the opportunity
to explore for resources in hundreds of townlands in both
Tipperary and Kilkenny. The license, if granted, will entitle
Group Eleven Mining and Exploration Ltd to explore for
mineral deposits. It does not authorise the mining of any
minerals.

People living in dozens of townslands around Kilkenny could be


sitting on precious minerals, including gold and silver and the
keen prospectors are on their way.
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action, and
Environment has given notice of his intention to grant prospecting
licences here for Base Metals, Barytes, Gold and Silver to a
Wexford-based mining company.
They'll be exploring in townslands across the city and county, in the
baronies 0f Callan, Crannagh, Kells, Knocktopher, and
Shillelogher.
Group Eleven Mining and Exploration Ltd, Cratloe, Ballyprecas,
Bunclody, Wexford will have the opportunity to explore for
resources in hundreds of townlands in both Tipperary and
Kilkenny. The license, if granted, will entitle Group Eleven Mining
and Exploration Ltd to explore for mineral deposits. It does not
authorise the mining of any minerals.
The activities permitted under such a licence are generally non-
invasive and of minimal environmental impact.
The minister has assessed the exploration programme proposed
by the company and has determined that the activities are not
likely to have a significant effect on the environment.
Objections to the grant of the licences should be made to the
address below within the next 21 days. The minister reserves the
right to make details of the objections available to the applicant in
order to fully consider their validity.
Here are the townlands named:
Townlands in Callan Barony
Ballyclovan, Ballyclovan Meadows, Ballywalter, Baunoge,
Baunreagh, Baunta, Baunta Commons, Bennettsmeadow,
Bigmeadow, Blackstaff, Bolton, Broadmore, Callan North, Callan
South, Cannafahy, Cappahenry, Cappahenry East, Cappass,
Castletobin, Castletobin East, Castletobin West, Clashacollare,
Commoge, Coolalong, Corbally, Cornyeal, Crossoge, Curkacrone,
Dirtystep, Drimeen, Drimeen North, Drimeen South, Earlsland,
Foulksrath, Gortnasragh, Graiguesmeadow, Haggartsgreen,
Kilbride, Kilbride Glebe, Kilminnick East, Kilminnick West,
Kylevehagh Commons, Lintaun, Loughooly, Maxtown, Minnauns,
Moanamought Commons, Moankeal Commons, Moanmore
Commons, Molassy, Monarche Commons, Mullaunglass, Pawlerth,
Prologue, Riversfield, Sheskin Commons, Skeaghacloran, Slade,
Tinnamoona, Westcourt Commons, Westcourt Demesne,
Westcourt North, Westcourt South, Whitesland.
Townlands in Crannagh Barony
Ardboy, Balleven, Ballycallan, Ballycuddihy, Ballyfrunk, Ballyhack,
Ballyhendricken, Ballykeefe (E.D. Kilmanagh), Ballykeefe (E.D.
Tullaghanbrogue), Ballykeefe Bog, Ballykeefe Hill,
Ballykeefecastle, Barrackhill (Barton), Barrackhill (Cranesborough),
Baungarriff, Bigbog, Bigmeadow, Bishopsfurze, Bonnetstown,
Brittasdryland, Burntfurze, Cloghoge, Clonard, Cooleeshal,
Coolgrange, Curragh, Curraghkehoe, Damma Lower, Damma
Upper, Deerpark, Doorath, Dunningstown, Goldenfield,
Gorteenteen, Graigue (Hartford), Graigue (Hayden), Keatingstown,
Kilballykeefe, Knockeenbaun, Knockeenglass, Kylenasaggart,
Loughmerans, Michaelschurch, Muck, Newtown (E.D. St. Canice),
Redeen, Sheeptown, Toberbreedia, Troyswood.
Townlands in Kells Barony
Ahanure North, Ahanure South, Attateenoe Lower, Attateenoe
Upper, Ballintee, Ballyfliugh, Ballyhall, Ballytobin, Barronsknock,
Baunatillaun, Bauneen, Baunemon, Bawnhubbamadereen,
Baysrath, Bog Commons, Boherawarraga, Bushtameen,
Caherlesk, Cappalauna, Clashavaha, Clincaun, Clone, Clonygarra,
Coolaghmore, Coologe, Courtnabooly East, Courtnabooly West,
Courtnabooly, Croghtabeg (Bunbury), Croghtabeg (Courtown),
Croneenlaun, Curragh, Danganbeg, Danganmore, Dunnamaggan
East, Dunnamaggan West, Garranmachenry, Garranstan,
Garrynamann Lower, Garrynamann Upper, Garryrickin, Glebe,
Goodwinsgarden, Gort Phaudeen, Grovebeg, Haggard, Kells,
Kellsborough, Kellsgrange, Killindra, Killinny, Kilree, Kiltallaghan,
Knockbutton, Kyle East, Kyle West, Kyleadohir, Kyleateera,
Lackendragaun, Laghtbrack, Lemonstown, Loughbeg,
Loughsollish, Mallardstown, Mallardstown East, Mallardstown
Great, Mallardstown Lower, Mallardstown Upper, Mallardstown
West, Mantingstown, Memory, Mill Island, Moangarve, Moanmore,
Monachunna, Monadubbaun, Monassa, Monawinnia, Newtown,
Physicianstown, Pollagh, Pollagh (E.D. Callan), Poulboy, Raheen,
Rathculbin, Rathduff, Rathduff (E.D. Bayley), Rathduff (Madden),
Rathduff Lower, Rathduff Upper, Rogerstown, Rossenarra,
Shancashlaun, Shortallstown, Spruceshay, Tinvaun, Trenchmore ,
Tuitestown, Tuitestown Little, Vinesgrove.
Townlands in Knocktopher Barony
Ballycoam, Barrettstown, Baunanattin, Baysrath, Bowersacre,
Carrigeen (E.D. Jerpointchurch), Carrigeen (E.D. Knocktopher),
Castlecolumb, Common, Cotterellsbooly, Croan, Floodhall or
Rathtooterny, Glebe, Knocknabooly, Knocktopher Abbey,
Knocktopher Commons, Knocktopher Manor (part), Monyheige
Commons, Oldtown, Ricesland, Sheepstown, Waltonsgrove or
Mountjuliet, Whitescastle Lower, Whitescastle Upper.
Townlands in Shillelogher Barony
Acraroe, Aghdenderry, Aghinraheen, Annamult, Aughtanny,
Ballybur, Ballybur Lower, Ballybur Upper, Ballybush, Ballyda,
Ballylarkin, Ballyline, Ballymack (Desart), Ballymack (Flood),
Ballyroberts, Baunavollaboy, Baunreagh (E.D. Stonyford), Booly,
Burnchurch, Burnchurch Viper, Cappafaulish, Cappahayden,
Castle Eve, Cherrymount, Church Hill, Coalsfarm, Coolapoge,
Coolnabrone, Coontraght, Cotterellsrath, Cronoge, Dairyhill,
Deerpark, Derreen, Desart Demesne, Drakeland Upper, Ennisnag,
Farmley, Foxcover, Garraun, Gorteennalee, Gortnacurragh,
Graigue Lower, Graigue Upper, Graigueooly, Grange, Greatoak,
Greatwood, Grove, Holdensrath, Kilbrickan, Killaloe, Knockadrina,
Knockavally, Knockreagh, Kyleandangan, Kylebeg, Kylenaskeagh,
Lakyle, Lawcus, Monavaddra, Muckmeadows, Newtown (Baker),
Newtown (Shea), Ovenstown, Paddock, Raheenduff, Redhouse,
Riesk, Rossdama, Rossmore, Ryelanes, Scotsborough,
Stonecarthy East, Stonecarthy West, Sunhill, Tingarran, Tinnakilly,
Tullamaine (Ashbrook), Tullamaine (Flood), Viperkells, Washers
Bog, Whitehouse, Woodlands.
Irish Times 01/03/2017
Give us your fucking money!"

"U2 accused of 'robbing the world's poor'"


https://www.theguardian.com/music/2009/feb/27/u2-irish-
aid-group-coalition

"The hypocrisy of Saint Bob and Saint Bono is (IMHO)


sickening"
http://www.snouts-in-the-trough.com/archives/11364

"U2's Bono rakes in $1.4bn from Facebook investment -


more than he has ever made in his music career"
http://www.ibtimes.com.au/u2s-bono-rakes-14bn-
facebook-investment-more-he-has-ever-made-his-music-
career-1463707

"The hypocrisy of Bob Geldof"


http://www.cherwell.org/2014/11/26/the-hypocrisy-of-bob-
geldof/
...from an idea by Paul Kersey

CBD and cannabis in the


treatment of epilepsy

15-03-2016
Despite recent advances in the understanding and treatment
of epilepsy, up to 30% of people living with the condition do
not respond to existing anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) and
continue to experience regular, debilitating and potentially life-
threatening seizures.
Much needed research to find new and better treatments is
continuing around the world. In the past few years, there has
been a lot of discussion about the potential benefits of
cannabis and its derivatives in treating epilepsy, particularly
rare, devastating paediatric conditions such as Dravet
syndrome.
In the US, many states have approved cannabis for medical
use, and a small number of states have fully legalised it.
Additionally, other states have introduced legislation to permit
clinical trials of a pharmaceutical CBD drug called Epidolex
under tight regulation.
There have been an increasing number of reports of families in
the US for whom cannabis-based products have had success in
reducing seizures. This is thought to be because of the non-
psychoactive component of cannabis called cannabidiol (CBD).
In addition to the anecdotal reports, a limited number of
studies of CBD in animal models have shown anti-convulsant
effects but the mechanism of action is not yet understood.
Epidolex
Trials on Epidolex, a CBD-only pharmaceutical drug are
currently underway in the US, UK and other countries.
Epidiolex has not yet been approved for use by any national
regulatory authority but has received FDA Orphan Drug
Designation and Fast Track Designation in the US for both
Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
In March 2016, results of the first pivotal Phase 3 study of
Epidolex for Dravet syndrome were announced. The study
involved 120 patients (average age 10 years) who were
randomised to either Epidolex or placebo. After 14 weeks,
patients taking Epidiolex achieved a median reduction in
monthly convulsive seizures of 39% compared with a reduction
on placebo of 13%. These are positive findings and additional,
larger Phase 3 trials are now being conducted in Dravet
syndrome, with other trials underway or planned in Lennox-
Gastaut Syndrome and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.
As an organisation that funds epilepsy research, Epilepsy
Ireland welcomes all research that seeks to develop safe and
effective treatments for epilepsy including these trials which
could potentially lead to a new approved treatment for people
with a range of devastating epilepsy syndromes.
The manufacturer of Epidolex, GW Pharmaceuticals is now
seeking regulatory approval for the drug in Europe and the US
for Dravet syndrome. Should Epidolex or any other epilepsy
treatment containing CBD be approved for use in Ireland,
Epilepsy Ireland will advocate for access to the drug for those
who could benefit from its prescribing.
Non Pharmaceutical products
A clear distinction needs to be drawn between products such
as Epidolex that are undergoing rigorous efficacy and safety
testing to achieve regulatory approval and non-pharmaceutical
products that are not licenced for medicinal use. There are
serious concerns about the safety and risks associated with
unregulated, unstandardised non-pharmaceutical products
containing cannabis extracts, in particular those that contain
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psycho-active element
in cannabis.
While there have been positive anecdotal accounts of these
products, particularly in the US, there have also been reports of
cannabis/ CBD products making seizures worse in children, as
well as other negative side effects. Some animal studies have
also highlighted the potential for CBD to be pro-convulsant
(increasing the risk of a seizure) in some cases.
Currently, no robust evidence from high quality scientific
studies exists to support the use of non-pharmaceutical
cannabis-based products for the treatment of epilepsy. In
relation to these products, individual successful cases do not
provide strong enough evidence to expose large amounts of
people to the unknown and unquantifiable risks associated
with unregulated, unstandardised products. In the absence of
robust evidence, these products cannot be considered as safe
or effective treatments for epilepsy.
Given the devastating impact of conditions like Dravet
Syndrome and the limited success of existing drugs in treating
these rare conditions, it is understandable that many affected
families will want to reach out to investigate potential new
treatment avenues. However, further research, in the form of
well-regulated clinical trials represent the only safe and
objective way to assess the potential that any CBD or cannabis
product may hold in the mainstream treatment of epilepsy.
Further research in this area is badly needed and Epilepsy
Ireland remains open to receiving and assessing funding
applications under our Research Funding Scheme from
researchers who want to pursue this area of research.
Legal position
In Ireland, cannabis is currently a Schedule 1 drug controlled
under the Misuse of Drugs legislation which makes it an
offence to be in possession of cannabis or many of its extracts
(including THC). CBD itself is not a controlled substance under
Irish law. However, a product that contains CBD is also likely to
contain additional substances that are controlled under
legislation. If a CBD-based product contains other substances
e.g THC in quantities which would bring that product within the
Misuse of Drugs Acts, it is a controlled substance and it is
illegal to import, possess or supply it.
Additionally, even if the product is true CBD-only, it may meet
the definition of a medicinal product, which would require it to
have the appropriate authorisation or registration in Ireland.
http://www.epilepsy.ie/index.cfm/spKey/news.epilepsy/spId/A3FD000
3-CB64-43A9-BC9724D804178E6F.html
Cannabidiol and medical marijuana for the
treatment of epilepsy
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/epi.
12647/epdf
The case for medical marijuana in epilepsy
2014
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/epi.
12610/epdf
Cannabidiol- Pharmacology and potential
therapeutic role in epilepsy and other
neuropsychiatric disorders
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/epi.
12631/epdf
MEDICAL RESEARCH CHARITIES
GROUP/HEALTH RESEARCH BOARD
MRCG/HRB Joint Funding Scheme 2016
http://www.epilepsy.ie/assets/71/5171DE91-
5F93-4EE4-
87FDDDCFB54B1024_document/MRCG-
HRB_Applicant_Guidance_Notes_2016_FINAL.
pdf
Common Administrative Errors When submitting an application for
funding, please ensure that the common application form errors
below are not present on your form.
http://www.epilepsy.ie/assets/46/DFE467DC-CCA2-4AD4-
8E288F10290C74A9_document/Common_Application_form_errors.pd
f
MRCG/HRB Joint Funding Scheme 2016 Epilepsy Ireland Notes for
Applicants Application deadline- 4th December 2015
http://www.epilepsy.ie/assets/98/3389816C-C605-4589-
9DC00265A655F409_document/EI_Notes_to_Applicants_2016.pdf
s part of our on-going commitment to supporting Irish epilepsy
research, Epilepsy Ireland invites applications for epilepsy-
focused research projects of up to a three-year duration to a
maximum of 50,000 p.a. Proposals funded under this call will
begin in September 2016.
We encourage proposals for all types of research including
basic, clinical, psychosocial and health services research.
Proposals that cover one or more of the following research
areas are particularly welcome in the current funding round:
c Development of improved diagnosis, treatments or support
interventions
c Genetics of epilepsy
c Psychosocial aspects/ impact of epilepsy
c Epilepsy and education
c Use of assistive technology in epilepsy
c Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy and other epilepsy
deaths
c Epilepsy in specific demographics such as children/ young
adults; the elderly; people with an intellectual disability;
women; men
c Rare epilepsy syndromes
All proposals received by Epilepsy Ireland will be subjected to a
rigorous three-stage peer review process:
Stage 1: International Peer review & Applicant's Right to Reply
Stage 2: Evaluation by Epilepsy Ireland's Research Peer Review
Board
Stage 3: Highest ranking proposals submitted for consideration
under the Joint Funding Scheme operated by the Medical
Research Charities Group & the Health Research Board.
Successful projects will be funded jointly by Epilepsy Ireland
and the HRB from September 2016. This is the fifth round of
funding provided under Epilepsy Ireland's Research Funding
Scheme. To date, eight projects have been funded since 2010
with over 780,000 euro in funding approved. Further details
on these projects are available here.
Application forms, HRB guidance notes and Epilepsy Ireland
guidance can be downloaded below. Applications must be
submitted in full on the official application form on or before
December 4th 2015.
Applicants: Please ensure your email size is less than 5MB
when submitting. If it is more, please break up attachments to
>1 email or call us for guidance (details below)
See also the list of common application form errors below and
also this list produced by the HRB recently.

MicroRNAs in the mechanism


of ketogenic diet therapies
and as biomarkers in
paediatric epilepsy

PROJECT TITLE:
MicroRNAs in the mechanism of ketogenic diet therapies and as
biomarkers in paediatric epilepsy
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR:
Prof David Henshall
Professor of Molecular Physiology & Neuroscience, Royal College of
Surgeons in Ireland
INVESTMENT:
144,484 over three years. 50% of the funding for this project has
been made available by the Health Research Board (HRB) through
the Joint Funding Scheme operated by the HRB and the Medical
Research Charities Group, of which Epilepsy Ireland is a member.
Epilepsy Ireland will fund the other 50% through fundraising.
ABOUT PROF HENSHALL:
Prof. Henshall is the Director of the Experimental Epilepsy Research
group at RCSI. His team currently comprises 10 researchers whose
major research focuses include the role of non-coding RNA
(including microRNA) in the development of epilepsy, the modelling
and treatment of neonatal seizures, ATP-gated ion channels as
targets for seizure control, and molecular biomarkers of epilepsy.
Prof Henshall is also Co-Director of The Centre for the Study of
Neurological Disorders, also based at RCSI.
ABOUT THE PROJECT:
Prof Henshall explains:
Epilepsy is a disease caused by imbalances in electrical activity in
the brain. Anyone can have epilepsy but it is particular common in
children. Patients experience seizures which disrupt their lives and
can be directly harmful to the developing brain. Although we have a
number of drugs to stop seizures, they fail to work in about a third
of children. The ketogenic diet (KD) represents an alternative
treatment. Clinical and scientific studies show that by altering how
much fat and carbohydrates are consumed this switches how the
body obtains its energy. For reasons we do not understand this
reduces the occurrence of seizures. A key problem is that only half
of children placed on the diet show an improvement. Doctors need
something to help them know who will respond.
We are interested in a group of molecules found in cells called
microRNAs. Their job is to dampen down gene activity by reducing
protein levels. Recent work showed that microRNAs are important
for controlling the excitability of the brain. We and others have
found that blood levels of some microRNA are different in adults
with epilepsy. We think this is because the brain makes unique
microRNAs and stress or injury such as occurs in epilepsy results in
the appearance of these molecules in the blood. We also have
animal model evidence that the ketogenic diet directly alters brain
levels of certain microRNAs.
The proposed research will investigate whether microRNA levels in
blood samples or other body fluids (urine, saliva) can tell us which
children with epilepsy will do best on the ketogenic diet. These
studies will give doctors a new way to predict which children will do
best on the diet and shed new light on how the diet works.
http://www.epilepsy.ie/index.cfm/spKey/research.current_projects.ht
ml
I am asking for the space'
- Harris appeals for more
time to reach deal on CF
drugs

Eilish O'Regan
February 27 2017
Health Minister Simon Harris has appealed
for a few more weeks to finalise discussions
on a price deal for the cystic fibrosis drugs
Orkambi and Kalydeco.
He appealed to campaigners who are desperate to make
the drugs available to allow him space.
Around 500 people with cystic fibrosis are appealing for
access to Orkambi but the price originally demanded by
the makers Vertex was deemed too expensive for the HSE.
There is also pressure to extend access to Kalydeco for
younger children with the disease.
He said tonight that he expects the talks on the deal to be
concluded in a matter of weeks.
The main priority is to make sure that any agreement
reached would provide certainty to Irish patients on the
provision of Orkambi, Kalydeco and other drugs now and
in the future, he said.
I am extremely conscious that the last number of months
have been an extraordinarily stressful and worrying time
for many CF patients and their families.
"However, progress has been made and this process is now
entering a critical phase. I am asking for the space for this
process to be concluded with the objective that we can
achieve a deal which provides certainty now and in the
future.
"Given the level of investment and the scale of the
potential benefits for CF patients, there are important
commercial and contractual aspects which have to be
agreed in the interests of patients and the health service
overall.
"In asking for the space to bring finality to this matter, I
wish to assure CF patients and families that I believe the
process can be concluded in a period of weeks."
A protest at the ongoing delays in the talks is to take place
outside Leinster House on Wednesday.
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/i-am-asking-for-the-
space-harris-appeals-for-more-time-to-reach-deal-on-cf-drugs-
35488300.html
Coveney: Leadership is about vision,
not private issues
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Conor Kane
Would-be taoiseach Simon Coveney has said he hopes the
commentary surrounding the Fine Gael leadership
contest will be about ideas, vision, and drive rather than
any candidates personal life.

Mr Coveney said he is not getting into a formal leadership


pitch until after Enda Kenny confirms his position
following the Taoiseachs March visit to Washington.
Obviously there are conversations going on within the
party, thats to be expected, but there isnt a formal
leadership contest under way yet, the Housing Minister
said yesterday.
There is not a process under way yet. That will start after
St Patricks Day and there will be plenty of opportunities at
that stage to outline my views as to how the party should
move forward.
Mr Coveney was asked if it annoyed him that some media
coverage focussed on pictures of him and his family,
compared with pictures of Leo Varadkar, who is gay, on his
own or with his partner.
He said: Ive made it clear that this should be about
ideas, it should be about a vision for the country, it should
be about a persons record in terms of how theyve
performed to date, whether they have the energy and
talent and intelligence to do the job and whether they
have a vision for the country and the party that can garner
support within the party.
Thats what it should be about, not about peoples private
lives or their family and I think the more we focus on what
a new leader for the country and the Fine Gael party can
do, primarily for the country but also for the future of Fine
Gael, the better.
He was also asked if he believed the public have a right to
know what a potential taoiseachs family arrangements
are.
Im not getting into that, he said. Im not going to add
to the commentary.
People in the party who know me well will make
judgements but I hope people will be discussing this issue
on the basis of ideas and vision and drive and energy and
whats positive for the country, as opposed to peoples
personal lives.
Mr Coveney laughed when a description by a newspaper
columnist of him as boring was put to him.
Look, I think most people that know me well know that
people like to create caricatures of people, he said.
I certainly dont think I am, but Ill leave other people
judge that.
Leo Varadkar has denied he has struck a formal
agreement with leadership rival Simon Coveney but the
two have had discussions around the future of the party.
Mr Varadkar said he is looking forward to the leadership
campaign and wants to turn Fine Gael into a fighting
force again.
It comes after Taoiseach Enda Kenny told a parliamentary
party meeting that he would be dealing with the
leadership issue on his return from his St Patricks Day
visit to the White House.
Mr Varadkar confirmed that he had spoken with Mr
Coveney ahead of this meeting last Wednesday.
advertisement

Were in touch. We get on very well. Weve known each


other for years. Were a similar age. We meet and chat all
the time and the two of us are very determined to make
sure that whatever the outcome is that the partys united
thereafter and that it can do well, he said.
He said both were of the view that the feeling of the vast
majority of people in the parliamentary party was to avoid
a motion of no confidence, avoid division and
divisiveness.
However, he said that no formal agreement had been
struck between the two favourites to take over from Enda
Kenny and ruled out a similar deal to that of Labours Tony
Blair and Gordon Brown in the UK.
We know each other, we talk, but we dont have formal
agreements or a joint strategy or anything like that, Mr
Varadkar told RTs Marian Finucane show.
A poll over the weekend put the Social Protection Minister
and the Housing Minister within two points of each other
with Mr Varadkar on 29% and Mr Coveney on 27%. Mr
Varadkar said the formal campaign has not started and
other senior party figures could not be ruled out of the
race for leadership.
I know the media focus is all on me and Simon, I think it
is important to remind people that there are lots of other
leading figures in Fine Gael too, people like Richard
Bruton, Frances Fitzgerald, Paschal [Donohoe], Simon
Harris and others.
So I dont think people should make the assumption that
its all about us, he said.
A spokeswoman for Mr Coveney said both men have
offices on the same corridor so speak regularly and have a
good relationship.
However, she said there was no formal meeting before the
parliamentary party meeting last week.
Over the weekend it was reported that Mr Coveney told
supporters that he would he would be making sure that
Fine Gael would draw a line in the sand with Fianna Fil
on certain core issues and if they crossed that line he
would be prepared to call an election.
Government chief whip Regina Doherty said the party was
in a pre-contest phase.
Varadkar is being uncharacteristically cautious which begs
the question would he maintain this
stance as leader or return to his fearless and maverick
ways,
Fine Gael leadership hopeful Leo Varadkar has said he is
willing to enter TV debates with other contenders.

The Social Protection Minister also plans to seek


suggestions within Fine Gael about changes to the
leadership or the role of Taoiseach.
It is understood a number of broadcasters, including TV3,
have informally approached potential successors to Mr
Kenny.
Mr Varadkar said that he would not encourage any
negative campaigning during the leadership race.

This comes after weekend reports that his side is prepared


to wage a war against other contenders, namely
Housing Minister Simon Coveney. However, Mr Varadkar
said his team wanted an amicable race.
I think it is very important that, between now and the
campaign ... we all understand that we are in the same
party and we all understand we have to work together
afterwards for the good of the party and the good of the
country, he said.
Asked if he was prepared to engage in TV debates, he
said: I would be very happy to take part in a TV debate
but the main thing in the Fine Gael rules is the number of
regional hustings for our party members and that will be
the key focus.
TV3 said it was interested in hosting the debates, but
nothing was arranged yet.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and then tnaiste Joan Burton on


the eve of last year's general election, when both parties
haemorrhaged votes.

FEBRUARY 27, 2016, was the day Fine Gaels electoral


nightmare was realised. As ballot box after ballot box was
opened, more bad news tumbled out.
Exactly a year later and another election seems only a
breath away, because Enda Kennys party has engaged in
internal leadership spats, has continuously quarrelled with
its Independent partners, and has failed to implement
significant change. The creaking minority coalition, with its
reliance on Fianna Fil, is stagnating the working of
government.
If an election was to be called in the morning, Fine Gaels
support would undoubtedly slide further. Fianna Fil and
Sinn Fin would claw more seats from them.
While Mr Kenny and his cohorts have nothing major to
shout about the country is still suffering from lengthy
hospital waiting lists, a housing crisis, industrial strife at
Bus ireann, a garda whistleblower scandal, and bracing
itself for Brexit this time last year there were doubts
over whether a government could be formed at all. Many
then questioned whether, after a shaky start and
protracted formation talks, it could possibly last.
On February 25, 2016, the eve of the election, Enda Kenny
met then Labour leader, Joan Burton, in Dublins shiny
docklands, at a hipster cafe.
Blissfully unaware that both parties would haemorrhage
votes and elected members in the next 48 hours, they
sipped tea and spouted the line that the Fine Gael-Labour
coalition was the only viable option.
Ms Bruton now sits stripped of the party leader title
on the lonely opposition benches, while Mr Kenny is
nearing the end of his own partys leadership.
From the opposition benches, Fianna Fils Michel Martin
pulls many of the strings and increasingly can be seen
smiling over at Mr Kennys seat, eyeing it up.
Someone else biding their time is Mary-Lou McDonald,
currently stunted by Sinn Fin president, Gerry Adams. But
McDonald, the deputy leader, surely sees her party
growing with her at the helm.
Election 2016 also saw a clatter of new, mainly
Independent, faces joining the opposition ranks, while the
AAA-PBP swelled in numbers and the Green Party were
welcomed back, claiming two seats in the Dil chamber.
While Lucinda Creightons Renua party failed to win a
single seat, the other newly-formed group, the Social
Democrats, secured three seats, but, by September,
Stephen Donnelly had quit the party he had helped to
form.

Lucinda Creighton

As the tallies began to come in this day a year ago, it


became clear that something had gone drastically wrong
for Fine Gael.
Mr Kennys party had lost the centre both
geographically and poetically speaking of Ireland, which
had traditionally been the heart of their support.
Large swathes of voters down the middle of the county,
and on into Munster, who, historically, would have ticked
the FG box, simply didnt.
In Tipperary, two Fine Gael TDs one of them a minister
of state were not re-elected. While the constituency
boundary changes in Tipperary might have shuffled the
votes around somewhat, they did not explain why then
junior agriculture minister, Tom Hayes, and his well-
established colleague, Noel Coonan, failed to win a seat.
A clatter of other high-profile Fine Gael members were
kicked out, including ministers James Reilly, Jimmy
Deenihan, and Alan Shatter.
The tide was out and the Keep the Recovery Going
campaign, which the Fine Gael strategy gurus insisted on
clinging onto, fell flat down the spine of the country.
In places like Longford, Athlone, Tullamore, and Thurles,
the recovery hadnt even arrived, so how could it have
kept going? The only place any recovery was going was
straight past the people of rural and middle Ireland.
Fine Gael massively misjudged the moment.
Many of the successes were by the skin of their teeth
wins, such as in Wexford, where Michael DArcy and Paul
Kehoe took the final two seats, and likewise in Louth,
where Fergus ODowd and Peter Fitzpatrick claimed the
last two places.
In the end, Fine Gael came back with 50 seats 26 fewer
than it secured in the 2011 general election. On the flip-
side, Fianna Fil boosted their numbers by 24, returning 44
TDs.
Since then, Fine Gael have consigned their Keep the
Recovery Going slogan to a dark cupboard, never to be
opened again apart from when members of the
opposition try to prise it ajar.
After limping through the election, Fine Gael began
courting smaller parties and Independents to form a
government. Fianna Fil also made half-hearted attempts
to form their own minority government.
The Lannigans Ball continued for more than 70 days, with
the party vying for the support of the odd collection of
Independents that stepped in and out of Government
Buildings, as Enda Kenny played the part of squatter
Taoiseach.
As spring edged to a close, the Confidence in Supply
agreement was initiated in the privacy of Fianna Fil TD,
Jim OCallaghans kitchen, before the political enemies
moved to the more neutral territory of the provosts house
in Trinity College.
Government was finally formed on May 6, 2016.
Since then, the minority government has clung on, but
that has been more because of Fianna Fils aversion to
going back to the people than because of anything Fine
Gael and the Independents have done.
The Government seems to have done almost everything in
its capacity to bring on an election rather than stave one
off.
Sharing power with a group of Independents was never
going to be easy, but bring Shane Ross into the equation
and it adds another dimension entirely.
Mr Ross had an uncomfortable bedding-in period.
The transport minister clashed with Fine Gael on a number
of issues among them abortion and judicial
appointments just as they were getting to know each
other.
John Halligan also weighed in, and disagreements over
water charges, as well as a second cath lab for Waterford
Hospital, ensued.
Still, the Government managed to trundle on.
With five members of the one so-called alliance each
prioritising issues as diverse as flooding; judicial
appointments; services for a regional hospital; the
Stardust tragedy and rural roads, its a miracle they have
stayed together, let alone held up the Government.
While the Independent Alliance bickered and bellowed,
both with themselves and with Fine Gael, the two other
Independent ministers, Denis Naughten and Katherine
Zappone, exercised restraint.
That was until recently, when Ms Zappone, who had
remained loyal to Mr Kenny from the very beginning, dealt
an almost fatal blow to the Taoiseach and to the
Government itself.
The scandal centred around false allegations of child sex
abuse contained in a Tusla file on Sergeant Maurice
McCabe. It ended with the extraordinary act of the
Taoiseach standing up in the Dil and admitting he was
guilty of putting out a wrong account of discussions with
Ms Zappone.

Maurice McCabe
Governments have fallen on far lesser issues and for a few
frantic days his now famous mea culpa speech and the
he-said-she-said antics that led up to, and indeed followed
it, put the Government on the brink of election.
The McCabe scandal showed just how weak the current
Government is and how lucky it has been to survive the
past year.
But an election is not something that Fine Gael would
either want or need right now.
While Fine Gael uncomfortably try to balance power with
the Independents and Fianna Fil, other parties have been
quietly building from opposition.
Labour, for example, has already developed a concrete
strategy, ready to be rolled-out in the event of a snap
election, and is to hold selection conventions in five
constituencies in the coming weeks.
Other parties are sure to be involved in the same quiet
campaigning Fianna Fil members have been told by
headquarters to be out and about and ramping-up activity
in their constituencies.
Fine Gael, on the other hand, dont even know who will be
leading them into a general election.

Disabled Grace left in


foster care for 20 years
despite abuse claims
Shane Phelan
February 28 2017
Former health minister Michael Noonan. His then office requested
a health board report Photo: Steve Humphreys
Health service staff failed in their duty of
care towards an intellectually disabled girl
who was left in a foster home for 20 years
despite evidence she and other children
were being abused, a report has found.
The girl, now a woman known as Grace, was allowed to
remain in the home in the south east for 13 years after an
allegation of sexual abuse was made against her foster
father.
She was also not removed despite presenting at day
services with unexplained bruising and a black eye,
according to a report by consultants Conal Devine and
Associates, which has been seen by the Irish Independent.
A commission of investigation into the affair is expected to
be announced shortly.
Action was not taken even though health workers noted in
the mid-1990s that the girl would strip off her clothes and
engage in other "chaotic behaviour", such as wolfing down
her food, stealing dinners and headbutting other children.
A second report, also being published by the HSE today,
by consultants Resilience Ireland, details allegations that a
second child was locked in a cupboard at the home by the
foster mother.
The Devine report was unable to get to the bottom of why
a decision taken in April 1996 to remove the girl from the
home, on account of the sexual abuse allegation against
her male carer, was later overturned.
It detailed how the foster parents wrote to then health
minister Michael Noonan that August in an effort to
appeal her removal. There is no suggestion he intervened
on their behalf.
His officials requested a report from the health board,
which responded saying it had grounds for believing it was
in the girl's best interests to be removed. A local school
principal subsequently wrote to Mr Noonan's office in
support of Grace remaining in the foster home.
The letter was forwarded to the health board, along with a
request for a further report on the matter.
Mr Noonan's office was told the principal's views would be
taken into account in deliberations on Grace's future care.
The report said the decision to remove her was overturned
that October and the reasons why remain in dispute.
It was noted at the case conference where the decision was
taken that there was "no evidence" Grace's welfare was not
being met.
Yet a decision was taken at the same meeting not to place
any other children there.
The male carer died in 2001, but health authorities were
not immediately informed.
Fresh plans to remove Grace were resisted by the foster
mother, who said she depended on the placement for
income.
Grace was eventually removed from the home in 2009
following the intervention of social workers at a day
service she was attending. By then she was 31 years old
and had been in the home for 20 years.
The Devine report said its investigators believed she had
suffered abuse while living with the family.
It outlined a long list of failings by the health services in
the area. Although the home should have been subject to
six-monthly reviews, there was none.
After Grace turned 18 the team responsible for her
changed from a foster care team to one at adult mental
handicap services.
Specific staff were supposed to follow up decisions made
about her care. But the report said there was confusion
about who was supposed to do what.
There were no records of decisions taken at a crucial case
conference being followed up and the report concluded
there had been a failure in the duty of care towards Grace.
It also found new staff were not told about the situation.
No one looked into the reasons why she was not moved to
a residential placement many years earlier.
Although the Devine report was completed in 2012 and the
Resilience Ireland report in 2015, the publication of both
investigations was delayed due to ongoing Garda
investigations.
No one has ever been charged with an offence in relation
to her care.
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/disabled-grace-left-in-
foster-care-for-20-years-despite-abuse-claims-35488706.html

Bursts of electricity to
help target tumours
February 28 2017
Dr Declan Soden, principal investigator at the Cork Cancer
Centre, where a new treatment for oesophageal cancer
sufferers has been developed
Short bursts of electrical energy can help
improve the response to chemotherapy
treatment in patients with oesophageal
cancer.
Dr Declan Soden, principal investigator at the Cork Cancer
Research Centre, has developed the technique aimed
directly at the tumour.
The oesophagus carries food from the mouth to the
stomach.
The energy burst makes the tumour "leaky" and allows for
improved take-up of chemotherapy.
The research is being funded by the Oesophageal Cancer
Fund, which is holding its annual fundraising Lollipop Day
on March 3 and 4.
The charity was set up in 2001 by Dubliner Noelle Ryan
and a small group of women mourning the loss of a friend.
Ms Ryan, who is now chief executive of the Oesophageal
Cancer Fund, said: "If you had told me 16 years ago that
what began as six of us trying to honour our friend Lucilla
would grow to funding development of new technologies
in treatment like electro-shock tumour therapy, I
genuinely would not have believed it.
"We could not do this without the generosity and support
of the public. We receive no other funding.
"We rely entirely on the public supporting Lollipop Day.
We are heartened by our achievements to date but the
figures speak for themselves."
She said Dublin has seen almost a doubling in diagnoses of
the cancer over 20 years with major increases also
observed in north Tipperary, Wexford and Waterford.
Irish rates of oesophageal cancer remain among the
highest in Europe.
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/bursts-of-electricity-to-
help-target-tumours-35488735.html

Prescription charge for


over-70s cut from 2.50
to 2
Eilish O'Regan
February 28 2017
The prescription charge for 390,000 people
over 70 who have medical cards will reduce
from 2.50 to 2 tomorrow.
It means the maximum they will pay per month will also
come down from 25 to 20.
Minister for Health Simon Harris today announced that
390,000 people over 70 years with a medical card,
including their dependents, will benefit from reductions to
prescription charges.
The measure was announced in the October Budget and
follows pressure to ease the financial pressures caused by
the unpopular charge.
There will no be change for other groups of people with
medical cards.
Mr Harris said: "From tomorrow, Wednesday 1st March,
prescription charges will be reduced from 2.50 to 2.00
per item and in addition the maximum monthly limit will
be reduced from 25 to 20 per person or family per
month.
"These changes will benefit over 390,000 medical card
holders, advancing a key Programme for Government
commitment to reduce the cost of medicines for medical
card holders.
"I am very pleased to be in a position to announce its
immediate effect.
"Naturally as we grow older, we require more medical help
and assistance and from tomorrow, 390,000 of our older
friends and family will pay less for their medicines."
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/prescription-charge-for-
over70s-cut-from-250-to-2-35490273.html
THE IRISH FACE OF FAKE NEWS ~ The wannabe cop who
has been found out! Paul Williams is the darling of RTE and
Official Ireland. This crime correspondent even had Garda
Commisioner Norin O' Sullivan at one of his book launches.
He gets all his information from Garda sources, regardless
of whether such information is accurate. It is a nice little
arrangement, whereby the Gardai put out whatever they
want in the publi domain, even if such information is
untrue or defamatory, knowing that Williams and his
editors will lap it all up like a kitten with a bowl of whisked
cream. So it was no surprise that Williams, through his
opinion pieces in Dennis O' Brien's Independent
Newspapers, has demonised and attacked the integrity
and credibility of the Garda Whistleblowers Maurice
McCabe and John Wilson on and off since 2014. So cringe
worthy are his articles that it was almost as if the Garda
Press Office were the authors. The Real Irish Media does
not know the identity of the journalist who approached
Superintendant David Taylor with a smear on Maurice
McCabe. We are not suggesting that the person was Paul
Williams. But whoever it was, obviously has the ear of the
Garda top brass and he or she should be stripped of their
NUJ card and named and shamed. The likes of that hack
and Paul Williams feed off the juicy stories which the
Gardai give them and such activity no doubt has put lives
in danger. Let's hope that the Charleton Investigation also
shines a light on the corrupt relationship between certain
sections of the media and the nation's law enforcement.
Because it is one very dirty and sick relationship.

Inside Apollo House The untold Story


Feb 24, 2017
This is the inside story of how a group of people took over a
NAMA-controlled former office block in Dublin city centre and
turned it into a shelter for the homeless. The story of Home
Sweet Home Eire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zptEVbAwMqQ
Poll: Would you watch Coveney and Varadkar going toe-to-
toe in a live debate?

react-text: 6 RESULTS /react-text


react-text: 9 1556 Votes /react-text
Yes41%
No54%
I'm not sure4%

Coveney needs to
clarify claims and
publish legal advice
Boylan
1 March, 2017 - by Lynn Boylan MEP
Speaking this morning, Sinn Fin MEP Lynn Boylan has called
for Minister Simon Coveney to publish the legal advice given to
him by the Attorney General in relation to the legal position of
European Commission in relation to water charges and
subsequent fines, given that she has legal advice to the
contrary.
MEP Boylan said:
It is imperative in the interest of trust and truth that Minister
Coveney come forward with his legal advice that Ireland would
incur EU fines if water legislation does not have a provision for
excessive use. The reason that the advice needs to be
published is because there is legal advice to the contrary as
well as a dearth of information of obfuscation and
deceitfulness on behalf of the European Commission on this
subject. Not to mention the academic research that shows
household metering to be ineffective and not good value for
money if the aim is to conserve water. All of which Minister
Coveney and sections of the Irish media find it convenient to
ignore.
There needs to be clarity around the EU commission position
on water charges instead of conveniently hiding behind simple
narratives because of fear of the complexity of the Water
Framework Directive.
Before the EU Commission embarked on their own
mendacious campaign, they clearly stated that Ireland could
avail of a derogation on water charges in its second River Basin
Management plan and that there could be no judgement cast
on Irelands compliance until that plan is submitted later in
December this year.
Most importantly, in relation to Minister Coveneys comments
yesterday, he either forgot or ignored to mention a significant
point, that the Water framework directive is up for review
within the next two years and that will give the Irish
Government, and Irish MEPs, the opportunity to further
strengthen Irelands model of water management.
Sinn Fein and our legal opinion believes that with the proper
investment in water infrastructure and the rolling out of a
comprehensive water conservation education programme,
Ireland would be able to demonstrate its full compliance with
the objectives of the water framework directive.
A final point in all this that needs to be raised is Fine
Gaels breathtaking hypocrisy on the EU, Coveney and his Fine
Gael colleagues have no problem at all spending millions of
taxpayers money on defending Apple, yet when it comes to
defending the democratic wishes of the people against the EU,
it is back to the forelock tugging.
http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/43693

Fine Gael-Fianna Fil rift over water


charges may spark election
FF bid to scrap excessive use charge ruled out by Coveney
as move would be illegal.

Simon Coveney: Said he was willing to consider the option


of refunds.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fil are on a collision course over


scrapping water charges in a fresh row which has moved
the country closer to the threat of a snap general election.
Fianna Fil wants to permanently abolish water bills,
including any charge for excessive use, a move Housing
Minister Simon Coveney definitively ruled out last night.
Mr Coveney said that he would not, as an office holder,
bring in any legislation that was contrary to EU law or the
advice of the Attorney General, or exposed the country to
huge fines.
Fine Gael wants some charge to remain for excessive use
or wastage. The minister said Fianna Fil had changed its
position only in the last few days.
Any [committee] recommendation has to be consistent
with the water framework directive in our view, otherwise
we will essentially be introducing a new water regime
which would be illegal, he said.
And the European Commission have made it very clear
that they will take action and I will not do anything that
will potentially expose the State to very significant
penalties and fines. Im just not going to do that as a
minister.
The row intensified after Fianna Fil earlier in the day
revealed that it favoured refunds and an end to homes
being metered, but also opposed any future charge for
excessive use.
A system of refunds would cost over 160m, and an end
to household metering would raise questions about the
500m already spent on water meters. Mr Coveney
yesterday said he may be willing to consider the option of
refunds
Fianna Fil outlined its position to an Oireachtas
committee on water charges, and its stance means the
group could recommend to the Dil a system of refunds
but possibly also the abolishing of charges if an excessive
water levy is also ruled out.
This last point shocked Fine Gael members, with one
senior party source saying last night: If Fianna Fil
maintains its position, there will be a general election in a
few months.
Fianna Fils Barry Cowen told the Irish Examiner his party
supported refunds and did not buy the idea of an
excessive use charge.
We dont believe there is an excessive use, its leakage
that is the problem, he said.
Fianna Fil says existing legislation can be used to fine
households wasting water and general taxation can fund
services.
It is also standing by legal advice it received which claims
scrapping water bills is in line with EU rules, as Ireland
received a derogation or exemption previously.
The partys position means 10 of 20 members on the
committee now formally oppose any future water charges,
when the stance of Sinn Fin, AAA, and Independents are
included.
Those groups also oppose any more home water meters
being installed and instead want district metering, which is
used in Scotland.
Those in favour of charging include the six Fine Gael
members and one Labour TD. The position of two
Independent members and a Green TD remain unknown.
AAA-PBP member Mick Barry said the view of the
committee now signalled a victory for the Irish people
after huge protests.
What the parliament does, the street can undo, he said.
Sinn Fin TD Eoin Broin said the development was a
win for ordinary people.
Im pretty confident we have seen the end of water
charges once and for all, he said.
With Fianna Fil opposing an excessive charge, the
Government may be forced into permanently scrapping
charges. The confidence and supply deal between the
parties states they both reserve their right to adopt
differing positions on water.
It also states the Government will be the ones to pass
legislation on recommendations on charges, even if this
includes their abolition.
However, Mr Coveneys insistence that the Government
will not breach EU law means that its potentially prepared
for the first time to risk collapsing its confidence and
supply agreement. Without Fianna Fils support in the
Dil, the Government would have no choice but to call a
general election.
Mr Coveney denied he would be breaching the agreement
if he refuses to pass any legislation on charges, as the
deal did not include obliging office holders to break the
law. The minister said he wanted all sides to reach a
compromise.
The Oireachtas committee resumes deliberations today.
Fianna Fil has come under fire for its position on water
charges, in the latest Dil debate on water charges.

It is refusing to support a Sinn Fin motion calling for


water to be paid through general taxation, even though
that's its own position.

During the debate Sinn Fin's Louise O'Reilly said Fianna


Fil had "more positions than the Kama Sutra" on the
issue.

But housing minister Simon Coveney defended the expert


group on water, and said the system DID need major
investment.

"When I was a minister for agriculture it was made crystal


clear to me - in conference after conference after
conference - that one of the very few, and you can count
them on one hand, the number of countries in the world
that dont have any predicted water security issues and
Ireland is on the top of the list."

Sinn Fin President Gerry Adams TD said: Call it political


manoeuvring. Call it doublespeak. But dont call it new
politics. Its vintage Fianna Fil politics. Its all about the
party and the lust for power.

The fact is there is a necessity to scrap water charges


without delay. That is the only way the debacle of water
charges and Irish Water will be dealt with.
http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/fg-ff-rift-over-water-charges-
may-spark-election-444115.html

So many questions... what's


happening with water charges?
Fianna Fil and Fine Gael are at loggerheads over water charges
again.
4 hours ago 8,014 Views 131 Comments
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Text content
Anti-water charges protester.
Source: Rollingnews.ie
IS IT THE end of water charges? Anti-Austerity Alliance-
People Before Profit (AAA-PBP) members think so, but Fine
Gael isnt giving up without a fight.
We are on the brink of a historic victory, TD Mick Barry
told reporters yesterday.
We are in the last 10 minutes of the cup final now. Our team,
the Anti-Water Charges team, holds the lead but were not in
the slightest bit complacent on this and we will fight like
men and women possessed over the month of March to
ensure that when the final whistle goes, we will be the
winners.
Yesterday, members of Fianna Fil stood with their
colleagues in the Future of Water Services committee who
are seeking the abolition of all domestic charges including
those mooted in cases of excessive use.
In a private meeting, TDs discussed the committees draft
report with Fianna Fil, Sinn Fin and AAA-PBP agreeing
that there should be no re-introduction of charges.
The committee has made no formal decision on the matter
and there was a twist late last night when Housing Minister
Simon Coveney stamped out any celebrations of the AAA-
PBP group by stating that he would not be legislating for the
abolition of the water charges regime, claiming to do so
would be in breach of EU law.
Z Coveney says he will not legislate for
water charges abolition as it would be
illegal >
I will not introduce legislation that potentially exposes the
country to very severe penalties and fines from the
European Commission I wont do that, Coveney told
reporters.
Why was the committee set-up in the first place?
The 20-member Joint Committee was set up after
government formation talks last year.
Water charges was one of the main issues that could have
prevented Fianna Fil and Fine Gael signing up to the
confidence and supply agreement (which basically keeps the
current minority arrangement ticking along).
Ultimately, an agreement was reached and an expert
commission was established to make recommendations to
allow for a sustainable long-term funding model for the
delivery of domestic water and wastewater services by Irish
Water.
It delivered its report in November and recommended that
the vast majority of consumers will not have to pay direct
charges for water.
The cross-party committee was then established to discuss
the future of water services, with a commitment that a
report be delivered in March.
TDs will meet again today to discuss its final
recommendations for the future funding of domestic water
services.
There are still many questions to be answered so weve
taken a look at what is likely to happen.
Will there be future charges for households?
Its unlikely there will be water charges for all. With
Coveneys late intervention last night, a compromise might
have to be reached to avoid the government being brought
down.
While the idea of people paying for excessive water usage
was previously floated, critically yesterday, Fianna Fil
indicated they are opposing any charges.
Coveney believes this is a complete U-turn by the party. As it
stands, Fine Gaels position is that there should be
consequences for those who use excessive amounts of water,
namely a charge of some kind.
This would tick a box for the European Commission,
ensuring the State would not be in breach of any EU law.
That would, in turn, mean Ireland avoids any fines from
Europe.
Last year, the European Commission said Ireland will be in
breach of European law should it remove water charges
completely. (Once introduced, the EC says water charges
cannot be discontinued.)
Yesterday, the AAA-PBP was optimistic but cautious about
the committees final report, noting there were concerns
about Fianna Fil backtracking on its position.
Barry said the partys policy has not always been consistent
and he was wary of possibly deals being struck with Fine
Gael.
FactCheck: Has Fianna Fils position
on water charges really been consistent?
On the offensive following Coveneys late night remarks,
Paul Murphy issued a statement saying the Minister has
declared he will not introduce legislation to scrap water
charges even if the majority of the Dil votes in favour of it.
View image on Twitter

Follow

Paul Murphy

Scrap water charges or an election. Your choice .


10:37 PM - 28 Feb 2017
8 8 8 Retweets23 23 likes
Source: Paul Murphy/Twitter

Is it the end of the water meters programme?


This report could certainly mean the end to household water
meters as there is a clear majority on the committee in
favour of halting the domestic installation programme.
ODea indicated his party favoured a district metering
system, rather than household meters something Murphy
agreed with.

He claims it would cost a further half a billion euro to


complete the current water meter installation programme.
To date, they have cost 500 million.
The AAA-PBP TD said the committee heard overwhelming
evidence from water service providers in other jurisdictions,
such as Scotland, that district metering was a better
option over household water meters.
Water meters are not the new e-voting
machines they cost us a lot more>
So, does this mean refunds for those that have
already paid?
This has been the big question since the suspension of water
charges and the cessation of Irish Water bills. Should
those who paid be refunded or those who boycotted be
chased for payments?
As of last night, its understood the majority of the
committee is in favour of refunds but the method of doing so
has not been decided.

Follow

Paul Murphy

Clear majority in water committee against any charges and


for refunds. If this holds, it will be a victory for anti-water
charges movement.
1:40 PM - 28 Feb 2017
71 71 Retweets123 123 likes
Source: Paul Murphy/Twitter

Murphy believes the 162 million collected by Irish Water


should be refunded.
This figure does not include what it would cost to administer
the refunds, though some are speculating the easiest and
most straight-forward way of giving people their money
back is through a tax rebate.
Coveney told the media last night that Fine Gael is willing to
compromise on some issues, such as refunds, but not on the
issue of charging for excessive use of water - an indication
that refunds could be on the way.
What about the 100 water conservation grant?
Fianna Fil has insisted that people who received the water
conservation grant should have that deducted from their
refunds.
However, speaking to the media yesterday, Murphy said it
was time to draw a line under the water conservation grant.
I dont think we should go after the conservation fund it is
what it is.
Its understood more than 800,000 customers applied for
the 100 payment.
Will Irish Water still exist?
Irish Water will be retained as a single national utility in
public ownership responsible for the delivery of water and
wastewater services.
This is the first line in the FF-FG agreement on water
services. So, it has always been the case that Irish Water will
continue to exist in one form or another.
What next?
Fine Gael has been left in an isolated position. The party
believes the recommendations from the expert commission
should be followed.
Coveney dug in his heels last night while admitting that this
is a difficult political issue to resolve.
However, looking back again at the confidence and supply
agreement, it states that Fine Gael and Fianna Fil reserve
their right to adopt differing positions on any consequent
legislation or resolutions being debated by the Oireachtas.
This could spell trouble ahead if they cant reach a
compromise.
The agreement merely states that the government will
facilitate the passage of legislation for the implementation
of the recommendations in relation to domestic water
charging (whether it be abolition, a reformed charging
regime or other options).
This line was put to the minister yesterday evening and he
was asked what would happen if the Oireachtas approved
and voted in favour of the abolition of the water charges
regime.
Facilitating is not the same as introducing, he clarified.
What I am saying is I cannot introduce legislation that I
regard as effectively illegal.

View image on Twitter

Follow

Paul Murphy

If Coveney follows through on his threat not to pass anti-


water charges legislation, he's in breach of confidence&
supply agreement.
8:58 PM - 28 Feb 2017
U 14 14 Retweets24 24 likes
Source: Paul Murphy/Twitter

He said he wanted a fair outcome for all but one that is


legally sound. Sources within the Fianna Fil party have
indicated that this move by Coveney could be a breach of the
agreement.
When asked last night if Fine Gael was gearing up for a
possible early summer election, Coveney said he didnt think
that was the case.
I hope not.
THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION has expanded on its view
that Ireland would be in breach of European law if we were
to step back from the current system of water charges.
In response to a detailed query from TheJournal.ie, a
spokesperson for the commission confirmed in a statement:
The Directive does not allow Member States that have
introduced water charges to apply article 9(4) and revert to
any previous practice not entailing the recovery of costs and
the application of the polluter pays principle.
This confirms explicitly, and for the first time in a public
statement, that the ECs view is that an exemption from
water charges once available to Ireland, ended with the
introduction of water charges.
However, Sinn Fin MEP Lynn Boylan has said the
commission can only make a definitive ruling on water
charges after the government has submitted its forthcoming
proposals.
In a statement on Friday afternoon, she said any other views
expressed by EC officials were purely speculative and of no
legal standing.
A dispute earlier this week had revolved around the question
of whether water charges were the established practice for
paying for water in Ireland.
In response to a European parliamentary question from
Boylan, the commission this week stated:
If the established practice is to have a system in place
implementing the recovery of the costs of water services, in
accordance with the polluter pays principle, the Commission
considers that the flexibility afforded to Member States as
outlined in Article 9 paragraph 4 would not apply.
What thats referring to is Article 9.4 of the Water
Framework Directive (WFD), which was agreed upon in
2000.
The directive gave all member states until 2010 to put in
place a system of paying for water which incentivises
preservation, and discourages pollution.

Source: European Commission


However, Article 9.4 included a loophole known as the Irish
exemption, which allowed countries to opt out of that
requirement, on two conditions:
Z If their established practices for water did not involve
water charges
Z If the system they implement doesnt violate the
environmental and water preservation aims of the directive.
The commissions reply earlier this week was first reported
by RT, and set off a dispute among Irish politicians, with
Boylan and Fianna Fil TD Barry Cowen claiming that water
charges were not the established practice in Ireland.
Cowen, in particular, highlighted a 2010 commission
response to a question from then MEP Alan Kelly, which
appeared to suggest that the system considered the
established practice was the one in place when the WFD
was adopted, in 2003.
On RTEs Drivetime on Tuesday, Cowen effectively argued
that in 2003 Ireland paid for its water system through
general taxation, and therefore the subsequent
implementation of water charges in 2014 could not be
regarded as established practice.
However, we put this question to the European Commission,
and their response was clear: once a country has
introduced water charges, the WFD does not allow
them to revert to their previous system of paying
for water.
We asked the commission whether they regarded the de
facto introduction of water charges in Ireland to have
happened in 2010, when the Fianna Fil-led government
submitted to the EC their plan to bring in water charges, or
in 2014, when the Fine Gael/Labour coalition government
implemented legislation to that effect.
In a statement, the spokesperson told us:
The Irish authorities recognised as far back as 2010 that
reforms to the water sector were needed in order to improve
the management of the resource and strengthen poor
infrastructure. Ireland subsequently introduced water
charges.

Source: PA WIRE
The government plans to suspend water charges for nine
months and establish a commission to explore alternatives
to the current arrangement involving Irish Water.
However, the ECs now explicit public stance on the
expiration of our exemption could put additional pressure
on that commission to produce a proposal that fully
conforms with European law.
The expert commission is expected to forward its final
recommendation to a special Oireachtas committee in 2017,
after which the Dil and Seanad will vote on it.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Minister Simon Coveney
told TheJournal.ie:
The advice of the Attorney General has been sought in
relation to the Water Framework Directive and water
charges and this issue is under examination by that Office.
As would be normal with the drafting of legislation, the
Office of the Attorney General will provide advice on the
proposed legislation
If the EC deems that the temporary suspension of charges,
or the new system emerging from the expert commission are
in breach of the WFD, it could begin a lengthy, multi-stage
legal process, potentially including hefty fines, against the
Irish state.
It would then be up to the government of the day to decide
whether or not to challenge the EC, a process that could
ultimately see the question of water charges resolved in the
European Court of Justice.
The European Commission has declared that Ireland
does not enjoy an exemption from the obligation
under EU law for a system of water charges.
The confirmation is likely to severely limit the
Government's discretion to scrap water charges.
Furthermore, according to informed sources, Ireland
could face a procedure in the coming months that
could lead to daily fines due to the Government's
breach of EU law.
The commission has said that the earlier "flexibility"
on water charges afforded to Ireland no longer
applies.
The confirmation comes in the form of a written
response to Sinn Fin MEP Lynn Boylan following a
parliamentary question.
The statement clarifies that Ireland must abide by a
number of principles in order to be compliant with a
key EU directive on water.
The principles effectively require member states to
ensure that the "polluter pays", and that there is a
system in place to allow for the "recovery of costs" for
the provision of water services.
The commission's written response makes it clear
that Ireland's de facto exemption from water charges
no longer applies because the Government
introduced water charges and metering in 2010.

Specifically, Brussels regards the introduction of


water charges as Ireland's "established practice" in
ensuring that the princples of "polluter pays", and
"cost recovery" are adhered to.
These are regarded as the key principles of the Water
Framework Directive, introduced in 2000, which was
designed to improve water quality across the EU.
In its response to Ms Boylan's parliamentary
question, the commission states: "If the established
practice is to have a system in place implementing
the recovery of the costs of water services, in
accordance with the polluter pays principle, the
Commission considers that the flexibility afforded to
Member States would not apply."
When the directive was introduced Ireland was the
only country in the European Union that did not apply
water charges.
Article 9 (4) of the directive gave Ireland a de facto
exemption from the directive, but only if the
Government could show that the principles and
objectives of the directive would be ultimately
complied with.
Although Ireland was not spelled out in Article 9 (4) of
the Directive, the clause was widely referred to as the
"Irish clause".
In 2010 the Fianna Fil/Green Party coalition
introduced the concept of water charges and
metering.
It is understood that the European Commission firmly
believes the introduction, by the former coalition, of
water charges meant that Ireland's "established
practice" had changed, and that from that moment
on, Ireland's derogation no longer applied.
Today's written response appears to confirm that
belief.
Under EU law the European Commission will take
action against a member state if it is in breach of a
directive.
Ireland could, therefore, face what is called a "pilot
notification" in the coming months, in which the
Government would be given ten weeks to explain
how it is complying with the Water Framework
Directive.
If the commission is not satisfied that Ireland is in
compliance, then it can issue a letter of formal notice,
a more serious step in the disciplinary process.
Beyond that, if the commission believes Ireland
remains in non-compliance, it could take Ireland to
the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
If Ireland is found in breach of the Water Framework
Directive the court could impose daily fines.
In December 2012 the ECJ fined Ireland 12,000 per
day for failure to comply with another environmental
directive, this time on waste water.
In the event, Ireland paid a total of 3.5m in fines for
failing to comply with a 2009 ruling that it had failed to
fulfill its obligations on how waste water in septic
tanks was disposed of.
Confirmation that Ireland is no longer exempt from
water charges will almost certainly have a bearing on
the proposed Expert Commission, agreed between
Fianna Fil and Fine Gael and enshrined in the
Programme for Government, which is due to examine
how to fund domestic water services.
The draft terms of reference of the Expert
Commission indicate that it will "take into account
Ireland's domestic and international environmental
standards and obligations."
Following talks with Fianna Fil, the Government
planned to set up an independent commission to look
at the issue of water charges, and refer it to a Dil
committee before it is voted on in the chamber.
Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy has said
Ireland should not accept the declaration of the
commission.
He said that idea was nonsensical and the
democratic decision of the electorate and, what he
called, "mass non payment" trumped that decision.
He said the Government should fight the issue in the
European Court of Justice and that the Government
would have a strong case in doing so.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Social Protection Leo
Varadkar has said that everyone in the Dil will have
to take into account what the European Commission
has said in relation to water charges.
He added that Minister Coveney and the Government
will have to consider the implications of that and the
Dil will have to consider the implications of that after
the suspension of water charges is over in nine
months time
Alan Kelly (S&D) to the Commission
12 May 2010
Subject: Water Framework Directive and water charges
Answer(s)
The Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC(1), Article 9.4, indicates
that a Member State will not be in breach of the directive for non-
implementation of the provision of 9.1, second sentence, on water-
pricing policies where this does not compromise the purposes and
the achievement of this directive. Can the Commission provide
some further clarification on the meaning of this point? Can the
Commission confirm whether Article 9.4 effectively means that
water-pricing policies could be avoided if the principles of the
directive can be achieved through other resources and the principle
of the polluter pays is adhered to?

Article 9.1 outlines that in relation to the recovery of the costs of


water services, Member States may have regard to the social,
environmental and economic effects of the recovery. In the
Commission's opinion, does the application of a flat rate charge for
water services sufficiently take into account the social and economic
effects of the recovery on households with varying income levels?
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?
type=WQ&reference=E-2010-3366&language=EN
Parliamentary questions
21 June 2010
E-3366/2010
Answer given by Mr Potonik on behalf of the Commission
Article 9(1) of the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC(1),
requires Member States to ensure, by 2010, that a water pricing
policy is established based on the principles of cost recovery and
polluter pays. The water pricing policy shall also provide adequate
incentives for users to use water resources efficiently and therefore
contribute to achieving the objectives of the directive. The purpose
of the Water Framework Directive specified in Article 1 includes the
promotion of the sustainable water use based on the long-term
protection of available water resources. The environmental
objectives are set out in Article 4 and include the prevention of
deterioration of water bodies and the achievement of good status by
2015. The provision in Article 9(4) relating to the need to ensure
that the purposes and the achievement of the objectives of the
directive is not compromised relates to those objectives in Articles 1
and 4.

Article 9(4) provides the possibility for Member States not to apply
the provisions of Article 9(1) to a given water-use activity, where
this is an established practice at the time of adoption of the
directive and where this does not compromise the purposes and the
achievement of the objectives of the directive. The use of Article
9(4) is therefore subject to strict conditions.
The economic and social effects of a particular form of water pricing
on households will depend on the type of water pricing and the
socioeconomic profile of the households. It is for the Member States
to decide whether they have regard to these aspects on the basis of
an assessment of the effects of the water pricing policy on water
users. However, as regards Article 9(1), Member States who wished
to implement a flat rate would need to justify that it fulfils the
requirements in Article 9(1), in particular with respect to whether it
provides an adequate incentive for users to use water efficiently.
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-
2010-3366&language=EN
maybe you should show this to to minister Covney ..."not in breach "
being the operative word.

Coveney: No water charges


would be illegal under EU law
March 1, 2017

The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government,


Simon Coveney has said he will not agree with any
recommendations that would see charges for wasteful water
usage being scrapped.
Mr Coveneys comments come after the Oireachtas Committee
on water charges recently revealed that its findings into the
charges should see them abolished for good and every
household refunded as a result.

However Mr Coveney has slammed the decision saying that


any regime with no charges would be illegal under EU law, and
there is no way he or the Government can implement it.
Mr Coveney said: Were happy to compromise within reason,
but if that compromise involves us essentially doing
something that exposes the State to legal action, then I dont
think, as an office holder, I can facilitate that.
Irish water DIRECTIVE 2000/60/EC OF THE EUROPEAN
PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 October 2000
Amended by- establishing a framework for Community
action in the field of water policy
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?
uri=CELEX:02000L0060-20140101&from=EN

EC water charges
pronouncements
purely speculative
Lynn Boylan MEP
3 June, 2016 - by Lynn Boylan MEP
Sinn Fin MEP for Dublin Lynn Boylan has stated that the
European Commission can only make a conclusive response on
ending water charges once the government has submitted a
proposal. The MEP has said that any other assessments of the
situation are purely speculative.
Speaking today Sinn Fin MEP for Dublin, Lynn Boylan said:
Over the last number of days there have been sources within
the European Commission who were quoted as saying that the
ending of water charging will result in fines.
It is clear from replies received to myself and other MEPs, that
the Commission will only be able to make a conclusive
response once the government has made a proposal. Any
briefings or other assessments pending a ruling by the
Commission are purely speculative and of no legal standing.
It is no surprise that elements within the Commission support
the continuation of water charges and support the privatisation
of water. However the Commission needs to recognise that a
majority of TDs in the 32nd Dil were elected on a platform to
abolish water charges. The European Commission must respect
the democratic will of the people.
It is up to the Irish Government to implement the will of the
people and end water charging. We need the government and
all the Irish representatives in the EU to act together to ensure
the ending of these charges.
It is job of the Commission to respect the democratic will of
the people to end water charges. This can be facilitated within
the terms of the existing legislation.
http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/40194
Fianna-Fail -Manifesto abolish the governments botched Water
Conservation grant to save the state 110m. page 38

https://www.fiannafail.ie/download/An-Ireland-for-all-Fianna-
FaCC81il-Manifesto.pdf
abolish the governments botched Water
Conservation grant to save the state 110m.
(iii) Push down energy costs
Irelands current energy policy is driving up
consumer prices, making our economy
uncompetitive and failing to tap into the
opportunities presented by community
energy projects. It is time for policy makers
to develop a national energy policy which is
low in cost, is respectful of local communities
and their ability to contribute to our
renewable energy future and which secures
our energy supply from external energy
shocks. We will:
- Achieve a balanced energy mix to meet our
EU Climate Change targets.
- Diversify our renewable energy mix and
explore Bio-Mass and solar as additional
sources of
renewable energy.
- Reform the Commission for Energy
regulation to help drive down prices for
business and
families.
- Commission a full economic review of wind
energy, its impact on energy prices and its
long
term sustainability in supplying the Irish
national grid.
- Ensure that extensions to the national Grid
and interconnectors are underground where
possible and respect areas of natural beauty.
- Place climate and energy policy together in
one Department in order to ensure a joined
up,
co-ordinated approach to meeting our
Climate Change energy emissions targets.
(iv) Reduce DIRT by 3%
Savers have got a very raw deal under this
government. The tax on the interest earned
by savers has been increased by a massive
14%. In addition, anyone with unearned
income of greater than 5,000 has to pay an
extra 4% PRSI on deposit interest, bringing
the total tax on interest earned to 45%. This
is a punitive tax on people who have
prudently saved money. Fianna Fil
is committed to reforming and reducing the
tax on savings and making it more attractive
for people to put money aside.
- We will reduce the rate of DIRT from 41% to
38%. this will cost 22m annually.
(v) Cap local property tax charges
Fianna Fil successfully campaigned to
prevent a huge rise in local property tax bills
in 2017. We are committed to ensuring that
homeowners are not hit with large increases
after the next valuation date. We will:
- Legislate to ensure fair treatment of all
householders and prevent councils from
implementing increases in the overall
property tax take in their local area.
- Examine ways in which the operation of the
tax can be made fairer including o ering a
reduction to apartment owners and others in
managed estates who pay for local services
such as lighting, maintenance, grass cutting,
road repairs etc through their management
fees.
BROADENING THE TAX BASE
In the Renewed Programme for Government we have accepted the
recommendations of the Commission on Taxation on the need for
a property tax. Considerable ground work will need to be done
before a Site Valuation Tax can be introduced. Work will shortly
begin on the registration of ownership and the valuation of land.
The Renewed Programme also contains a commitment to
introduce a system of water metering for homes. Preparations are
underway. Water charges, when introduced, will be based on
consumption above a free allocation. Further details will be
announced by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government.
These charges, like the charge on second homes, will finance the
provision of local services by local authorities.
High Earners Must Pay Their Fair Share
We have set our face against increasing the burden of income tax.
But the Government wants high earners availing of tax incentive
schemes to contribute more in the current difficult circumstances.
Accordingly, for the tax year 2010, the effective rate of income tax
for those benefiting from reliefs will increase from 20 per cent to 30
per cent on top of which they will also pay PRSI and levies. This
represents a significant tightening of the restriction which will yield
approximately 55 million in a full year. The entry point to the
restriction will now occur at adjusted income levels of 125,000
with the full restriction applying at 400,000. I will examine the
curtailment and removal of further reliefs in the context of the
Finance Bill.
Our tax treatment of non-resident individuals is broadly in line with
that of most other OECD countries. But, we must ensure that every
wealthy Irish domiciliary who pays little or no income tax makes a
contribution to the State, especially during times of economic and
fiscal difficulty.
For this reason we will introduce measures which will impose on all
Irish nationals and domiciled individuals, whose worldwide income
exceeds 1 million and whose Irish-located capital is greater than
5 million, a requirement to pay an Irish domicile levy of 200,000
per annum regardless of where they are tax resident. The full
details will be set out in the Finance Bill.
I will also be introducing a package of measures to improve the
effectiveness of the Revenue Commissioners in tackling the
shadow economy, addressing smuggling and excise frauds, and
dealing with tax avoidance schemes.
Carbon Tax
The economic and social implications of climate change are
immense and it is the responsibility of Governments everywhere to
change behaviour to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
The most effective way is to put a price on carbon. This will
encourage innovation by incentivising companies to bring low
carbon products and services to the market.
Changing behaviour takes time but a start has to be made. Today I
am introducing a carbon tax equivalent to 15 per tonne. The detail
is set out in the Summary of Budget Measures. The tax will apply
to petrol and diesel from tonight. Increases to home heating oils
and gas will apply from next May.
The application of the tax to coal and commercial peat will be
subject to a commencement order to allow a robust mechanism to
be put in place to counter the sourcing of coal and peat from
Northern Ireland where lower environmental standards apply. A
vouched fuel allowance scheme will be developed to offset the
increases for low income families dependant on such fuels.
The yield from the Carbon Tax will be used to boost energy
efficiency, to support rural transport and to alleviate fuel poverty.
The Carbon Tax will also allow us to maintain or reduce payroll
taxes.
Carbon taxes will be a feature of economies across the world in the
coming years. Todays announcement sends a positive signal to
those gathered in Copenhagen, working for an ambitious
agreement on global climate change, about Irelands capacity to
show leadership.
The tax changes I am introducing today reflect my belief that tax
can make some contribution to the reduction of the deficit, and will
make a larger contribution in later years. But as we know from our
recent history, we cannot rely solely on taxing our way out of our
difficulties.

STABILISING THE DEFICIT IN A FAIR WAY


So if we cannot tax our way out of our difficulties and we all agree
in this House that we cannot borrow our way to recovery then the
only remaining option is to reduce our spending.
No one wants to cut spending but the cost of providing public
services has to be reduced to bring it in line with sustainable
revenue levels and to help restore our international
competitiveness.
Since 1997 we have made great strides in expanding the level of
public service provision. We did so out of the best of motives and
in response to public demand. Indeed many in this House criticised
us for not doing more.
But the current cost of providing public services is not sustainable.
Without any correction, day to day spending would be about 58
billion in 2010, an increase of about 2 billion over 2009.
Given that Public Service Pay and Social Welfare each account for
about one third of all day to day spending, reductions in these two
areas are unavoidable.
The measures I am announcing today amount to savings of over
1 billion on the pay bill, about 760 million on Social Welfare,
about 980 million on day to day spending programmes and about
960 million in savings on investment projects. Combined with
other adjustments, this amounts to over 4 billion expenditure
savings compared with the pre-Budget estimates.

ADJUSTMENTS TO PUBLIC SERVICE PAY AND PENSIONS


In my Supplementary Budget, I announced my decision to have top
level pay rates examined by the Review Body on Higher
Remuneration in the Public Sector and benchmarked against those
of other EU countries of comparable scale.
The Government has considered the recommendations of the
Review Body and intends to apply reductions to all public servants
in the higher pay bands including hospital consultants.
Based on the Review Bodys recommendations I propose to apply
a reduction in pay of :
U 8 per cent for those with salaries from 125,000 to 165,000;
U 12 per cent for those earning between 165,000 to 200,000; and
U 15 per cent for those earning 200,000 or more.
These are permanent reductions which will be reflected in future
pension entitlements.
The salary of the Taoiseach will be reduced by 20 per cent. This
reduction, together with the pension levy means the Taoiseachs
salary will be cut by close to 30 per cent in total.
Ministers and Secretaries General of Government Departments will
take a pay cut of 15 per cent: an overall cut of close to 25 per cent
when the pension levy is taken into account.
The Review Body concluded that the Constitution precluded them
from recommending a reduction in judicial pay. Had they not been
so precluded, they would have considered a downward adjustment.
For the same reason the pension levy was not applied to the
judiciary, though many judges have contributed an amount on a
voluntary basis. I can inform the House that the Chief Justice and
the Presidents of the Courts have urged all Judges to make the
appropriate pension contribution. I will make provision in the
Finance Bill to facilitate these payments.
Since the Review Body would have considered a reduction of
judicial salaries, I have decided that there will be no increase in
judges pay during the lifetime of this Government. Future
Governments may choose, as in the past, to continue this course
of action.
Those at the top will lead by example in this national downward
readjustment of pay. Legislation to give effect to these substantial
reductions in senior level pay will be published shortly. I want to
thank the Review Body for their work. Their report will be published
later this week.
It must be acknowledged that public servants have already made a
substantial contribution to the necessary reduction in public
expenditure.
The pension levy has reduced their pay by an average of nearly 7
per cent.
Their numbers have been reduced by the moratorium and the
incentivised early retirement scheme and career breaks.
Like many workers they have forgone pay increases.
Unfortunately, more is required. The country can no longer afford a
pay and pensions bill that accounts for more than a third of all
current spending. Any reduction in the pay bill must be sustainable,
must be applied in a progressive manner and must address the
position beyond 2010.
As the House knows, there were lengthy negotiations with the
public service unions in recent weeks. The Government wanted to
achieve the necessary reductions by agreement and the unions
earnestly sought to conclude a deal. I want to thank public service
unions for accepting the need to reduce the public service pay bill
and their constructive and strenuous efforts to reach an agreement
on how this would be done. Regrettably, a deal was not possible.
The reductions we must now make do not reflect any lack of
recognition of public servants or of the quality of the work they do
for all of us. They are simply a matter of budgetary necessity in
these extraordinarily difficult times.
Accordingly, the pay of public servants will be reduced with effect
from 1 January 2010 as follows:
9 a reduction of 5 per cent on the first 30,000 of salary;
10 a reduction of 7 per cent on the next 40,000 of salary; and
11 a reduction of 10 per cent on the next 55,000 of salary.
The reductions range from 5 per cent to 8 per cent in the case of
salaries of public servants of up to 125,000. The pay of members
of the Oireachtas will be reduced in line with that of the equivalent
public service grades. Provision for these reductions will be
included in the legislation which I will publish shortly.
In order to avoid a destabilising rate of retirement among older
public servants, the pension entitlements of those retiring in 2010
will not be affected.
I accept the Commission on Taxations recommendation that
pension lump sums below 200,000 should not be taxed. The
treatment of sums above this level, and the tax treatment of
pensions, including the consolidated 33 per cent rate of relief will
be considered in the Governments National Pensions Framework
shortly to be published by the Minister for Social and Family
Affairs.
Public Service Pension Reform
Exchequer spending on public service pensions will be over 2
billion in 2010.
As life expectancy improves and the population ages, this cost is
set to rise. The States pensions bill will grow from about 5 per cent
to 13 per cent of GDP by 2050, with two thirds of the increase in
spending going on social welfare pensions and the remainder on
public service pensions.
Cost increases on this scale cannot be ignored by a responsible
Government determined to secure our economic future.
The Government has decided to introduce a new single pension
scheme for all new entrants to the public service. The legislation
will be introduced in 2010 and the scheme will be in place by the
end of the year.
The new scheme will bring public service pension terms more in
line with private sector norms. Among other things, it will change
the calculation of benefits so that pensions are based on career
average earnings rather than final salary on retirement as at
present. This will be more equitable than the present system which
favours those with higher earnings later in their careers. The
minimum pension age for new public servants will also be
increased from 65 to 66 and then linked to increases in the state
pension age.
More details of the main elements of the new scheme are given in
the Summary of Budget Measures.
The link to earnings or pay parity basis for post-retirement
pension increases is a feature of Irish public service schemes.
The recent special report by the Comptroller and Auditor General
estimated that the present actuarial cost of public service pensions
is 108 billion. A change to a CPI basis for post-retirement
increases would reduce that cost to 87 billion, a reduction of 20
per cent. On average, pay increases have been significantly
greater than increases in the CPI.
As part of the reform of public service pension arrangements, I will
review the current arrangements and consider linking pensions to
increases in the cost of living. Pending that review, I do not intend
to apply the pay cuts I have already outlined to existing public
service pensioners.
These are significant changes. The Government is determined to
meet the immediate fiscal problems Ireland faces and, at the same
time, to make far-reaching reforms for the future.

ADJUSTMENTS IN SOCIAL WELFARE


The Government is proud of its unrivalled record in increasing the
level of social welfare payments. Over the last twelve years, we
have increased pension rates by about 120 per cent,
unemployment benefits by almost 130 per cent and Child Benefit
payments by over 330 per cent. The cost of living has increased by
about 40 per cent over the same period. We extended coverage,
removed barriers, and increased entitlements such that the level
and extent of social support payments has been transformed
beyond recognition.
We are determined, where possible, to maintain that progress in
inflation-adjusted terms. But we can either safeguard the generous
system we have by making these savings now, or we can put it all
at risk by extending it beyond what resources will allow.
We did not reduce welfare rates in Aprils Supplementary Budget.
But I did signal that rates of payment might be reduced if the cost
of living fell. As the House will know the overall cost of living has
fallen by about 6 per cent over the past twelve months, including
very sharp declines in the prices of the basic necessities of food,
clothing and accommodation.
In the case of working age rates of payment there will be a
reduction of about 4.1 per cent.
Unemployment among the young is a particular concern to the
Government. We want to encourage them to stay close to the
labour market while at the same time providing a rate of assistance
that compares very well internationally, particularly with payments
in Britain and Northern Ireland. We know from the bitter experience
of the 1980s how a welfare system out of step with labour costs in
the rest of the economy can trap people in protracted joblessness.
That is why we are making the following targeted changes:
for new applicants, the rate of Job-seekers Allowance and
Supplementary Welfare Allowance for persons aged 20 and 21
years of age who have no dependent children is being reduced to
100 per week and for those aged between 22 and 24 to 150 per
week; and
for all other cases, the rate will be reduced to 150 per week where
job offers or activation measures have been refused.
In making adjustments to Social Welfare rates, we recognised that
consumer prices have not declined at the same rate for all groups.
Older people have experienced by far the smallest reduction in
living costs. For that reason and in recognition of the contribution
they have made to the State the Government has decided to leave
the State pension unchanged.
Child Benefit
In the Supplementary Budget, I raised the issue of the unfairness
of paying the same level of benefit irrespective of the level of
income of the recipient. Not only is this unfair but it is also
unaffordable in current circumstances. Child Benefit this year will
cost 2.5 billion or 12 per cent of Social Welfare spending.
I had hoped to be able to introduce greater equity by making Child
Benefit taxable or means tested but there are legal and logistical
reasons why I cannot do so at this stage. For that reason, the
Government has decided to make the changes on the spending
side.
Accordingly, the lower and higher rate of Child Benefit will be
reduced by 16 per month, bringing these rates to 150 and 187
per month respectively. Welfare dependent families will be fully
compensated by increasing the Qualified Child Allowance by 3.80
per week so that they will not be affected by this measure. Low
income families in receipt of Family Income Supplement (FIS) will
also be fully compensated.
The Summary of Budget Measures gives further details of these
and a number of other more limited changes on Social Welfare
entitlements.
Social Welfare spending rose in 2009 to 20.4 billion. The
measures announced today will reduce Social Welfare spending by
760 million in 2010. Despite this reduction social welfare
spending will reach 21.1 billion next year due to the sharp rise in
unemployment during 2009.
Of the major adjustments I am announcing today across all areas
of spending, welfare is making the smallest contribution.
As a result of these deductions, rates of payment will revert to
2006 levels in the case of Child Benefit and just below 2008 levels
in the case of working age rates for those aged 25 and over.
It is the Governments firm intention to maintain the comparatively
generous level of social provision we have in this country. But we
are in very difficult circumstances and everyone must make a
contribution. Government is about taking decisions, taking
responsibility, and making choices that not all will welcome. Cutting
public spending in the abstract is easy; deciding where cuts will fall
in reality is an entirely different matter. Those opposite have the
luxury of the former. We have the duty of the latter.
ADJUSTMENTS IN DAY TO DAY SPENDING
Over the last year we have been running to stand still in terms of
spending on public services. Reductions have been offset by
increases mainly due to increased unemployment and higher debt
servicing costs.
In this Budget the Government has decided to reduce spending on
public services by almost 1 billion in 2010 compared with the pre-
Budget estimates. We have sought to make savings through
efficiencies rather than through reductions in services. 400 million
of these savings arise in the health area where various measures,
including a prescription charge of fifty cent per item under the
medical card scheme, are being introduced to reduce the States
medicines bill. Details will be provided by the Minister for Health
and Children.
The remaining savings in day to day spending will be achieved
across other Departments, details of which are set out in the
Summary of Budget Measures.

REVIEW OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES


In framing this Budget I have been guided by the McCarthy
Groups report.
This Group did not examine spending in the Local Authorities
which provide critical services to communities and businesses at
local level.
Local authorities are a key driver of cost for business.
The Government has decided to undertake an Efficiency Review of
Local Authorities. This work will begin immediately and report by
mid 2010. The full details of this review will be announced by the
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

INVESTMENT FOR RECOVERY AND EMPLOYMENT


Although public investment spending is being reduced next year, it
will still be 6.4 billion or 5 per cent of GNP for 2010 and 5.5
billion each year for the years 2011 to 2016.
Tender prices for many new projects have also fallen back
significantly thus enabling us to get better value for money.
In 2010, our investment projects will focus on labour-intensive
areas such as schools building and maintenance, energy efficiency
measures and investment in our tourism infrastructure.
Other key investment priorities in 2010 will include science,
technology and innovation; promotion of environmental
sustainability; implementation of green enterprise initiatives;
housing and urban regeneration; the health sector; public transport
and finishing the inter-urban motorways.
I want to draw particular attention to an initiative in the health
sector. I am providing for a multi-annual investment programme in
important mental health projects which are in line with the strategy
set out in A Vision for Change. This investment programme will
be funded from the sale of surplus HSE assets and I am allocating
an additional amount of 43 million for this purpose in 2010.
Further funding for mental health will be provided as asset sales
allow.
National Solidarity Bond
I have received a number of proposals to establish a medium-term
national savings product as an additional source of funding for
capital investment. A product of this kind would enable ordinary
citizens to provide money to the State to stimulate economic
recovery and create employment.
I am announcing today the Governments intention to introduce a
National Solidarity Bond aimed at small investors.
The National Treasury Management Agency and my Department
are working on the details of the Bond and I expect it will be open
for investment early in the new year.

SAFEGUARDING THOSE WORST HIT BY THE RECESSION


Some have suffered more than others in this economic downturn:
U those who have lost their jobs or whose jobs are at risk;
U those who have concerns about meeting their mortgage
repayments; and
U those affected by the recent flooding.
Helping People Back to Work and Protecting Jobs
Protecting jobs and providing opportunities for those who are
unemployed to return to work and avail of education is a priority for
Government.
I am providing nearly 136 million in funding to provide an
additional 26,000 individuals with training places and supports:
56 million is being made available to Fs for short term courses;
20 million will go to an Activation Fund which will involve an open
call for innovative proposals that have the capacity to provide work,
education and training;
14 million is being made available, in addition to 26 million from
the EU, for supports to redundant workers in eligible companies
under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund;
9 million is being made available as support measures for the
food industry to enhance the competitiveness of this key
indigenous industry; and
36 million will be allocated to an Employers Job Incentive Scheme
giving PRSI exemption to encourage employers to take employees
off the dole. Further details will be announced by the Minister for
Social and Family Affairs.
This will bring the total places available for the unemployed to over
180,000.
We are already providing substantial supports to employers
through the Stabilisation Fund and the Temporary Employment
Subsidy Scheme which will cost 165 million in 2010.
In line with the Government's commitment to enhance the
efficiency of the State's investment in Science and Technology it is
my intention to create a single stream of funding in this area. To
advance the Smart Economy, it is essential that the State secures
the maximum commercial return from its substantial investment in
research, science and innovation. Details of the new arrangements
will appear in the Revised Estimates volume to be published in the
early part of the new year.
Mortgages
All sides of this House share a concern for those who face
difficulties meeting their mortgage repayments.
It is important to remember that only twenty homes have been
repossessed by the institutions covered under the Government
Guarantee in the first three quarters of this year.
Mainstream mortgage lenders have adopted a responsible position
towards their customers. Most recently the Irish Banking
Federation issued a Statement of Intent which provides that
where a customer in difficulty adheres to a mutually acceptable
arrangement with their lender, the lender will not initiate any form of
legal action against them in relation to their mortgage.
The Renewed Programme includes a commitment to introduce
new measures to protect families having difficulty with their
mortgages. As a first step in this process I have asked the
Financial Regulator to examine the extension of the six month
moratorium on legal proceedings already in the Code of Conduct
on mortgage arrears to twelve months for all lenders.
Everyone has to play their part and I will require the banking
industry to engage with Government to find innovative solutions to
ease the burden for affected home owners.
In the Supplementary Budget I refocused mortgage interest relief
on those who bought their homes at the peak of the market. As a
support to homeowners who now find themselves in negative
equity I am providing that where entitlement to the relief would
expire in 2010 or after, they will now continue to receive it up to the
end of 2017.
To encourage those who want to buy a house over the next three
years I will provide that:
qualifying loans taken out before 1 July 2011 will continue to get
relief at current levels for seven years, and
transitional arrangements will apply to loans taken out in the
subsequent 18 months at a reduced level and duration.
It is my intention to abolish mortgage interest relief entirely by the
end of 2017. Full details will be set out in the Finance Bill.
The Government already provides help and support for families in
difficulty with their mortgages through the Mortgage Interest
Subsidy Scheme. A review of the operation of this Scheme will be
completed early in the new year.
Responding to the Flooding
The recent flooding has brought severe hardship on communities
in the affected parts of the country.
I am announcing today that in excess of 70 million will be
provided over the remainder of 2009 and into 2010 to help those
affected by recent flooding and fund work to minimise the risks of
future incidents. The review of investment priorities which will
shortly be published will also provide for continued substantial
investment in flood relief. The Government is keeping this situation
under review and will commit further resources as required.

STIMULATING THE ECONOMY TO HELP SUSTAIN AND


CREATE JOBS
Those in business understand the connection between fiscal
sustainability and business confidence. But they also understand
that delivering economic recovery is about more than cutting the
deficit. We must invest in every sector to create jobs and secure
sustainable growth.
Today I am announcing a number of stimulus measures to aid the
economic recovery in the short term and help ensure sustainable
growth for the future.
Supporting the Retail Sector: VAT and Excise Changes
Our retail sector has been battling a steep currency depreciation
on its doorstep. The main reason for the increase in cross border
shopping is the currency differential. This is outside of our control.
But it is within our power to reduce our consumption taxes which
are among the highest in the European Union.
Recent CSO data show that 44 per cent of cross border shoppers
buy alcohol. To protect exchequer revenue and stem the flow of
cross border shopping, I have decided to reduce excise duty on
alcohol products. The reductions will be as follows:
12 cent per pint of beer and cider;
14 cent per half glass of spirits; and
60 cent per standard bottle of wine.
All these reductions are VAT inclusive. I expect the drinks industry
to play its part in making the cost of alcohol more competitive. If I
find this reduction has not been passed on to the consumer I will
reverse todays reduction.
I have looked again at the standard rate of VAT and I have decided
to reverse the per cent increase imposed in October 2008. This
measure will take effect from 1 January 2010 and is estimated to
cost 140 million next year.
I have decided not to make any changes to excise on tobacco in
this Budget because I believe the high price is now giving rise to
massive cigarette smuggling. My responsibility as Minister for
Finance is to protect the tax base. I have full confidence in the
effectiveness of the current multi-agency approach but early in the
New Year I want to explore what further measures we may need to
stem the illegal flow of cigarettes into this country.
Improving the Energy Efficiency of our Cars
The Government wants to encourage the increased use of
environmentally friendly electric cars and the development of new
technology in this field. To that end, the VRT exemption for electric
vehicles and the VRT reliefs of up to 2,500 for plug-in hybrid
electric vehicles are being extended by two years until 31
December 2012. We will also provide support to offset the initial
battery costs for such cars. This will help in fulfilling our ambitious
goals to reduce transport related emissions.
I am also introducing a car scrappage scheme, to run from 1
January until 31 December 2010. VRT relief of up to 1,500 per
new car purchased will be made available under the scheme,
where a car of 10 years or older is scrapped under certain
conditions. The scheme will have the environmental benefit of
removing some older, potentially less safe and polluting vehicles
from the road. Details of the scheme are provided in the Summary
of Budget Measures.
Getting Credit Flowing
In light of the massive State commitment to the banking sector, I
am determined that there will be a return to the taxpayers of this
country in the form of credit which supports healthy Irish
businesses and jobs.
This is why I am establishing a credit review system. I will use my
powers under the NAMA legislation to issue guidelines to all banks
participating in NAMA who have an SME business, to ensure that
SMEs, sole traders and farm enterprises will have recourse to an
independent, external review of decisions of credit refusal by the
banks. I hope also that banks not participating in NAMA or covered
by the Government guarantee will also decide to participate. My
aim is to have a simple, effective appeals process, run by people
with experience and credibility. The banks must comply with the
recommendations of the appeal process, or explain satisfactorily
why they cannot do so.
In addition to dealing with individual cases, the credit review
system will examine the credit policies and practices of the banks
for all SME sectors. It will pay particular attention to sectors, such
as the retail sector including car dealerships, tourism, and
agriculture where particular stresses have been reported. This will
help me to decide what further action might be necessary to
secure the flow of credit. I intend to publish the analysis from the
review process so that the performance of the banks participating
in NAMA will be clear to all.
I have asked Mr John Trethowan, an experienced banker with a
demonstrated commitment to public and social service, to oversee
the establishment of this credit review system with initial
administrative support from Enterprise Ireland. I expect he will start
his work shortly.
Assisting Agriculture and Forestry
Agriculture is an important component of our economy and this
Government has not hesitated to offer this crucial sector support
where it was most needed. We responded rapidly to the pig dioxin
crisis last year, where we provided some 200 million to save that
industry and the jobs within it. We have made a large investment in
agricultural infrastructure through the Farm Waste Management
Scheme. We remain committed to supporting an environmentally
sustainable agriculture sector and are in discussions with the
European Commission with a view to introducing a new five year
agri-environmental scheme. I have agreed to provide 50 million
from within the existing allocation to support this scheme.
I am also providing more than 121 million for Forestry and Bio-
energy. This includes a capital provision of 116 million to plant a
further 7,000 hectares of trees next year. This demonstrates the
Governments continued commitment to this vital sector as set out
in the Renewed Programme.
Retaining a Pro-Enterprise Tax Policy
Our Corporation Tax rate of 12 per cent has become an
international brand, known the world over. It is a powerful
expression of our pro-enterprise ethos and continues to attract new
business and new jobs to this country. In a time of great
uncertainty for international business, it is important that we send
out a clear message. The 12 per cent Corporation Tax rate will
not change. It is here to stay.
Over the last two years I have significantly enhanced the incentives
for R&D and intellectual property. I look forward to receiving the
report of the Innovation Taskforce and I will explore its
recommendations in the context of the Finance Bill. In Budget
2009, I introduced a three year corporate and capital tax exemption
for start up companies in 2009. I propose to extend this scheme to
new start-ups in 2010.
Significant opportunities exist in the international financial services
sector for centralising high value added activity in Ireland as this
sector restructures itself around the world after the global financial
crisis. Particular opportunities also exist for Ireland to become the
European hub for the international funds industry following recent
European legislative changes. I will be bringing forward changes in
the Finance Bill which will strengthen Irelands competitive edge in
this important sector.
Boosting Energy Efficiency to Stimulate the Economy
Boosting energy efficiency is good for the environment and for the
economy. It is a growing area of innovation with huge commercial
and employment potential.
We are allocating about 130 million for energy efficiency
measures which will include a new multi-annual National Retrofit
Programme in 2010.
This will build on the success of existing schemes delivered
through Sustainable Energy Ireland and has the potential to create
up to 5,000 jobs next year alone.
50 million of the carbon tax yield will be used to fund measures
such as help for households at risk of fuel poverty to make their
homes warmer. The local authorities will receive additional funding
to retrofit the social housing stock. This represents a significant
boost to the plan to retrofit over one million homes by 2025.
In addition, the scheme of accelerated capital allowances for
energy efficient equipment is being enhanced to include
refrigeration and cooling systems, electro-mechanical systems and
catering and hospitality equipment. This measure will improve
energy efficiency while also helping companies under strong
competitive pressure in sectors such as food and drink, retailing
and distribution.
Supporting the Tourism Sector
The tourism sector is a critical, labour intensive indigenous sector.
The overall Tourism budget will be increased in 2010 to enable a
marketing drive with the objective of increasing tourism numbers
and revenue by 3 per cent. Investment in visitor attractions will be
increased threefold to 22 million.
As an imaginative initiative to increase tourism numbers next year,
Iarnrd ireann have agreed to participate in a new scheme, to be
developed by Filte Ireland, aimed at senior citizens visiting Ireland
from abroad. This group will be offered vouchers for greatly
discounted rail travel throughout Ireland. More information on this
initiative will be given by Filte Ireland and Iarnrd ireann in the
coming weeks when the details have been finalised.

CONCLUSION
A Cheann Comhairle, I want to recall the death earlier this year of
Senator Ted Kennedy. Senator Kennedy was unquestionably one
of the best friends Ireland ever had on Capitol Hill.
Today, in a modest way I would like to honour the memory of a
great man from a great family. The Government will provide
funding for a project at the Kennedy Homestead in Dunganstown,
County Wexford from which his forefathers emigrated in the early
nineteenth century. The development of this important visitor
attraction will be a welcome boost to tourism in the South East.
The inauguration of John F Kennedy as President of the United
States in nineteen sixty-one gave a powerful sense of hope,
possibility and self-belief to Irish people all over the world.
A recent survey commissioned by the Irish Times found that 84 per
cent of those surveyed think Ireland needs to start believing in
itself again.
Yes, we have endured a traumatic eighteen months. The speed
and ferocity of the recession has knocked us off our stride. But the
innate advantages that brought us the boom have survived the
downturn.
We have taken a step back but we have in place a plan to take us
forward on the path of sustainable economic growth. That plan is
working.
Unemployment will not be as high as previously forecast;
our tax receipts have begun to stabilise;
consumer confidence is beginning to revive; and
our export figures are the healthiest in Europe.
As we begin to emerge from the unrelenting economic gloom of
the last eighteen months, we need to rediscover our optimism and
our self-belief. Now more than ever, we need that confidence on
which business thrives. The measures contained in this Budget,
some of them unpalatable, will engender that confidence.
A Cheann Comhairle, we have taken the hard decisions, but we
have been fair.
We have preserved the real value of social welfare for those most
in need.
We have protected older citizens.
We have reduced the cost of public services.
We have taken action on credit to protect borrowers.
We have cut taxes to protect jobs in retail and tourism.
We have maintained significant investment spending to promote
future growth.
We have announced measures to save jobs, stimulate employment
and protect the environment.
Our plan is working.
We have turned the corner.
I commend this Budget to the House. STATEMENT OF COMMON
PURPOSE

On the 25th February a democratic revolution took place in Ireland

http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/eng/Work_Of_The
_Department/Programme_for_Government/Pr
ogramme_for_Government_2011-2016.pdf
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
between Ireland and the Troika addressed the
issue of water
https://www.imf.org/external/np/loi/2010/irl/1
20310.pdf
reviews of Irelands implementation of the
terms and conditions of the bailout deal, the
commitments became increasingly detailed
and concrete. By March 2013, the Irish
government was promising the Troika-
https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2013/
cr1393.pdf
Statement by Commission and ECB staff
following the conclusion of the sixth post-
programme surveillance mission to Ireland
and, if necessary, to recommend corrective actions.
Irelands economic prospects remain bright, but some clouds
are on the horizon. In recent years, rapid economic growth has
provided tailwinds for policy efforts aimed at financial sector repair
and the restoration of sustainable public finances. Most recently, on
top of robust underlying growth, the level of GDP surged in 2015
driven primarily by changes in the global operations of some
multinationals. This added further to the fall in the headline deficit
and debt-to-GDP ratios but had only limited benefits for the
domestic economy in terms of household income and employment.
While GDP is expected to continue to grow at robust rates, the
future evolution of the activities of multinational enterprises
remains uncertain and the external environment has become
increasingly unpredictable especially after the UK 'leave' vote.
Ireland's fiscal adjustment has been remarkable but slowed
in 2016. While broadly compliant, the Draft Budgetary Plan implies
a risk of some deviation from the required adjustment towards the
medium-term objective in both 2016 and 2017. The government
used a large part of the over-performing, but partly volatile, tax
proceeds to fund additional current spending in 2016. While the
corporation tax increase is recognised as a level shift, this is not
fully in line with the June 2016 EU Council recommendations, which
encourage Ireland to use windfall gains to accelerate deficit and
debt reduction. Looking forward, a continued decline in the still high
level of public debt remains sensitive to fluctuations in economic
growth and is dependent on the size of fiscal adjustment. In this
context the government announcement of a debt-to GDP target of
45% of GDP by the mid to late 2020s is to be welcomed. In this
context, compliance with the EU fiscal framework provided under
the Stability and Growth Pact remains of the essence.
Increased external uncertainty puts an even greater
premium on prudent fiscal policy and a reorientation of
public spending toward investment. Efforts to enhance the
budgetary process are commendable. Yet, the reliability of multi-
annual expenditure planning remains weak, leading to repeated
changes to expenditure ceilings. If correctly designed, changes to
the fiscal framework would reduce the risk of pro-cyclical fiscal
policy in the future. Ongoing spending pressures call for a
strengthening of public spending reviews, including in the
healthcare sector. The 2017 budget aims to exhaust the available
fiscal space and little has been done to broaden the tax base in this
budget, leaving the public finances vulnerable to shocks. Further
current spending increases and tax cuts could narrow the scope for
public investment in infrastructure, making it difficult to address
bottlenecks and boost the long-term productive capacity of the
economy.
Despite significant progress in recent years, there is ample
scope for further vigilance for the banking sector. A number of
factors will continue to drag on bank profitability in the near to
medium term. These include the elevated stock of non-performing
loans (NPLs) and low-yielding tracker mortgages, weak credit
demand, difficulties in accessing collateral, and a risk that net
interest margins begin to decline. Domestic banks' capital levels
have improved, even though the results of the recent European
Banking Authority stress test signalled remaining vulnerabilities,
mostly stemming from the legacy of their weak asset quality. The
resolution of NPLs needs to maintain momentum and efforts to
ensure that accounts are sustainably restructured should continue.
In particular, the focus should remain on mortgage loans that have
long been non-performing. Despite the recent pickup in new lending
volumes, both households and firms continue to repay more than
they borrow, resulting in a still largely credit-less economic
recovery. Market uncertainty persists, including in relation to the
longer-term impact of the UK leave vote on the banks, especially
those with significant UK exposures.
Banks will need to carefully balance the push to boost credit
volumes with maintaining prudent lending standards. The
opposition Bill enabling the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) to cap
interest rates on variable rate mortgages, if enacted, could interfere
with the smooth transmission of monetary policy. By impinging on
the generation of sustainable profits by banks, it could also have
implications for banking supervision and financial stability.
Moreover, a decision to direct lenders as to the interest rate they
can charge could lead to a decrease in competition and have a
deterrent effect on potential new entrants to the market, thereby
inhibiting credit extension at sustainable market rates.
Developments in real estate markets need to be closely
monitored. While there is little evidence of house price
overvaluation so far, recent price and rent increases have drawn
attention to persistent housing supply bottlenecks. The government
has repeatedly intervened in the housing market to support the
recovery in the residential construction industry, but it will take time
to restore an adequate supply of new homes. Although commercial
property purchases are largely funded by foreign equity, close
supervision of commercial real estate financing should be
maintained. Since the CBI macro-prudential measures were
announced in late 2014, house price expectations have moderated.
Their review, published in November, resulted in several
refinements, while at the same time leaving the macro-prudential
framework and in particular the loan-to-income ratio intact.
Looking forward, the framework should be maintained to prevent
the potential re-emergence of a vicious circle between house prices
and bank lending.
The next PPS mission is planned to take place in the first half of
2017.
The mission would like to thank the Irish authorities for the helpful
and open discussions.

Floating voters wont forget water


charges farce
Wednesday, March 01, 2017
An Oireachtas committee now looks set to recommend
that the estimated 989,000 households who paid get
some form of refund.
After four years of the hated Irish Water quango; battles
over the installation of 890,000 meters outside homes; the
muddled billing of 1.5m people; and political chaos over
charging households, the money taken from people now
looks set to be refunded to those who paid their charges.
Furthermore, there is little appetite for an excess water
use charge. Water charges are finished.
That was the declaration from TDs across parties
yesterday about pending recommendations to the Dil.
The dragged-out narrative about water charges will be
mulled over for years. It will make wasteful spending by
previous governments look like small change when the full
amounts are totted up.
Initially, there were threats by the last government to
reduce peoples water supply to a trickle; then there were
water quotas for children; and finally there was the farcical
conservation grant to help pay for bills.
An Oireachtas committee examining the future of water
charges now looks set to recommend that the estimated
989,000 households who paid get some form of refund.
It could be by cheque, a tax credit or through Revenue.
The same conclusion though will be reached: Attempts by
the Fine Gael-Labour government to charge for water have
failed.
In fact, a decision to refund households is being declared a
victory for anti-water campaigners, who co-ordinated
marches against the levy across the country.
Committee members are meeting this week to finalise a
report which will go to the Dil and guide parties on how
to vote on the future of water charges. This decision must
be made by the end of March as charges have been frozen
only until then.
As of last night, Fianna Fils position was that it is against
any form of future charge. It wants to end the metering
programme, except for district metering, and says EU
water rules can be bypassed by funding services through
general taxation.
It must not be forgotten that Fianna Fil backed the idea of
water charges when in power up until 2011, where even
its election manifesto promised meters would create
thousands of jobs.
If bills are refunded, the next question is whether
excessive water use will be charged for in the future. Most
TDs and senators in the committee seem opposed to any
future metering system or a possible excess water
charge.
This is despite the country having already paid 500m to
install meters for almost 900,000 homes. Without a
complete metering system, it is hard to see how water
usage per household will be measured.
District metering in Scotland is being mentioned as an
alternative. But abandonment of individual metering
means any excess charge is unlikely.
There are many questions still to be answered, such as
how households will be incentivised to use less water or
whether they will be punished for excessive use.
And what about the meters in the ground; the demands by
the EU that the polluter pays; and the ability to detect
leaks on properties?
Water charging was tried in Dublin and collapsed in 1996.
It now seems that for a second time in around 20 years,
another failed attempt to roll out charges has come to an
end.
Granted, the committee has yet to finish its report by
March 13 and a Dil vote will follow. But the numbers in
the committee and their positions, as of last night, suggest
a regime of future charges is finished.
This leads to the next situation. Under the confidence and
supply agreement, the Government must initiate
legislation to scrap charges if the Dil vote goes that way.
Fianna Fils newfound position on water is likely to put the
Fine Gael government in an awkward position of having to
scrap and refund bills it introduced something voters
are unlikely to forget.
While it may look like Fianna Fil have seen the light on
water charges, it's important to never forget that once in
power, they were fully behind water meters and charges...
"It must not be forgotten that Fianna Fil backed the idea
of water charges when in power up until 2011, where even
its election manifesto promised meters would create
thousands of jobs."
So this might be a ruse to get elected into power in the
not too distant future whereby they can simply flip back to
their original position.
You have been warned folks. Take it seriously because
once they are in power, it's nigh on impossible to remove
them again...
The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) has said the
water-metering programme should be parked, but not
abandoned.

The Oireachtas Committee on the future funding for water


charges has heard that if the State is going to be the main
funder, then investing in meters is not a priority, and that
leaking pipes should be fixed instead.

However, the Commission has admitted they have no


definitive answer on how to work out whether a house is
being wasteful with water.

Labour TD Jan O'Sullivan said that without water meters, it


will be impossible to charge households who use water
unfairly.
Paul McGowan is from the CER said the proposal from the
expert commission is that the vast majority of the water
should be paid for by the State, and only excessive use
should be charged for.

"In that context, we said that at this time there are other
priorities for capital investment, but that we could come
back and look at whether there is a case for further
metering in due course," he said.
Housing Minister Simon Coveney has said that adults
should be allowed to use 123 litres of water per day free of
charge before excess costs apply under a new system,
writes Juno McEnroe, Political Correspondent.

He said households who had still not paid old water bills
should be pursued but allowed to pay outstanding debts
over a long period.

A special commission last month recommended most


homes get water for free. Mr Coveney said parties wanted
to move on and agree a plan through a new Oireachtas
committee on water charges.
But in an interview with the Irish Examiner he also
admitted that he and the Government had not received
word from Brussels as to whether the new water charges
plan was acceptable.
He expected the free water allowance per adult to be
agreed by the Dil to be 123 litres per day.

The average usage in Ireland is about 46,000 litres. To be


exact it is about 123 litres per day for an average adult...
We need to be at the national average and probably a
little bit more than that so that people who are using
water will have some flexibility around being a little bit
above the average or below the average.

Mr Coveney stressed that he did not want to interfere with


the Oireachtas committee, which will begin its work next
week. But he still believes households using excess
amounts of water must pay more.

If people are using more than that, why should their


neighbours pay for it through general taxation?

So if you have one house in the estate that is filling a


swimming pool out the back, everybody else in the estate
has to pay for it. That is just not fair. The Right2Water
campaign have been accused of doing a major u-turn after
it said that those who abuse or waste water should face
charges, writes Daniel McConnell, Political Editor.
The concession by the group, which has been vehemently
opposed to water charges, was seen as a major climbdown
by the Government.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney, responding to an Irish


Examiner online report of the comments, described the u-
turn as a interesting development.

Addressing the Dil's new Water committee,


representatives of the Right2Water group agreed that
charges should apply in cases where people use excessive
amounts of water.

Under questioning from Fianna Fil's Barry Cowen, Stevie


Fitzpatrick and David Gibney were pressed about previous
comments from Brendan Ogle, the high-profile spokesman
for the Right2Water campaign.

Mr Ogle, like Mr Gibney, speaks for the Right2Water


movement. He was asked specifically if he opposed
charging people for excessive use and he said he was not.
Does the Right2Water movement share that viewpoint?,
Mr Cowen asked.

Mr Fitzpatrick responded It is the viewpoint.


If this committee was in a position to agree a process by
which people who use excessive amounts, in the opinion
of this committee, were charged, is Right2Water happy
with that? asked Mr Cowen.

Yes, was the response from Mr Fitzpatrick.

Mr Cowen asked at what level did the witnesses think was


appropriate to consider excessive.

Let us say the Minister said 123 litres a day was


acceptable and we suggested the limit should be two or
three times that amount and recommended a swimming
pool take for beyond that amount. How would the
witnesses penalise people who use more than that amount
of water? he asked.

Mr Gibney responded: In terms of swimming pools, I live


in a community that does not have a swimming pool and I
do not know anyone who owns a swimming pool.

Right2Water is not opposed to the Government


introducing a swimming pool tax.

There might be a provision in terms of commercial water


charges and taxes. If we want to address waste then let us
address areas where water is wasted.

As much as 41% of water is lost through leaks.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr Cowen, said the


statement by the Right2Water spokespeople was truly
significant.
Mr Gibney said the Government has given 2.7bn in tax
cuts in recent years while funding for water services has
been cut.

If you want to fund water properly, stop giving away tax


cuts, so let's address the core issue, he said.

Mr Gibney questioned the Government's strategy of


reducing the Universal Social Charge and he singled out
Bank of Ireland boss Richie Boucher as to how much he
pays.

Richie Boucher, who works for Bank of Ireland, pays


63,000 in USC because he is a high earner. That is
equivalent to a salary for two nurses, Mr Gibney said.

Committee chairman Padraig O Ceidigh told Mr Gibney it


was not appropriate to name individuals like that.

Mr Gibney was forced to apologise.

Fine Gael's Martin Heydon accused Mr Gibney of being


opposed to cutting taxes for ordinary workers.

He said that 6% of the highest earners in this country pay


49% of the income tax and USC, which is a fairly
substantial figure.

They are also the key people who drive business and
economic activity in this country, said Mr Heydon.

I am surprised that Mr Gibney is opposed to cuts in


income tax for ordinary workers, he added.
Fianna Fil says the Government will collapse if it refuses
to implement the findings of the Oireachtas committee on
water charges.

But Enda Kenny is insisting the Government cannot


introduce legislation which it believes would break EU law.

The Oireachtas committee on water charges is meeting


again this afternoon to discuss whether there should be a
charge for excessive use'.

In the Dil Enda Kenny said the Government couldn't be


expected to ignore the advice of its own Attorney General:
Minister Coveney has at his disposal, legal advice that is
very strong and very clear and I am sure if ever you sit on
these benches, as Minister for whatever, you would not be
putting through legislation that you have very strong legal
advice that it is illegal to do so.

Update 11.41am: Fianna Fail have warned that any


attempt to undermine or bring down a committee
examining the future of water charges could breach a deal
with Fine Gael and potentially cause a general election,
writes political correspondent Juno McEnroe.

Party housing spokesman Barry Cowen (pictured) warned


that if Housing Minister Simon Coveney didn't do what the
Oireachtas committee wanted that this could result in an
election.
The fresh warning by the Fianna Fail TD comes after
Minister Coveney on Tuesday night also laid down a
warning that he is not willing to completely scrap water
charges, as this would be illegal.

He said that a move to rule out any excess charge would


be against advice from the Attorney General and the
European Commission.

The standoff from both sides is the most serious yet since
the confidence and supply agreement was made between
Fine Gael and Fianna Fai last year.

The Oireachtas committee resumes deliberations about its


report today, which will recommend to the Dail on how to
deal with charges before a final vote at the end of March.
Mr Cowen though, speaking to Sean O'Rourke on RTE, said
Fianna Fail now considered that the full abolishment of
charges was the best way forward. Any 'excess' charge for
wasting water could be expensive to process and bring
back little in revenue, he said. This is the model preferred
by Fine Gael.
Existing legislation instead could be used to pursue people
wasting water, said Mr Cowen.
He said Minister Coveney's intervention was
extraordinary and risked undermining the work of the
committee.
The confidence and supply agreement between the two
parties could break down, admitted the Offaly TD, but it
didn't need to.
Minister Coveney could not bring the committee down or
refuse to implement its recommendations as this would
definitely cause a general election, added Mr Cowen.

Update 10.30am: Fine Gael is rejecting accusations that


the Housing Minister has interfered in the work of the
water services committee.

Last night Simon Coveney insisted he would not bring in


laws on a new system if they do not include charges for
wasting water.

That is despite the fact the confidence and supply


agreement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail requires him
to introduce legislation to support the system agreed.

Sinn Fein's Eoin O'Broin, who is a member of the


committee, was not impressed with the Minister's
comments: The intervention by Minister Coveney last
night is quite unprecedented.

He set this process up, he said he wanted us to deliberate


and deliver a report and at that point the Oireachtas would
have its say.

I think what he was doing last night was interfering.

Update 9.29am: Fianna Fil has accused Housing


Minister Simon Coveney of disrespecting the Oireachtas
committee charged with addressing water charges.
His comment comes after the Minister intervened last
night and said he would not bring in laws on a new system
- if they do not include charges for wasting the utility.
The Confidence and Supply Arrangement between Fine
Gael and Fianna Fil requires him to introduce legislation
to support the system agreed by the committee.

Michael McGrath

Fianna Fil's Spokesperson for Finance Michael McGrath


says the intervention is disrespectful.
What Simon Coveney said last night means that Fine Gael
would be flagrantly breaching the agreement they entered
into with Fianna Fil whereby they gave a commitment to
facilitate the passage of legislation in Dil ireann to give
effect to the will of the Dil, he said.
So he seems to be prepared to throw that out the
window.
Simon Coveney

We are honouring our agreement and were not going to


be derailed by Simon Coveneys efforts to come across as
the strong man in all of this.

Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell, who is a member of the


committee which is working on the water service funding,
has dismissed the accusation against Minister Coveney as
'hilarious' and says he is hopeful the issue can be
resolved.
Alan Farrell

The Committee has to consider the amount of work left,


he said.
Were not a point where were drafting the final remarks.
Were not done yet, and I think that this matter can be I
hope that this matter can be resolved.

Earlier:

A fresh row has emerged over water charges which could


put pressure on the Confidence and Supply Arrangement
between FineGael and Fianna Fil.

The deal between Fine Gael and Fianna Fil included


setting up an Oireachtas Committee to decide the future
of water charges - with Housing Minister Simon Coveney
to introduce whatever laws that new system would
require.
However, in a dramatic intervention last night, he said he
would not bring forward those laws if the new system did
not include charges for households who waste water.

Minister Coveney says European law requires those


measures, and he would legislate to drop them.

"It is that I won't, but it's really that I can't," he said.

"I'm not going to take a position that is contrary to the


independent legal advice the Government has from the
Attorney General's office.

"That would just be blatant irresponsible of me, and I


won't do it."

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/floating
-voters-wont-forget-water-charges-farce-
444058.html

Confidence and
Supply Arrangement
Confidence and Supply Arrangement to facilitate a
Fine Gael led Minority Government.
Fianna Fil has agreed to facilitate a Fine Gael led
Minority Government under the terms of the
Framework attached to this document.
The Confidence and Supply votes are dependent
on the full implementation of the policy principles
attached to this document (Appendix 1).
The details on the Commission on Water Services
and the Special Oireachtas Committee on the
Funding of Water Services are attached in
Appendix 2.
Fianna Fil will be an independent opposition party
that will continue to pursue its own policies in the
32nd Dil through legislation, private member bills
and through Oireachtas Committees.
This list of six key policy priorities is not a
programme for government. It forms the essential
requirements for a viable supply and confidence
arrangement.

Core Principles for the Confidence and Supply


Arrangement for a Fine Gaelled Government
This is the document that outlines the confidence
and supply arrangement to facilitate a Fine Gael-
led Minority Government subject to the ongoing
implementation of the attached policy principles:
Fianna Fil agrees to:
c abstain in the election of Taoiseach, nomination of
Ministers and also the reshuffling of Ministers;
c facilitate Budgets consistent with the agreed policy
principles attached to this document;
c vote against or abstain on any motions of no
confidence in the Government, Ministers, and
financial measures (eg money bills) recognised as
confidence measures;
c maintain pairing arrangements for EU Council
meetings, North South meetings and other
Government business as agreed.

The Fine Gael-led Minority Government


agrees to:
accept that Fianna Fil is an independent party in
opposition and is not a party to the Programme for
Government;
recognise Fianna Fils right to bring forward policy
proposals and bills to implement commitments in
its own manifesto;
publish all agreements with Independent Deputies
and other political parties in full;
allow any opposition bills (that are not money bills)
that pass 2nd stage and proceed to Committee
stage within 10 working weeks;
implement the agreed policy principles attached to
this document over a full term of Government;
have an open approach to avoiding policy
surprises; and
introduce a reformed budgetary process in
accordance with the OECD review of the Oireachtas
along with the agreed Dil reform process.

Should an event arise that has potential to


undermine this arrangement, efforts will be made
to have it resolved by the two Party Leaders.
It is agreed that both parties to this agreement will
review this Framework Arrangement at the end of
2018. It is agreed that the final arrangements will
be recorded in a written document signed by the
respective Party Leaders.
This is a political arrangement and is not
justiciable.

Appendix 1
Policy Framework for a Confidence and
Supply Arrangement to facilitate a Fine Gael
-Led Minority Government
Irelands Economy
12 Maintain our commitment to meeting in full the
domestic and EU Fiscal rules as enshrined in law.
13 Facilitate the passage of budgets presented by the
Government within these rules and which are
consistent with the policy principles contained in
this document.
14 To address unmet needs, introduce budgets that
will involve at least a 2:1 split between investment
in public spending and tax reductions.
15 Base health expenditure on multi-year budgeting,
supported by a 5 year HSE Service Plan based on
realistic, verifiable projections.
16 Introduce reductions in the Universal Social Charge
(USC) on a fair basis with an emphasis on low and
middle income earners.
17 Establish a Rainy Day Fund.
18 Maintain Irelands 12.5% corporation tax, and
engage constructively with any measures to work
towards international tax reform while critically
analysing proposals that may not be in Irelands
long term interests.
Industrial relations and public sector pay
Recognise full implementation of the Lansdowne
Road Agreement in accordance with the timelines
agreed and recognise that the recruitment issues
in the public service must be addressed as part of
that Agreement.
Establish a Public Service Pay Commission to
examine pay levels across the public service,
including entry levels of pay.
Support the gradual, negotiated repeal of the
Financial Emergency Measures in the Public
Interest Acts having due regard to the priority to
improve public services and in recognition of the
essential role played by public servants.
Tackle the problems caused by the increased
casualisation of work that prevents workers from
being able to save or have any job security.
Respect the Workplace Relations Commission and
the Labour Court as the proper forum for state
intervention in industrial relation disputes and
ensure that both bodies are supported and
adequately resourced to fulfil their roles.
Securing affordable homes and tackling
homelessness
Significantly increase and expedite the delivery of
social housing units, remove barriers to private
housing supply and initiate an affordable housing
scheme.
Retain mortgage interest relief beyond the current
end date of December 2017 on a tapered basis.
Increase rent supplement and Housing Assistance
payment (HAP) limits by up to 15% taking account
of geographic variations in market rents, and
extend the roll out by local authorities of the HAP,
including the capacity to make discretionary
enhanced payments.
Protect the family home and introduce additional
long term solutions for mortgage arrears cases.
Improve supports and services for older people to
live independently in their own home, including
provisions for pension increases.
Provide greater protection for mortgage holders,
tenants and SMEs whose loans have been
transferred to non-regulated entities (vulture
funds).
Creating decent jobs & supporting enterprise
c Prioritise regional development across all policy
areas.
c Fully implement Food Harvest 2020 and Food Wise
2025.
c Secure the future of family farms and support our
fishing industry.
c Seek to introduce a PRSI scheme for the self-
employed and provide a supportive tax regime for
entrepreneurs and the self-employed.
c Increase capital investment in transport,
broadband, education, health and flood defences
following the mid-term review of the Capital Plan
which is expected mid-2017.
c Examine all options for increased credit availability,
competition and quality of service in the banking
sector through the development of new and
existing platforms.
c Develop a strategy for the growth and
development of the credit union sector.
Cutting costs for families and improving
public services
Reform the public sector to ensure more accessible
public services.
Maintain a humane approach for discretionary
medical card provision.
Develop targeted supports to reduce childcare
costs, broaden parental choice and increase
supports for stay at home parents.
Tackle child poverty by increasing community
based early intervention programmes.
Ring fence 15m in 2017 to fund the National
Treatment Purchase Fund to urgently address
waiting lists for those waiting longest.
Reduce primary school class sizes; reintroduce
guidance counselling to secondary schools and
increase financial supports for post graduate
students with a particular focus on those from low
income households.
Take all necessary action to tackle high variable
interest rates.
Seek to alleviate pressures affecting household
budgets across energy, childcare, medical and
insurance costs.

Tackling crime and developing community


services
Increase Garda numbers to 15,000; invest in CCTV
and mandate the Policing Authority to oversee a
review of the boundaries of Garda districts and the
dispersement of Garda stations.
Increase funding to LEADER.
Strengthen the Social Inclusion and Community
Activation Programme (SICAP) and develop new
Community Development Schemes for rural areas;
and reactivate and increase funding to RAPID areas
through the Local Authorities.
Improve services and increase supports for people
with disabilities: particularly for early assessment
and intervention for children with special needs
and provision of adult day services.
Fully implement Vision for Change in the area of
mental health.
Strengthen and develop cross border bodies and
services in Northern Ireland and implement the
Fresh Start agreement.
Establish a Judicial Appointments Commission to
identify the most suitable candidates for judicial
office.
Ensure that local Government funding, structure
and responsibilities strengthen local democracy.
Increase investment in the Irish language.
Appendix 2
FF-FG Agreement on Water Services
Irish Water will be retained as a single national
utility in public ownership responsible for the
delivery of water and wastewater services.
The Government will establish an External Advisory
Body on a statutory basis to build public
confidence in Irish Water. It will advise on
measures needed to improve the transparency and
accountability of Irish Water. It will publish advice
to the Government and give quarterly reports to an
Oireachtas Committee on the performance by Irish
Water on the implementation of its business plan,
with particular regard to:
Cost reduction and efficiency improvements.
Procurement, remuneration and staffing policies.
Infrastructure delivery and leakage reductions.
Improvements in water quality, including the
elimination of boil water notices.
Responsiveness to the needs of communities and
enterprise.
The Government will suspend the Water
Conservation Grant, while restoring exchequer
funding to Group Water Schemes to pre-2015
levels, implement multi-annual funding for the
Rural Water Programmes and revise grant levels to
new group water schemes and for the
refurbishment of private wells.
The Government will, within six weeks of its
appointment, introduce and support legislation in
the Oireachtas to suspend domestic water charges
for a period of nine months from the end of the
current billing cycle. The suspension of domestic
water charges will be extended by the Government
if this is required and requested by the Special
Oireachtas committee on the Funding of Domestic
Water Services (see below) in order to facilitate the
completion of its work and the consideration of its
recommendations by the Oireachtas.
The Government will establish within eight weeks
of its appointment an Expert Commission to make
recommendations for the sustainable long-term
funding model for the delivery of domestic water
and wastewater services by Irish Water (see draft
terms of reference below). The Expert Commission
will endeavour to report within five months of its
establishment.
The recommendations of the Expert Commission,
will be considered by the Special Oireachtas
Committee which will endeavour to make its own
recommendations to the Oireachtas within a period
of 3 months. The recommendations of the Special
Oireachtas Committee will be considered and
voted upon by the Oireachtas within a one month
period.
The Fine Gael and Fianna Fil parties reserve their
right to adopt differing positions on any
consequent legislation or resolutions being
debated by the Oireachtas.
The Government will facilitate the passage of
legislation (whether it be a money bill or otherwise)
for the implementation of the recommendations in
relation to domestic water charging supported by
the Oireachtas (including abolition, a reformed
charging regime or other options).
We affirm that those who have paid their water
bills to date will be treated no less favourably than
those who have not.
Draft Terms of Reference for the Expert
Commission
An Expert Commission will be set up to assess and
make recommendation upon the funding of
domestic water services in Ireland and
improvements in water quality, taking into
account:
The maintenance and investment needs of the
water and waste system on short, medium and
long-term bases;
Proposals on how the national utility in State
ownership would be able to borrow to invest in
water infrastructure;
The need to encourage water conservation,
including through reviewing information campaigns
on water conservation in other countries;
Irelands domestic and international environmental
standards and obligations;
The role of the Regulator; and
Submissions from all interested parties.
The Commission will be empowered to commission
relevant research and hear evidence to assist this
work. The Commission shall endeavour to
complete its work within five months.
https://www.fiannafail.ie/confidence-and-
supply-arrangement/
This shore is outside our front door. It's the only one in the
area. All the others were replaced by water meters.

Private security thugs intimidated and assaulted local


residents that stood up against the installation of those
meters. The thugs were protected by Gardai. One of those
who stood up was a heavily pregnant woman. Lisa Carroll.
Our daughter is nearly two now.

Most of the locals in the area felt so intimidated that even


the brave ones backed down. People from outside came to
help. Men and women. Strangers. Heroes.

Two of those people sat in our home. They were kids in


their twenties. Rosie Leonard and Oisin Fagan. Two others
lead the Right2Water campaign. Brendan Ogle and Dave
Gibney. Strangers changing the country. All four would
become major forces in Home Sweet Home.

We are all in profound debt to the people across the


country who found the courage to step up and fight for our
betterment. Not just because they prevented the
privatisation of our water but because they have sown
seeds of greatness.

Perhaps the Right2Change is not an impossible concept


after all. Fighting for what's right can begin at any time.
Who knows what seeds planted today can become. But
you have to plant the damn things. You have to get your
hands a little dirty. If we nurture those seeds who the hell
knows what we can become as a nation.
This will have to become an uprising.. an awakening of a Nation to
stop what has become a disaster for every man woman and Child.
And Slavery for future generations if we do not put an end to it . We
are being sleep-walked into a total disaster. Evictions. Suicides,
homelessness. Fear and intimidation of any against the take- over of
our most valuable Asset. Our Water.. we need to stand up for
ourselves now. Not in the future. We need to discover where we
want our Nation to go. We need to March quickly out of a disgusting
EU who care nothing for us except to make new rules to make us
pay more and more of their debts to Banks. We need to stop our
own Banks putting genuine people out of their homes to sell
valuable properties to Vulture funds. We need a Garda force that is
upright and working with decent people for a fair law and order. And
an Irish Army we can be proud of not an EU force.
And this is ours. Just a few of us stood our ground in our
estate. So proud of everyone who did the same. The
power of the people is greater than the people in power,
so stick that in yer pipe n smoke it Coveney!!

April 23rd 2014 ( Jesus was it that long ago ) a group of community
activist, this group Ballyphehane/South parish says no went to
Ashbrook Togher, to stop the installation of water meters,that day
didn't just happen, it was planned .
We as a group had been together for a few years working within our
community and further afield during the ill fated CAHWT, but we
always knew the WT in CAH was going to be the big one -water,
when most groups in cork had dissolved or to put it another way ,
been destroyed by politics of not been political by the then SP now
AAA ( that's a story for another day ) we stayed Together for better
or worse,it was like a marriage built on hate for the neoliberal
parties of the right , who between them were destroying any fabric
of social Justice in this country( and still are ) where bankers and
developers were prioritise over the elderly, infirmed and your family.
Their polices targeted the most vulnerable people within our
society( they still do ) this group had enough of waiting for change
and decided to start pushing for it .
March 2014 at one of our weekly meetings, it was voted that we
would take direct action against the installation of water meters,
leaflets had already been distributed about the dangers of water
metering and the threat they ,combined with Irish water Ltd would
pose to our water and waste water services, we had held public
meetings on the subject, some were well attended, but like
everything else people soon lose interest and the numbers
attending dropped, this was a problem that we had to solve and
solved it we did.
We decided again at one of our weekly meetings to bring the
meetings to them and so was born the residents meetings, meetings
on the greens one of the most effective tools used by us during this
long battle with IW and the state . It was at one of these residents
meetings in Ashbrook Togher that the residents agreed to the
blockade, not all but enough to make it democratic, in the few
weeks that followed IW threw everything they could at us, we
camped out from 5 am to 6 pm sometimes later depending on the
mood of the installers for weeks , determined no to let them in,
there was great community spirit in those weeks where laughter put
rest to the tiredness we all felt, food was supplied, stories swapped
between battles .
We took what we learnt from Ashbrook to all parts of cork city and
county we spend months doing residents meetings and helping
residents in estates stop IW and feel like communities again, where
people who only waved good morning to each other now talked and
stood shoulder to shoulder fighting to keep their communities meter
free, to stop this toll on their most basic human right .
What started in Ashbrook and spread across this island of ours was
an awakening of consciousness within our communities through
direct non violent action, what happened in cork was remarkable,
where cross community action was the name of the game,
communities from Mahon, mayfield , Togher Dublin hill Ballyvolane
the glen , Blackpool , passage , Cobh Carrigaline and other parts
came together to stop IW , we put together some of the biggest
demos this city has seen, we organised fundraisers to subsidise
buses to the R2W Demos in Dublin , all of them where attended by
us . But through all of this one group was everywhere , BSPTSN I
doubt you would find a blockade in this city where some of this
group was not present.
We meet some great people along the way, none more important
that Noreen Murphy who for years was the voice against water
privatisation in cork long before it became popular for our politicians
to talk about, she has always been a friend to this group and has an
encyclopaedic knowledge of this subject, gained from years of
researching the topic, so when the time came we would not have to
face water poverty in this country and face water privatisation .
The dail will vote on the future of IW, the charges and the metering
program in the next few days , already the leaks are starting to flow
( pun intended ) they are along the lines of , the charges are gone,
those who paid will be refunded , a dedicated water tax ?, only
those who use excessive amounts of water will have to pay into the
future ? Back room deals at play between FF and FG ( we all knew
that would happen) . And we have a lot of people claiming this is a
victory, FF in particular even delivered leaflets around this parish
saying they are the ones who will get rid of water charges ?
We as a group are not claiming any victory as this, if it plays out the
way it seems to be going could not be called such, we won't be
celebrating till we get what we started fighting for and that was the
abolition of IW and the charges and an end to the metering
program, a constitutional referendum enshrining the ownership and
management of our water and waste water services .When that day
comes there will be no one group responsible , no political party to
claim it as a victory for them it will be the people's victory , a victory
fought for through mass civil disobedience a victory for those who
were brave enough , to say no , not in my street no to your charges
no to IW and no to privatisation .
We won't be claiming it as our victory, no, how could we , we are
just saying we did it better than the rest

RIVER BASIN MANAGEMENT PLAN


SECOND CYCLE 2018 -- 2021
OPEN 28th FEB -- 31st AUG 2017

Can be view on DEPT of Housing,Planing, Community and


Local Government.web site
Water charges victory closes in. Fine Gael say they will
reject the findings of the commission. This could lead to
the fall of the government. Time to call an election and let
the people have their say. We need to kick out the landlord
parties.
Fine Gael dont want an election. They would rather hang on as long
as they can and hope a new leader brings them a bounce. But
events may catch up with them when a Dil majority votes them
down on water charge
Ye believe that the funding of the fixing of the Water Infrastructure
should be done through GT, the WI needs billions of euros in
funding, so what tax increases do u propose to implement or where
do u suggest the funding come from. Also as of now the commission
would seem to be split on the agreement

There should be no discussions with any water


commission ,Fine Gael ,Fianna Fai,l Labour ,Green Party ,or
anybody that agrees with water re-charging , When you
have a discussion /talks what is expected is that you give
a inch here a inch there ,With politicians spinning some of
your words to show you agree with their policies .Not a
inch means not a cent ,not "Generous Allowances " on
water .Not that Irish Water continue as a super -quango
.with assets paid for by the Irish People ,Not a inch, not a
cent and a disbandment of Irish Water ,anything else is a
sellout .

The people will continue the WAR until Irish Water is dead and
buried. They need to be sent packing no matter where they try to
get a foothold on Water, as the ultimate aim for IW is to SELL Water.
Not to maintain it. Not to improve it. Just a Water grab to sell it
under the noses of a Gullible trusting people. That goes for this
CETA also. Which has plenty in its agreement on Water - grabbing
and sale.
The village idiots that screwed the country up assisted by a few
others then they are responsible for selling off the country and the
National health by stealth. They are the ones who destroyed our
country and don't want us to get it back the bloody traitors.
They can have all the qualifications available but their record in
office proves they are incompetent at best. Tragically they were
voted in by the people. Get London sorted out and the others will
follow. From what the media has reported London is crumbling as a
society and you clowns in authority think its safe to ignore. The
police and law courts don't have control.
he ne on the left warmonger Blair is the worst of the lot . It is him
that has caused all the problems we have in the world now a days .
Instead of being in the photo he should be behind bars for his
treason to the British People
These are the arse holes that carried on the lies and deceit of the EU
and are still doing it and the silly fuckers of Stoke and Copeland still
voted for the same old parties that they represent,it's about time
people in this country had the guts to stand up for their convictions..
Two of them created an enormous debt for the country, then they
are followed by a weak conservative party that allowed the Liberals
dominate a coalition government. The effort to get some sort of deal
from an unsympathetic EU lead by Germany, France and the
Commission, was to say the least pathetic, being reminiscent of
Chamberlain. They now think they know better than the British
people who are feed up with these self opinionated group of
scrounging wasters. Send them over to Europe without a return
ticket, never to be seen or heard again.
Compendium of best practices for water, BlueSCities waste water,
solid waste and climate adaptation

http://www.bluescities.eu/wp-
content/uploads/2015/12/D2_3_Formatted_v7.pdf
Programme for the Porto Water Innovation Week including the 2017
EIP Water conference is announced.
http://www.eip-water.eu/sites/default/files/PWIW_Save_the_Date.pdf
Water Integrity Network, (2016).
https://www.viawater.nl/files/documents/wigo_book_2016_full.pdf

The challenges of water, waste and climate change in cities

http://www.eip-
water.eu/sites/default/files/Koop%20and
%20Van%20Leeuwen%202016.pdf

Presentation outline Introduction to


Copenhagen Introduction to the climate
change adaptation work in Copenhagen
Financing adaptation measures in
Copenhagen Storm water Flooding
from the sea Involving the private sector
http://resilient-
cities.iclei.org/fileadmin/sites/resilient-
cities/files/Webinar_Series/Webinar_Pres
entations/Leonardsen__financing_adaptat
ion_in_Copenhagen_ICLEI_sept_2012.pdf
Improved water source (% of population
with access)
Access to an improved water source refers to the percentage of the
population using an improved drinking water source. The improved
drinking water source includes piped water on premises (piped
household water connection located inside the users dwelling, plot
or yard), and other improved drinking water sources (public taps or
standpipes, tube wells or boreholes, protected dug wells, protected
springs, and rainwater collection).
F SourceWHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme ( JMP ) for Water
Supply and Sanitation ( wssinfo.org ).
F License react-text: 1726 /react-text Open
F react-text: 1737 Aggregation Method /react-text react-
text: 1738 : /react-text Weighted average
F react-text: 1744 Development Relevance /react-text
react-text: 1745 : /react-text Water is considered to be the most
important resource for sustaining ecosystems, which provide life-
supporting services for people, animals, and plants. Global access to safe
water and proper hygiene education can reduce illness and death from
disease, leading to improved health, poverty reduction, and socio-
economic development. However, many countries are challenged to
provide these basic necessities to their populations, leaving people at risk
for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH)-related diseases. Because
contaminated water is a major cause of illness and death, water quality is
a determining factor in human poverty, education, and economic
opportunities. Lack of access to adequate water contributes to deaths and
illness, especially in children. Water based disease transmission by
drinking contaminated water is responsible for significant outbreaks of
diseases such as cholera and typhoid and include diarrhea, viral hepatitis
A, cholera, dysentery and dracunculiasis (Guineaworm disease).
Improvement of access to clean drinking water is a crucial element in the
reduction of under-five mortality and morbidity. Almost one tenth of the
global disease burden could be prevented by increasing access to safe
drinking water, and improving sanitation and hygiene. Further, annually,
safer water could prevent 1.4 million child deaths from diarrhea 860 000
child deaths from malnutrition. Economic benefits of improved drinking
water include higher economic productivity, more education, and health-
care savings. There are disparities in urban and rural areas - the number
of people in rural areas using unimproved water sources is five times
greater than in urban areas. Eight out of ten people living in urban areas
have piped water connections on their premises, compared to only three
out of ten people in rural areas. An estimated 95 percent of the urban
population globally used an improved water supply source in the early
2010s, compared to about 80 percent of the rural population. Women and
children spend millions of hours each year fetching water. The chore
diverts their time from other important activities (for example attending
school, caring for children, participating in the economy). When water is
not available on premises and has to be collected, women and girls are
almost two and a half times more likely than men and boys to be the main
water carriers for their families. Many international organizations use
access to safe drinking water and hygienic sanitation facilities as a
measure for progress in the fight against poverty, disease, and death.
Access to safe drinking water is also considered to be a human right, not a
privilege, for every man, woman, and child. Economic benefits of
improved drinking water include higher economic productivity, more
education, and health-care savings. WHO and UNICEF estimate that
improved drinking water sources are now being used by about 90 percent
of the global population. Four out of ten people without access to
improved drinking water live in sub-Saharan Africa.
F react-text: 1751 Limitations and Exceptions /react-text
react-text: 1752 : /react-text The data on access to an improved
water source measure the percentage of the population with ready access
to water for domestic purposes. Access to drinking water from an
improved source does not ensure that the water is safe or adequate, as
these characteristics are not tested at the time of survey. But improved
drinking water technologies are more likely than those characterized as
unimproved to provide safe drinking water and to prevent contact with
human excreta. While information on access to an improved water source
is widely used, it is extremely subjective, and such terms as safe,
improved, adequate, and reasonable may have different meaning in
different countries despite official WHO definitions (see Definitions). Even
in high-income countries treated water may not always be safe to drink.
Access to an improved water source is equated with connection to a
supply system; it does not take into account variations in the quality and
cost (broadly defined) of the service.
F react-text: 1758 Periodicity /react-text react-text: 1759
: /react-text Annual
react-text: 1765 Statistical Concept and
Methodology /react-text react-text: 1766 : /react-text The
data are derived by the Joint Monitoring Programme of the World Health
Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) based
on national censuses and nationally representative household surveys.
The coverage rates for water and sanitation are based on information
from service users on the facilities their households actually use rather
than on information from service providers, which may include
nonfunctioning systems. While the estimates are based on use, the Joint
Monitoring Programme reports use as access, because access is the term
used in the Millennium Development Goal target for drinking water and
sanitation. WHO/UNICEF define an improved drinking-water source as one
that, by nature of its construction or through active intervention, is
protected from outside contamination, in particular from contamination
with fecal matter. Improved water sources include piped water into
dwelling, plot or yard; piped water into neighbor's plot; public
tap/standpipe; tube well/borehole; protected dug well; protected spring;
and rainwater.
http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.H
2O.SAFE.ZS?locations=IE

reused water in the EU (new EU legislation)

http://ec.europa.eu/smart-
regulation/roadmaps/docs/2017_env_006
_water_reuse_instrument_en.pdf
EU Citizenship Report: Commission promotes rights,
values and democracy

Brussels, 24 January 2017

Today, the European Commission publishes its third EU


Citizenship Report taking stock of progress since 2014 and
further presenting actions to ensure citizens can fully
enjoy their rights when working, travelling, studying or
participating in elections.

Europeans are more than ever aware of their status as


citizens of the Union and the proportion of Europeans
wanting to know more about their rights continues to
increase. Four out of five Europeans cherish, in particular,
the right to free movement that allows them to live, work,
study and do business anywhere in the EU (December
2016 Eurobarometer). However, a lack of awareness
means EU citizens do not fully exercise their right to vote
in European and local elections and many are unaware of
their right to consular protection from other Member
States' embassies. The 2017 EU Citizenship Report sets
out the Commission's priorities in further raising
awareness of these rights and making them easier to use
in practice.
Vra Jourov, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and
Gender Equality, responsible for EU citizenship rights,
said: 87% of Europeans are aware of their EU citizenship,
which is more than ever before, but they are not always
aware of the rights that come with EU citizenship. EU
citizenship entails important rights and freedoms and also
the possibility for democratic participation and active
involvement in the EU decision making process. We want
to empower citizens to know more about their EU rights
and use them more easily.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home
Affairs and Citizenship: "The European Union exists for the
European citizens and through them. To ensure that EU
citizens can fully enjoy their rights and freedoms in times
of increasing transnational challenges, we are committed
to continuing our work on strengthening security within
the EU and by stepping up the protection of our common
external borders."
The report is based on input from citizens through surveys
and a public consultation, and focuses on four areas: 1)
promoting EU citizenship rights and EU common values; 2)
increasing citizens' participation in the democratic life of
the EU; 3) simplifying EU citizens' daily lives; 4)
strengthening security and promoting equality.
In order to achieve these goals the Commission will take a
number of actions, including:
Organising an EU-wide information campaign on EU
citizenship rights, to help citizens better understand their
rights.
Strengthening voluntary engagement: The Commission
wants to create more opportunities for young people in
Europe to make a meaningful contribution to society and
show solidarity. The European Solidarity Corps, launched
on 7 December 2016, gives young people the opportunity
to gain valuable experience while showing solidarity to
those in need.
Proposing a Single Digital Gateway' to give citizens easy
online access to information, assistance and problem-
solving services on a wide range of administrative
questions.
Intensifying the Citizens' Dialogues and public debate, to
exchange views with EU citizens and increase their
understanding of what impact the Union has on their daily
lives. Already, 125 Citizens' dialogues have been
organised since the beginning of the Juncker Commission.
Promoting best practices to help citizens vote and stand
for EU elections, particularly in the run up to the 2019
elections.
Background
Any person who holds the nationality of an EU Member
State is also an EU citizen. EU citizenship does not replace
national citizenship, but complements it. It is a valuable
status which gives citizens many freedoms such as free
movement, consular protection, and the right to vote and
stand as candidates in municipal and European Parliament
elections wherever they live in the European Union.
The European Commission guarantees that rights
associated with EU citizenship are a reality for citizens.
Since 2010, it reports every three years on the main
initiatives taken to promote and strengthen European
citizenship. The reports are based on feedback from
citizens, from petitions submitted, and from direct
dialogues that Commissioners have with citizens. In 2015,
the Commission carried out a public consultation and two
surveys, which focused on EU citizenship and on electoral
rights, to feed into the 2017 EU Citizenship Report.
For more information
2017 EU Citizenship Report
Factsheet on Commission actions in the field of EU
citizenship 2013-2016
Summary of the 2017 EU Citizenship report
Factsheet on 2015 Public Consultation on EU citizenship
Technical report on the legislative developments and
jurisprudence on EU citizenship (Article 25)
EU Citizenship programme
2015 survey on electoral rights
2015 survey on citizenship
http://ec.europa.eu/justice/citizen/docu
ment/files/2015_public_consultation_fact
sheet_en.pdf

Domestic Water Charges in


Europe
1 May 2013

Introduction
This note sets out data on the level of domestic water charges in Europe.

Pricing Water in Europe


Given the variety of pricing structures in place across Europe, it is difficult to
get a good uniform measure of water pricing. Any approach to compare water
pricing is going to be imperfect given the variety of pricing schemes in place.
The approach taken in the Global Water Intelligence Report 2011 is to take
the costs based on fixed costs and a consumption of 15, 000 litres per person
per month (500 litres per person per day) and then divide by 15 to give a price
per 1,000 litres. These costs also include wastewater costs.
The average price of water across many European Cities varies from 0.40 up
to 5.75 per 1,000 litres. Within countries huge variation can be seen. In
Sweden, for example, citizens in Malmo pay just 1.03 while those in
Gothenberg pay 4.19 per 1000 litres.
Of the 65 western European cities reported on who charge for water (Dublin,
Cork and Belfast being the only ones who do not) only one city (Glasgow) has
a decreasing price structure, i.e. the more water you use the less you pay per
litre. This can be thought of like a bulk buying discount. 20 cities (mainly
located in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy) have increasing pricing, so the
more you use the more you pay per litre. The remaining 44 cities (Germany,
France and UK) have linear charging schemes, so you pay the same price per
litre regardless of how much you are using.
Table 1: Water prices across selected cities (per 1000 litres)

Source: Global Water Intelligence Annual Tariff Survey September


2011.
The average price in the 65 Cities that charge for water in Western Europe is
1.91 per 1,000 litre (again based on charges for 15,000 litres of consumption
and fixed charges in a month and then dividing by 15).
Even within these three main groups there are a variety of mechanisms for
charging people for water. Many counties have a block pricing structure i.e.
the first 500 litres are charged at a low price or free, then each subsequent
block of water is more costly. It is also noticeable that those that charge on an
increasing scale (mainly Mediterranean countries) tend to charge lesson
average (1.25) compared to those who charge in a linear fashion (2.20), i.e.
you pay the same rate for each litre of water.
Estimates of Irish water consumption are approximately 150 litres per person
per day. International experience tells us that consumption is likely to decline
by about 15% if charges are introduced. This would leave consumption of
about 127.5 litres on average. This translates to about 3,825 litres per person
per month.

Pricing Water in Ireland


According to the Census 2011 there are 1.39m households connected to the
public mains or in a local authority group scheme. Those in private group
water schemes will not be charged for their water supply, however some may
be charged for discharging waste water into the public system.
The current costs of providing water and maintaining the current infrastructure
are about 1.23bn per year. 221m per year is collected from charging firms
for water (despite low collection rates) leaving exchequer funding of just over
1bn. The EU/IMF Programme contains a commitment that water services
will become substantially self-funded over time.
If one were to use the average price of water across Western Europe (1.91
per 1,000 litres per month) that would give the average consumer a bill of
7.30 per month or 87.67 per year, assuming there is no free allocation.
Given that the average household has 2.78 people, the yield would be about
339m (assuming full collection). To generate 500m in revenue the average
household charge would be 360 or about 129.31 per person.

Free Allocation
The Programme for Government states that there will be a free allowance and
people will only be charged for their use above this allowance 1, This will mean
that there will be a higher per litre charge than otherwise would be the case as
revenue is only being generated from a smaller pool of chargeable water. The
higher the free allowance is, the higher the price on large volumes of water
there will have to be.
Regardless of which way this balance is struck an average of 360 would be
required from each household to collect 500 million. If the full 1bn of costs
were to be recouped, the household charge would be 720 on average.
However, costs should fall over time as scale economies are realized.
Notes:
1 See Water for Poor People : Lessons from France and Belgium by Dr Henri
Smets for an alternative to a free water allowance for all.

UK White Paper on the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe EU-UK-


Government publishes White Paper on the "Treaty establishing a Constitution
for Europe" (Cm 6309)- White Paper
http://www.statewatch.org/news/2004/sep/uk-gov-wp-eu-con.pdf

Alan Duck Arse Mouth Kelly wants


water charges and meters,
because Europe says so
Update 4.45pm: A meeting of the Oireachtas committee
on water charges has failed to reach agreement about the
possibility of scrapping charges entirely.
The 20-member committee will instead be given another
draft of a final report next Tuesday.
Fine Gael and Fianna Fil have continued to clash today
about the legality of water charges being scrapped for all
customers.
We have to get our feet on the streets again as this Government just
don't get it we are not paying for water that we already pay for they
are messing around with the Irish people and trying to treat us as
fools with they the Government saying we should pay ,we don't
have to pay or maybe you will have to pay again ,, if the Oireachtas
Committee can't decide and the Government want us to pay then I
think it time we show then again are marching on the streets and
show we the people can make up our minds . It's OUR WATER NOT
THE GOVERNMENT OR IW WATER THE IRISH PEOPLE AND THE
TAXPAYER.

Special Relationship- Impact of a U.S.-U.K. Free Trade Agreement


Testimony of Dr. Nile Gardiner Director, Margaret Thatcher Center for
Freedom The Heritage Foundation

http://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA18/20170201/105501/HMTG-115-FA18-
Wstate-GardinerN-20170201.pdf
Joint Subcommittee Hearing: Next Steps
in the Special Relationship...
(EventID=105501)
Feb 1, 2017
Follow @HouseForeign
Joint Subcommittee Hearing: Next Steps in the Special
RelationshipImpact of a U.S.-U.K. Free Trade Agreement
Subcommittee on
Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), Chairman
Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Chairman

02.01.2017 10:00am 2172 Rayburn


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwSfmkkJT10
If your sensible and responsible all the time sure you'd
never do anything..
Tune in to TV3 this evening 10pm to watch Inside Apollo
House documentary
"Ireland, as distinct from her people, is nothing to me; and
the man who is bubbling over with love and enthusiasm
for "Ireland," and can yet pass unmoved through our
streets and witness all the wrong and the suffering, shame
and degradation wrought upon the people of Ireland-yea,
wrought by Irishmen upon Irish men and women, without
burning to end it, is, in my opinion, a fraud and a liar in his
heart, no matter how he loves that combination of
chemical elements he is pleased to call Ireland." James
Connolly
https://www.facebook.com/TVThreeIreland/videos/1015450
5196464538/

23 February 2017
Exclusive: Inside Apollo House, tonight at 10pm on TV3.
Join us tonight to discover the inside and real story of how a group
of people took over a NAMA-controlled former office block in Dublin
City Centre and turned it into a shelter for the homeless.

Help fight extreme inequality by ending tax dodging!


Right now, the richest 62 people on the planet own as
much as the poorest half of humanity. 1% now have more
wealth than the rest of the world combined. One of the
key trends underlying this extreme inequality is a
systematic abuse of an unfair global tax system that has
reached unprecedented scale and stands in the way of
ending global poverty.
Its time to end tax dodging! To do so, we need the
Government to close loopholes that allow companies to
avoid their tax bills. Do you have 10 seconds to sign? Click
the button.
Local Government Financial Provisions Act 1997 We Pay
Irish Water Through Irish motor Taxes pdf doc
http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1997/act/29/enacted/en/pdf

Kerry Schemes on an agency basis for Irish Water ..... Local


Government (Financial Provisions Act), 1997 ... DoEH&LG Circular
MT 672 - Motor Tax liability of road marking vehicles
http://www.kerrycoco.ie/en/foi/thefile,9440,en.pdf
Office of the Attorney General Annual Report 2013
http://www.attorneygeneral.ie/pub/Annual_Report_2013.pdf
local government (e.g. periodic reporting on the State of. Ireland's
Environment and Indicator Reports). Regulating Ireland's Greenhouse
Gas Emissions.
http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/other/corporate/EPA_AnnualReport_2014_We
b.pdf
Ireland. We are committed to protecting people and the environment from the
harmful and coastal waters of Ireland and ground waters, measuring water
local government , periodic reporting on the State of Ireland's . requirement to
have robust and secure financial provisions
http://www.epa.ie/ebooks/soe2016/files/assets/common/downloads/EPA%20-
%20Ireland.pdf
Department's website; www.agriculture.gov.ie ... are the economic
backbone of rural Ireland and provide the raw .... Tax Implications of
the Basic Payment Scheme ... The on-line Financial
https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/publications/2016/SchemesSer
viceswithoutimages160216.pdf
Economic Analysis of Water Use in Ireland - Water
Framework ...
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government ...
Document Economic Analysis of Water Use in Ireland ...... projected
costs of water services through to 2015, estimated via simple ......
which we would not be aware. ... from a combination of Motor Tax net
of local authority expenses
http://www.wfdireland.ie/docs/35_Economics/Economic%20Analysis%20of
%20Water%20use.pdf

Developments on the Irish government bond market ... of the EU/IMF


financial assistance programme for Ireland. ... long-term unemployed;
(ii) putting water service provision on a ..... thereafter; November data
is through 7 November only. ...... motor and vehicle registration tax
(EUR 150 million)
http://www.neci.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Euroleaks-doc-Jan-2013-
12.pdf

The Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland


(Established in Ireland by Charter in 1783 and having
limited liability with registered no. C-1)
Proposed Institutional Placing of 326,797,386 units of
Placing Stock at
E1.53 per unit of Placing Stock and the NPRFC Placing of
575,555,556 units of Ordinary Stock at
E1.80 per unit of Ordinary Stock (payable in respect of the
NPRFC by the conversion of the 2009 Preference Stock)
Proposed Rights Issue of Rights Issue Stock at a Rights
Issue Price to be determined
in advance of the Extraordinary General Court (payable in
respect of the NPRFC
Rights Issue Undertaking by the conversion of the 2009
Preference Stock)
Admission to trading of 184,394,378 units of NPRFC
Coupon Ordinary Stock
Citi
Financial Advisers and Transaction Co-ordinators Credit
Suisse IBI Corporate Finance
Joint Bookrunners and Underwriters
Credit Suisse Davy Deutsche Bank UBS
Joint Sponsors and Brokers Davy UBS
Your attention is drawn in particular to the letter from the
Governor of Bank of Ireland which is set out in Part VII
(Letter from the Governor of Bank of Ireland) of this
Prospectus. You should read the whole of this Prospectus
and any documents incorporated herein by reference (a
list is set out in paragraph 21 (Documents incorporated by
reference) of Part XVIII (Additional Information) of this
Prospectus). Qualifying Stockholders and any other
persons contemplating a purchase of Nil Paid Rights, Fully
Paid Rights, Rights Issue Stock or Placing Stock should
review the risk factors set out in Part II (Risk Factors) of
this Prospectus for a discussion of certain factors that
should be considered when deciding on what action to
take in relation to the Rights Issue and the Institutional
Placing and deciding whether or not to purchase Nil Paid
Rights, Fully Paid Rights, Rights Issue Stock or Placing
Stock.
The latest time and date for receipt of completed
Provisional Allotment Letters and payment in full under the
Rights Issue and settlement of relevant CREST instructions
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The procedure for application and payment is set out in
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Directive 2003/71/EC, in the United Kingdom.
The Ordinary Stock is listed on the Official Lists and is
traded on the regulated markets for listed securities of the
Irish Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.
Application will be made to the Irish Stock Exchange and
the UK Listing Authority for up to a maximum of
19,753,818,545 units of Placing Stock, Rights Issue Stock,
Nil Paid Rights, Fully Paid Rights, and Ordinary Stock
issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing to be admitted to
the Official Lists and application will be made to the Irish
Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange for such
Placing Stock, Rights Issue Stock, Nil Paid Rights, Fully Paid
Rights, Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC
Placing to be admitted to trading on their respective
regulated markets for listed securities. It is expected that
such admission will become effective in respect of and
that dealings will commence in, the Placing Stock, the
Rights Issue Stock, Nil Paid Rights and Ordinary Stock
issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing at 8.00 a.m. (Irish
time) on 20 May 2010. Application has been made to the
Irish Stock Exchange and the UK Listing Authority for the
NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock to be admitted to the
Official Lists and application has been made to the Irish
Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange for the
NPRFC Coupon Stock to be admitted to trading on their
respective regulated markets for listed securities. It is
expected that such admission will become effective in
respect of, and that dealings will be capable of
commencing in, the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock at 8.00
a.m. (Irish time) on 27 April 2010.
Investors should only rely on the information contained in
this Prospectus and the documents incorporated herein by
reference. No person has been authorised to give any
information or make any representations other than those
contained in this Prospectus and, if given or made, such
information or representations must not be relied upon as
having been so authorised. Subject to Irish Prospectus
Law, the Prospectus Regulations, the Listing Rules, Market
Abuse Regulations and the Transparency Regulations,
neither the publication of this Prospectus nor any
acquisition of any security made under it shall, in any
circumstances, create any implication that there has been
no change in the affairs of the Group since the date of this
Prospectus or that the information in it and incorporated
by reference herein is correct as of any subsequent date.
The Bank will comply with its obligation to publish a
supplementary prospectus containing further updated
information required by law or by any regulatory authority
but assumes no further obligation to publish additional
information, subject to Irish Prospectus Law, the
Prospectus Regulations, the Listing Rules, Market Abuse
Regulations and the Transparency Regulations.
This Prospectus is intended for use in connection with
offers and sales and/or admission to trading, as the case
may be, of the Nil Paid Rights, the Fully Paid Rights, the
Provisional Allotment Letters, the Rights Issue Stock, the
Placing Stock, Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the
NPRFC Placing and the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock
outside the United States and any other Excluded Territory
and must not be sent or given to any person within the
United States or any other Excluded Territory. The Nil Paid
Rights, the Fully Paid Rights, the Provisional Allotment
Letters, the Rights Issue Stock, the Placing Stock, the
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock have not been and will
not be registered under the US Securities Act or under any
securities laws of any state or other jurisdiction of the
United States, or any other Excluded Territory, and may
not be offered, sold, taken up, exercised, resold,
renounced, transferred or delivered, directly or indirectly,
within the United States or any other Excluded Territory,
except pursuant to an applicable exemption from the
registration requirements of the US Securities Act and in
compliance with any applicable securities laws of any
state or other jurisdiction of the United States or any other
Excluded Territory. There will be no public offer in any
Excluded Territory.
Bank of Ireland and the Directors whose names and
positions are set out in Part VI (Directors, Group Secretary,
Registered Office and Advisers) of this Prospectus, accept
responsibility for the information contained in this
Prospectus and to the best of the knowledge and belief of
the Bank and the Directors (who have taken all reasonable
care to ensure that such is the case), the
2
information contained in this Prospectus is in accordance
with the facts and does not omit anything likely to affect
the import of such information.
None of the Minister for Finance, the Department of
Finance, the Irish Government, the NTMA, the NPRFC or
any person controlled by or controlling any such person, or
any entity or agency of or related to the State, or any
director, officer, official, employee or adviser of any such
person (each such person, a Relevant Person) accepts
any responsibility for the contents of, or makes any
representation or warranty as to the accuracy,
completeness or fairness of any information in, this
Prospectus or any document referred to in this Prospectus
or any supplement or amendment thereto (each a
Transaction Document). Each Relevant Person expressly
disclaims any liability whatsoever for any loss howsoever
arising from, or in reliance upon, the whole or any part of
the contents of any Transaction Document. No Relevant
Person has authorised or will authorise the contents of any
Transaction Document, or has recommended or endorsed
the merits of the offering of securities or any other course
of action contemplated by any Transaction Document.
Citigroup Global Markets U.K. Equity Limited (Citi) (which
is authorised and regulated in the United Kingdom by the
Financial Services Authority) is acting exclusively for the
Bank as a Joint Bookrunner and Underwriter and no one
else in relation to the Placing, the Rights Issue and
Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock and will not regard any
other person (including the recipients of this Prospectus)
as a client in relation to the Placing, the Rights Issue, or
Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock and will not be
responsible to anyone other than the Bank for providing
the protections afforded to its customers or for providing
advice in relation to the Placing, the Rights Issue, or
Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock or any other matters
referred to in this Prospectus. Apart from the
responsibilities and liabilities, if any, which may be
imposed by the Financial Regulator, the Financial Services
Authority, or the FSMA, Citi makes no representation,
express or implied, with respect to the accuracy,
verification or completeness of any information contained
in this Prospectus and accepts no responsibility for, and
does not authorise, the contents of this Prospectus or its
publication, including without limitation under section 41
of the Investment Funds, Companies and Miscellaneous
Provisions Act, 2005 or Regulation 31 of the Prospectus
Regulations, or any other statement made or purported to
be made by the Bank or Citi, or on behalf of either of
them, in connection with the Placing, the Rights Issue or
the Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock or any of the other
arrangements described in this Prospectus, and
accordingly disclaims all and any liability whatsoever
whether arising out of tort, contract or otherwise which it
might otherwise have to any person in respect of this
Prospectus or any other statement.
Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Limited (which is
authorised and regulated in the United Kingdom by the
Financial Services Authority) is acting exclusively for the
Bank as a Joint Bookrunner, Underwriter, joint financial
adviser and Transaction Co-ordinator and no one else in
relation to the Placing, the Rights Issue and Admission of
the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock, Ordinary Stock
issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and the NPRFC
Coupon Ordinary Stock and will not regard any other
person (including the recipients of this Prospectus) as a
client in relation to the Placing, the Rights Issue, or
Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock and will not be
responsible to anyone other than the Bank for providing
the protections afforded to its customers or for providing
advice in relation to the Placing, the Rights Issue, or
Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock or any other matters
referred to in this Prospectus. Apart from the
responsibilities and liabilities, if any, which may be
imposed by the Financial Regulator, the Financial Services
Authority, or the FSMA, Credit Suisse Securities (Europe)
Limited makes no representation, express or implied, with
respect to the accuracy, verification or completeness of
any information contained in this Prospectus and accepts
no responsibility for, and does not authorise, the contents
of this Prospectus or its publication, including without
limitation under section 41 of the Investment Funds,
Companies and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2005 or
Regulation 31 of the Prospectus Regulations, or any other
statement made or purported to be made by the Bank or
Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Limited, or on behalf of
either of them, in connection with the Placing, the Rights
Issue or the Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights
Issue Stock, Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC
Placing and the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock, or any of
the other arrangements described in this Prospectus, and
accordingly disclaims all and any liability whatsoever
whether arising out of tort, contract or otherwise which it
might otherwise have to any person in respect of this
Prospectus or any other statement.
Davy (which is regulated in Ireland by the Financial
Regulator) is acting exclusively for the Bank, as a Joint
Bookrunner, Underwriter, Joint Sponsor and Broker and no
one else in relation to the Placing, the Rights Issue and
Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock and will not regard any
other person (including the recipients of this Prospectus)
as a client in relation to the Placing, the Rights Issue or
Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock and will not be
responsible to anyone other than the Bank for providing
the protections afforded to its customers or for providing
advice in relation to the Placing, the Rights Issue or
Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock or any other matters
referred to in this Prospectus. Apart from the
responsibilities and liabilities, if any, which may be
imposed by the Financial Regulator, the Financial Services
Authority, or the FSMA, Davy makes no representation,
express or implied, with respect to the accuracy,
verification or completeness of any information contained
in this Prospectus and accepts no responsibility for, and
does not authorise, the contents of this Prospectus or its
publication, including without limitation under section 41
of the Investment Funds, Companies and Miscellaneous
Provisions Act 2005, or Regulation 31 of the Prospectus
Regulations or any
3
other statement made or purported to be made by the
Bank or Davy, or on behalf of either of them, in connection
with the Placing, the Rights Issue or the Admission of the
Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock, Ordinary Stock
issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and the NPRFC
Coupon Ordinary Stock or any of the other arrangements
described in this Prospectus, and accordingly disclaims all
and any liability whatsoever whether arising out of tort,
contract or otherwise which it might otherwise have to any
person in respect of this Prospectus or any other
statement.
Deutsche Bank AG (which is authorised under German
banking law (competent authority: BaFin Federal
Financial Supervisory Authority) and authorised and
subject to limited regulation by the Financial Services
Authority) is acting exclusively for the Bank as a Joint
Bookrunner and Underwriter and no one else in relation to
the Placing, the Rights Issue and Admission of the Placing
Stock, the Rights Issue Stock, Ordinary Stock issued
pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and the NPRFC Coupon
Ordinary Stock and will not regard any other person
(including the recipients of this Prospectus) as a client in
relation to the Placing, the Rights Issue or Admission of
the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock, Ordinary Stock
issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and the NPRFC
Coupon Ordinary Stock and will not be responsible to
anyone other than the Bank for providing the protections
afforded to its customers or for providing advice in relation
to the Placing, the Rights Issue or Admission of the Placing
Stock, the Rights Issue Stock, Ordinary Stock issued
pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and the NPRFC Coupon
Ordinary Stock or any other matters referred to in this
Prospectus. Apart from the responsibilities and liabilities, if
any, which may be imposed by the Financial Regulator,
the Financial Services Authority or the FSMA, Deutsche
Bank makes no representation, express or implied, with
respect to the accuracy, verification or completeness of
any information contained in this Prospectus and accepts
no responsibility for, and does not authorise, the contents
of this Prospectus or its publication, including without
limitation under section 41 of the Investment Funds,
Companies and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2005 or
Regulation 31 of the Prospectus Regulations, or any other
statement made or purported to be made by the Bank or
Deutsche Bank, or on behalf of either of them, in
connection with the Placing, the Rights Issue or the
Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock, or any of the other
arrangements described in this Prospectus, and
accordingly disclaims all and any liability whatsoever
whether arising out of tort, contract or otherwise which it
might otherwise have to any person in respect of this
Prospectus or any other statement.
IBI Corporate Finance, a subsidiary of the Bank, (which is
regulated in Ireland by the Financial Regulator) is acting
exclusively for the Bank as a joint financial adviser and
Transaction Co-ordinator and no one else in relation to the
Placing, the Rights Issue and Admission of the Placing
Stock, the Rights Issue Stock, Ordinary Stock issued
pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and the NPRFC Coupon
Ordinary Stock, and will not regard any other person
(including the recipients of this Prospectus) as a client in
relation to the Placing, the Rights Issue or the Admission
of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock, Ordinary
Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and the
NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock and will not be responsible
to anyone other than the Bank for providing the
protections afforded to its customers or for providing
advice in relation to the Placing, the Rights Issue or
Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock or any other matters
referred to in this Prospectus. Apart from the
responsibilities and liabilities, if any, which may be
imposed by the Financial Regulator, IBI Corporate Finance
makes no representation, express or implied, with respect
to the accuracy, verification or completeness of any
information contained in this Prospectus and accepts no
responsibility for, and does not authorise, the contents of
this Prospectus or its publication, including without
limitation under section 41 of the Investment Funds,
Companies and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2005, or
Regulation 31 of the Prospectus Regulations or any other
statement made or purported to be made by the Bank or
IBI Corporate Finance, or on behalf of either of them, in
connection with the Placing, the Rights Issue or the
Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock or any of the other
arrangements described in this Prospectus, and
accordingly disclaims all and any liability whatsoever
whether arising out of tort, contract or otherwise which it
might otherwise have to any person in respect of this
Prospectus or any other statement.
UBS Investment Bank (UBS) (which is authorised and
regulated in the United Kingdom by the Financial Services
Authority) is acting exclusively for the Bank as a Joint
Bookrunner, Underwriter, Joint Sponsor and Broker and no
one else in relation to the Placing, the Rights Issue and
Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock and will not regard any
other person (including the recipients of this Prospectus)
as a client in relation to the Placing, the Rights Issue or
Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock and will not be
responsible to anyone other than the Bank for providing
the protections afforded to its customers or for providing
advice in relation to the Placing, the Rights Issue or
Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock or any other matters
referred to in this Prospectus. Apart from the
responsibilities and liabilities, if any, which may be
imposed by the Financial Regulator, the Financial Services
Authority or the FSMA, UBS makes no representation,
express or implied, with respect to the accuracy,
verification or completeness of any information contained
in this Prospectus and accepts no responsibility for and
does not authorise, the contents of this Prospectus or its
publication, including without limitation under section 41
of the Investment Funds, Companies and Miscellaneous
Provisions Act 2005 or Regulation 31 of the Prospectus
Regulations, or any other statement made or purported to
be made by the Bank or UBS, or on behalf of either of
them, in connection with the Placing, the Rights Issue or
the Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock or any of the other
arrangements described in this Prospectus, and
accordingly disclaims all and any liability whatsoever
whether arising out of tort, contract or otherwise which it
might otherwise have to any person in respect of this
Prospectus or any other statement.
4
The Underwriters may, in accordance with applicable legal
and regulatory provisions and subject to the Underwriting
Agreement, engage in transactions in relation to the Nil
Paid Rights, the Fully Paid Rights, the Provisional Allotment
Letters or the units of Placing Stock, Rights Issue Stock,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing or
the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock and/or related
instruments for their own account for the purpose of
hedging their underwriting exposure or otherwise. Except
as required by applicable law or regulation, the
Underwriters do not propose to make any public disclosure
in relation to such transactions.
During the distribution of Placing Stock, Rights Issue Stock
and Ordinary Stock (including in the form of American
Depositary Shares, or ADSs), certain affiliates of the Bank
have engaged and intend to continue to engage in various
dealing activities involving units of Ordinary Stock
(including in the form of ADSs). Among other things, Bank
affiliates (1) have purchased and sold and intend to
continue to purchase and sell units of the Ordinary Stock
and derivatives on the Ordinary Stock as part of their
ordinary asset management activities; (2) have arranged
and intend to continue to arrange agency lending
transactions of units of Ordinary Stock and ADSs; (3) have
marketed and sold and intend to continue to market and
sell to customers funds, portfolios and accounts which
include units of Ordinary Stock or ADSs; (4) have advised
and intend to continue to advise customers to invest in
funds, indices or baskets including the Ordinary Stock or
ADSs; (5) have engaged and intend to continue to engage
in transactions in units of the Ordinary Stock as trustees
and/or personal representatives of trusts and estates; and
(6) have marketed and sold and intend to continue to
market and sell structured products referring to indices or
baskets including the Ordinary Stock or ADSs. All of these
activities have occurred and are expected to continue to
occur in Ireland, the United Kingdom and elsewhere
outside the United States.
None of the Nil Paid Rights, the Fully Paid Rights, the
Provisional Allotment Letters or the units of Placing Stock,
Rights Issue Stock, Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the
NPRFC Placing or the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock issued
in connection with the Proposals constitute covered
liabilities or eligible liabilities for the purposes of the
CIFS Guarantee Scheme or the ELG Scheme respectively.
Notice to EEA investors
In relation to each member state of the European
Economic Area which has implemented the Prospectus
Directive (each a Relevant Member State) except for
Ireland and the United Kingdom with effect from and
including the date on which the Prospectus Directive was
implemented in that Relevant Member State (the
Relevant Implementation Date), there may not have
been made and may not be made an offer of Placing
Stock, Rights Issue Stock, Nil Paid Rights, Fully Paid Rights,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing or
NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock to the public in that
Relevant Member State prior to the publication of a
prospectus in relation to the Placing Stock, Rights Issue
Stock, Nil Paid Rights, Fully Paid Rights, Ordinary Stock
issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing or NPRFC Coupon
Ordinary Stock which has been approved by the Financial
Regulator and notified to the competent authority in that
Relevant Member State, all in accordance with the
Prospectus Directive, except that there may, with effect
from and including the Relevant Implementation Date, be
made an offer of Placing Stock, Rights Issue Stock, Nil Paid
Rights, Fully Paid Rights, Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to
the NPRFC Placing or NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock to the
public in that Relevant Member State at any time:
1. (a) to legal entities which are authorised or
regulated to operate in the financial markets or, if not so
authorised or regulated, whose corporate purpose is solely
to invest in securities;
2. (b) to any legal entity which has two or more of (1)
an average of at least 250 employees during the last
financial year; (2) a total balance sheet of more than
A43,000,000 and (3) an annual net turnover of more than
A50,000,000 as shown in its last annual or consolidated
accounts; or
3. (c) in any other circumstances falling within Article
3(2) of the Prospectus Directive, provided that no such
offer of Placing Stock, Rights Issue Stock, Nil Paid Rights or
Fully Paid Rights shall result in a requirement for the
publication by the Bank of a prospectus pursuant to Article
3 of the Prospectus Directive.
For the purposes of this provision, the expression an offer
of shares to the public in relation to any Placing Stock,
Rights Issue Stock, Nil Paid Rights, Fully Paid Rights,
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing or
NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock in any Relevant Member
State means the communication in any form and by any
means of sufficient information on the terms of the offer
and the Placing Stock, Rights Issue Stock, Nil Paid Rights,
Fully Paid Rights, Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the
NPRFC Placing and NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock to be
offered so as to enable an investor to decide to purchase
or subscribe Placing Stock, Rights Issue Stock, Nil Paid
Rights, Fully Paid Rights, Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to
the NPRFC Placing or NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock, as
the same may be varied in that Member State by any
measure implementing the Prospectus Directive in that
Member State.
Nothing contained in this Prospectus is intended to
constitute investment, legal, tax, accounting or other
professional advice. This Prospectus is for your information
only and nothing in this Prospectus is intended to endorse
or recommend a particular course of action. You should
consult with an appropriate professional for specific advice
rendered on the basis of your situation.
The Placing Stock, Rights Issue Stock, Nil Paid Rights, Fully
Paid Rights, the Provisional Allotment Letters, Ordinary
Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and the
NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock have not been registered
under the US Securities Act or any securities laws of any
state or other jurisdiction of the United States and may not
be offered, sold, vested, transferred or delivered in or into
the United States except pursuant to an applicable
exemption from the registration requirements of the US
Securities Act and in compliance with any applicable
securities laws of any state or other jurisdiction in the
United States. There
5
will be no public offer of the Placing Stock, Rights Issue
Stock, Nil Paid Rights, Fully Paid Rights, the Provisional
Allotment Letters, Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the
NPRFC Placing or the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock in the
United States.
The Placing Stock, Rights Issue Stock, Nil Paid Rights, Fully
Paid Rights, the Provisional Allotment Letters, Ordinary
Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and the
NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock have not been approved or
disapproved by the SEC, any state securities commission
in the United States or any other US regulatory authority,
nor have any of the foregoing authorities passed upon or
endorsed the merits of the offering of Placing Stock, Rights
Issue Stock, Nil Paid Rights, Fully Paid Rights, the
Provisional Allotment Letters, Ordinary Stock issued
pursuant to the NPRFC Placing or the NPRFC Coupon
Ordinary Stock or the accuracy or adequacy of this
Prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a
criminal offence in the United States. The Placing Stock,
Rights Issue Stock, Nil Paid Rights, Fully Paid Rights, the
Provisional Allotment Letters, Ordinary Stock issued
pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and the NPRFC Coupon
Ordinary Stock offered outside the United States are being
offered in reliance on Regulation S under the US Securities
Act. In addition, until 40 days after the commencement of
the Rights Issue and Placing, an offer, sale or transfer of
Placing Stock, Rights Issue Stock, Nil Paid Rights, Fully Paid
Rights, the Provisional Allotment Letters, Ordinary Stock
issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing and the NPRFC
Coupon Ordinary Stock within the United States by a
dealer (whether or not participating in the Rights Issue
and Placing) may violate the registration requirements of
the US Securities Act.
SUBJECT TO CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS, THE RIGHTS ISSUE,
NPRFC PLACING AND INSTITUTIONAL PLACING DESCRIBED
IN THIS PROSPECTUS ARE NOT BEING MADE TO
STOCKHOLDERS OR INVESTORS IN THE UNITED STATES OR
ANY OTHER EXCLUDED TERRITORY AND NO DOCUMENTS
ISSUED BY BANK OF IRELAND IN CONNECTION WITH THE
RIGHTS ISSUE AND INSTITUTIONAL PLACING IS OR
CONSTITUTES AN INVITATION OR OFFER OF SECURITIES
FOR SUBSCRIPTION, SALE OR PURCHASE TO ANY PERSON
WITH A REGISTERED ADDRESS, OR WHO IS RESIDENT OR
LOCATED, IN THE UNITED STATES OR ANY OTHER
EXCLUDED TERRITORY.
This Prospectus is dated 26 April 2010

Where a claim relating to the information contained in this


Prospectus is brought before a court, the plaintiff might,
under the national legislation of EEA member states, have
to bear the cost of translating this Prospectus before the
legal proceedings are initiated. Civil liability attaches to
those persons responsible under law for the contents of
this Prospectus but only if this summary is misleading,
inaccurate or inconsistent when read together with the
other parts of the Prospectus.
1. Introduction
Today, Bank of Ireland announced the Proposals to take
significant steps to strengthen further its balance sheet
following key developments in recent weeks. Under the
Proposals, the Bank will, subject to Stockholder approval,
increase Equity Tier 1 Capital by a minimum of A2.8 billion
(after expenses and the Warrant Cancellation) by way of
the Institutional Placing, the NPRFC Placing, the Rights
Issue (including the NPRFC Rights Issue Undertaking) and
the Debt for Equity Offers. The proceeds of the
Institutional Placing and the Rights Issue, with the
exception of the amount covered by the NPRFC Rights
Issue Undertaking, will be underwritten pursuant to the
Underwriting Agreement. In addition, as part of the
Proposals, the Warrants held by the NPRFC will be
cancelled in return for the payment of A491 million by the
Bank to the NPRFC, and the non-cumulative dividend on
the NPRFCs remaining 2009 Preference Stock will be
increased.
The Directors believe that the Group has made significant
progress in recent weeks to clarify its investment case.
This has been achieved through (i) the Groups transfer of
A1.9 billion of assets, and confirmation of its expected
transfer of A10.5 billion of additional assets (including
accrued interest and related derivatives) before the end of
2010, to NAMA, (ii) internal as well as independent
confirmation of the outlook for impairment charges on the
Groups non-NAMA bound loans and advances to
customers, (iii) greater clarity on the EU Restructuring
Plan, (iv) the Financial Regulators assessment of the
Groups capital requirements and (v) completion of a
review of the Groups defined benefit pension schemes.
2. Background to the Proposals
Government and Regulatory Initiatives
As a result of the global economic downturn and financial
crisis that continued during the latter part of 2008 and the
early part of 2009 and the relatively more severe
economic conditions in Ireland during that time and
thereafter, a number of measures were implemented by
the Irish Government in order to enhance the availability
of liquidity and improve access to funding for the Group
and other systemically important financial institutions in
Ireland. These measures included (i) the CIFS Guarantee
Scheme, which was introduced in September 2008 and
guarantees certain liabilities of covered institutions,
including the Group, until 29 September 2010; (ii) an
investment in the Bank by the NPRFC on 31 March 2009 of
A3.5 billion in the form of the 2009 Preference Stock and
the Warrants; (iii) the ELG Scheme, introduced on 9
December 2009 which guarantees for a maturity period of
up to five years certain debt securities issued and deposits
received during an Issuance Window (which is currently
scheduled to expire on 29 September 2010); and (iv) the
establishment of NAMA on 21 December 2009, which is
acquiring land and development loans and certain
associated loans from Participating Institutions, including
the Bank.
On 30 March 2010, the Financial Regulator published the
results of its review of the capital requirements of certain
institutions in the Irish banking sector, including the
Group, which have to be met by 31 December 2010. New
capital levels were set as a long term solution to help
ensure that Irish banks move to a strong capital position to
speed up their recovery and that of the Irish economy.
The Group has been involved in detailed negotiations,
through the Department of Finance, with the European
Commission in relation to the terms of the EU
Restructuring Plan in the context of a review resulting from
the State aid which has been received by the Group.
8
Recent Economic Environment in Ireland and the UK
The Directors believe that the economic environments in
the Groups key operating geographies (being Ireland and
the UK) have recently shown signs of stabilisation after the
substantial fall in economic output from early in 2008.
3. The Proposals
The Group expects to increase Equity Tier 1 Capital by not
less than A2.8 billion (after expenses and the Warrant
Cancellation) through the implementation of the
Institutional Placing, the NPRFC Placing, the Rights Issue
(including the NPRFC Rights Issue Undertaking), and the
Debt for Equity Offers, as further described below. The
purpose of the Proposals is to raise Equity Tier 1 Capital
and as such any net cash proceeds will be used in the day-
to-day operations of the Bank and also a portion of the
proceeds will be used to meet the requirements of the
Debt for Equity Offers and the Warrant Cancellation. Over
the medium term, and subject to regulatory approval, the
Directors may seek to apply a portion of the proceeds to
redeem some, or all, of the outstanding 2009 Preference
Stock provided they are satisfied that the Group can
maintain appropriate capital ratios and they deem such
action to be in Stockholders interests as a whole. The
Proposals are subject to Stockholder approval and consist
of:
Placing: The Institutional Placing and NPRFC Placing will
raise A1,536 million in Equity Tier 1 Capital (gross of
expenses).
Institutional Placing: The Institutional Placing will be
underwritten pursuant to the Underwriting Agreement,
subject to conditions, including Admission of the Placing
Stock and the approval of the Resolutions at the EGC. The
Underwriters have agreed to use their reasonable
endeavours to procure Placees for an aggregate of
326,797,386 units of Placing Stock at a price of A1.53 per
unit of Placing Stock issued in the Institutional Placing and
expect to conclude arrangements to conditionally place
the Placing Stock with institutional investors today. The
price at which the Placing Stock will be issued to Placees
represents a 15.0% discount to the Closing Price of A1.80
of the Existing Stock on 23 April 2010. This price has been
determined following a Book Building Process involving
both existing and potential new institutional investors.
NPRFC Placing: Pursuant to the NPRFC Placing, the NPRFC
has agreed to subscribe for 575,555,556 units of Ordinary
Stock at a price of A1.80 per unit of Ordinary Stock. The
consideration for the NPRFCs subscription will be the
conversion of 1,036,000,000 units of 2009 Preference
Stock (at their subscription price of A1.00 per unit of 2009
Preference Stock) to units of Ordinary Stock. The NPRFC
Placing will be conditional upon the commencement of
dealings in the Nil Paid Rights and Fully Paid Rights
pursuant to the Rights Issue. Further detail is included in
paragraph 4 (Government) of this Summary and
paragraph 8 (Material Contracts) of Part XVIII (Additional
Information) of this Prospectus.
Rights Issue: The Rights Issue will raise up to A1,885
million gross in Equity Tier 1 Capital (a portion of the cash
proceeds of which will be due directly to noteholders
electing to receive Ordinary Stock to be allotted in the
Rights Issue on their behalf pursuant to the Debt for
Equity Offers).
The Rights Issue (other than the NPRFC Rights Issue
Undertaking) will be underwritten pursuant to the
Underwriting Agreement, subject to conditions, including
Admission of the Rights Issue Stock (nil paid) and the
approval of the Resolutions at the EGC. The Rights Issue
size and Rights Issue Price at which Qualifying
Stockholders will be invited to subscribe for Rights Issue
Stock will be determined by the Bank and the Joint
Bookrunners in advance of the EGC. The Rights Issue Price
will be equal to the higher of (i) A0.10 per unit of Rights
Issue Stock, and (ii) a price per unit of Rights Issue Stock
which is within the range of 38% to 42% discount to the
TERP. Further information as to how Qualified Stockholders
can participate in the Rights Issue is set out in Part VIII
(Questions and Answers about the Placing and the Rights
Issue) of this Prospectus. The Placing Stock issued
pursuant to the Institutional Placing and the Ordinary
Stock issued as a result of the NPRFC Placing will be
eligible for participation in the Rights Issue.
NPRFC Rights Issue Undertaking. Pursuant to the NPRFC
Rights Issue Undertaking, the NPRFC has agreed, subject
to certain terms and conditions, to take up its entitlement
of up to A685 million of Rights Issue Stock in the Rights
Issue in respect of its holding of the NPRFC Coupon
Ordinary Stock and its holding of Ordinary Stock issued as
a result of the NPRFC Placing (but excluding its other
investment holdings in the Group). Subject to the passing
of the Resolutions and the Rights Issue proceeding, the
consideration for the take up of its Rights in respect of the
NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock and its holding of Ordinary
Stock as a result of the NPRFC Placing will be the
conversion of units of 2009 Preference Stock at their
subscription price of A1.00 each to Ordinary Stock at the
Rights Issue Price. Further detail is included in paragraph 4
(Government) of this Summary and paragraph 8 (Material
Contracts) of Part XVIII (Additional Information) of this
Prospectus.
9

Debt for Equity Offers: Under the Debt for Equity Offers,
holders of certain of the Groups Tier 1 Securities and
Upper Tier 2 Securities with an aggregate nominal value of
approximately A1.49 billion will be given the opportunity
to exchange these securities for (a) Allotment Instruments
(which will automatically convert into Conversion Ordinary
Stock on the Conversion Date); or (b) through a settlement
procedure more fully described in paragraph 5 (Debt for
Equity Offers) of the Appendix to Part VII (Letter from the
Governor of Bank of Ireland) of this Prospectus, cash
proceeds from the allotment of Ordinary Stock in the
Rights Issue on behalf of such holders; or (c) a
combination thereof. The tender prices will represent a
discount of up to 42.0% to the nominal value of the
existing Tier 1 Securities and Upper Tier 2 Securities
exchanged by these security holders. The increase in
Equity Tier 1 Capital resulting from the combination of the
Rights Issue and the Debt for Equity Offers will be no less
than A1,885 million. A capital gain, which will increase the
Groups Equity Tier 1 Capital, will be generated by the
difference between the nominal value of the Tier 1
Securities and Upper Tier 2 Securities exchanged and the
value of the consideration paid. The actual size of the
Rights Issue (including the NPRFC Rights Issue
Undertaking) will be reduced by the capital gain generated
by the Debt for Equity Offers, prior to the Early US Debt for
Equity Offers Expiration Date up to a maximum amount of
A100 million, and the aggregate principal amount of
Allotment Instruments to be issued to electing noteholders
in the Debt for Equity Offers of up to A200 million.
Warrant Cancellation: The Warrants held by the NPRFC
will, simultaneous with the NPRFC Placing, be cancelled in
return for the payment of A491 million in cash by the Bank
to the NPRFC.
Government

4.
Government Transaction
Through the NPRFC Investment, the NPRFC Placing,
assuming it is implemented, NAMA and the participation in
the Government Guarantee Schemes, the Bank has a
multifaceted and important relationship with the
Government and certain associated entities, in particular
the Department of Finance, the NPRFC and NAMA. In
particular, as at 23 April 2010, the Irish Government,
through the NPRFC, held 15.73% of the Banks Existing
Stock. In addition, as at the date of this Prospectus, the
NPRFC holds the Warrants to subscribe for additional
Ordinary Stock. The Proposals include the implementation
of the Government Transaction, which includes the NPRFC
Placing, the NPRFC Rights Issue Undertaking, the Warrant
Cancellation, the amendment of the dividend and voting
rights attaching to the NPRFCs 2009 Preference Stock,
and a number of commitments to promote the availability
of credit and the development of the Irish economy.
NPRFC Placing
Pursuant to the NPRFC Placing, the NPRFC has agreed to
subscribe for 575,555,556 units of Ordinary Stock at a
price of A1.80 per unit. This will be effected by way of the
conversion of 1,036,000,000 units of 2009 Preference
Stock (at their subscription price of A1.00 per unit of 2009
Preference Stock) to units of Ordinary Stock. In
consideration for the NPRFC Placing, the Bank has agreed
to pay to the NPRFC a fee equal to 1% of the subscription
price for all units of 2009 Preference Stock converted
pursuant to the NPRFC Placing (the NPRFC Placing Fee). In
addition the Bank will pay a Transaction Fee of A22 million
at the closing of the NPRFC Placing. The NPRFC Placing will
be conditional upon the commencement of dealings in the
Nil Paid Rights and Fully Paid Rights pursuant to the Rights
Issue.
NPRFC Rights Issue Undertaking
Pursuant to the NPRFC Rights Issue Undertaking, the
NPRFC has agreed, subject to certain terms and
conditions, to fully take up its entitlement of Rights Issue
Stock, by virtue of its holding of the NPRFC Coupon
Ordinary Stock and its holding of Ordinary Stock as a
result of the NPRFC Placing.
Subject to the passing of the Resolutions and the Rights
Issue proceeding, this will be effected by way of the
conversion of such number of units of the 2009 Preference
Stock held by the NPRFC to units of Ordinary Stock, based
on the subscription price of the 2009 Preference Stock of
A1.00 each, as would be equal to the cash amount which
the NPRFC would be obliged to pay to the Bank in the
event it was to pay cash to take up its full entitlement
under the Rights Issue.
Conditional upon the NPRFC Placing and completion of the
matters contemplated by the NPRFC Rights Issue
Undertaking, and in consideration for the NPRFC Rights
Issue Undertaking, the Bank has also agreed to pay to the
NPRFC the NPRFC Commitment Commission, which will be
calculated on the same basis as the commission being
paid to the Underwriters in respect of their participation in
the underwriting of the Rights Issue.
10
Warrant Cancellation
In addition, the Warrants held by the NPRFC to subscribe
for 334,737,148 units of Ordinary Stock will be cancelled
in return for payment of A491 million in cash by the Bank
to the NPRFC. As such, if the Proposals are approved and
implemented, the NPRFC will cease to hold the Warrants
and the subscription rights pursuant to the Warrants.
Amendment of the NPRFCs dividend and voting rights
As part of the Government Transaction and in connection
with the NPRFC Placing and the NPRFC Rights Issue
Undertaking, and conditional on the passing of the
Resolutions, the rights attaching to the 2009 Preference
Stock will be amended to increase the non-cumulative
dividend to a fixed rate of 10.25% (from 8% currently) of
the issue price per annum, payable annually in arrears at
the discretion of the Bank. This reflects the agreement
reached by the Bank and the NPRFC in respect of the
Government Transaction overall.
In addition, if the Government Transaction is implemented,
certain characteristics and restrictions of the NPRFCs
voting rights attaching to the 2009 Preference Stock and
any Ordinary Stock issued in lieu of cash dividends
(including the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock) or issued
upon the exercise of the Warrants will be modified.
Other Commitments Pursuant to the Government
Transaction Agreement
Under the Government Transaction Agreement, the Bank
has committed to promote the availability of credit and
the development of the Irish economy. Specifically, the
Bank is committed to use all reasonable endeavours to
meet a lending target of A3 billion per annum for new or
increased credit facilities to SMEs in Ireland in each of the
twelve month periods commencing on 1 April 2010 and 1
April 2011. The Bank will produce an SME lending plan to
the Minister for Finance, both by geography and sector, for
each of these twelve month periods to demonstrate the
manner in which it intends to meet this target. In addition,
the Bank has agreed to use all reasonable endeavours to
provide A20 million for seed capital to Enterprise Ireland
supported ventures and A100 million for environmental,
clean energy and innovation projects. The Group is also
required to work with Enterprise Ireland and the Irish
Bankers Federation to develop sectoral expertise in the
modern growth sectors of the Irish economy and to work
with Enterprise Ireland to develop a range of banking
services to meet the needs of Irish SMEs trading
internationally. The Bank has also undertaken to take a
number of steps to develop new credit products in areas
where cashflow, rather than property or assets, is relied on
as the basis for business lending. These various
commitments described above are in addition to those
previously given by the Bank in connection with the NPRFC
Investment and pursuant to the terms of the Subscription
Agreement.
Government Stockholding
If the Government Transaction is implemented as outlined
above, the NPRFC will increase its holding of Ordinary
Stock, but will have its Warrants cancelled and its holding
of 2009 Preference Stock reduced. This would result in the
NPRFC holding up to a maximum of 36% of the enlarged
capital stock following the implementation of the
Proposals (with the NPRFC subscribing fully for its rights in
relation to the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock and the
Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing),
assuming that in addition it fully takes up its Rights in
respect of the units of its other Existing Stock (i.e. the
Ordinary Stock held pursuant to its other investment
activities in addition to the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock)
with no right to purchase additional Ordinary Stock
pursuant to the Warrants. The implementation of the
Proposals would also result in the NPRFCs holding of 2009
Preference Stock falling from the 3,500 million units held
at the date of this Prospectus to a minimum of 1,779
million units and a maximum of 1,888 million units.
NAMA
At the Extraordinary General Court of Bank of Ireland on
12 January 2010, Ordinary Stockholders voted in favour of
Bank of Irelands application to participate in NAMA and in
February 2010, the Minister for Finance confirmed the
Groups designation as a Participating Institution.
Performing and non-performing land and development
loans, together with associated loans (primarily
investment property loans), are being acquired by NAMA
on a phased basis which started on 2 April 2010, with the
largest systemic exposures to the Irish banking system
having been acquired first.
11
The Group expects to transfer to NAMA loans of
approximately A12.2 billion, before impairment provisions,
together with accrued interest and related derivatives. At
31 December 2009, the profile of the loans is shown in the
following table:
Land .........................................
Development ................................... Associated (mainly
investment property) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Republic of Ireland E billion
3.1 2.3 2.3
7.7
UK & Rest of World E billion
1.0 2.1 1.4
4.5
Total E billion
4.1 4.4 3.7
12.2
The loans that are now expected to transfer to NAMA
of approximately A12.2 billion, had impairment provisions
of A2.8 billion at 31 December 2009 which together with
accrued interest and related derivatives of A0.2 billion will
give rise to an expected net transfer of A9.6 billion of Bank
of Ireland Eligible Bank Assets to NAMA.
On 2 April 2010, the Group transferred to NAMA the
Tranche 1 NAMA Assets of A1.9 billion (before impairment
provisions), comprising A0.9 billion of land and
development loans and A1.0 billion of associated loans, for
aggregate consideration of A1.2 billion in Government
guaranteed bonds and non-guaranteed subordinated
bonds.
Applying the level of discount (approximately 36%) on the
disposal of the Tranche 1 NAMA Assets to the portfolio of
A12.2 billion of loans would result in a loss of A4.4 billion
(before impairment provisions of A2.8 billion at 31
December 2009). At the Extraordinary General Court of 12
January 2010, the Group provided guidance that we
believe that the discount to book value that we will
receive in payment for these loans by NAMA should not be
greater than A4.8 billion representing a 30% discount
on the Ministers estimate of A16 billion total loan book
value of loans to be transferred.
While the quantum of loans expected to transfer, the mix
of those loans and the discount expected on those loans
has changed since the Extraordinary General Court on 12
January 2010, the Group believes that the aggregate euro
value of the discount of A4.4 billion on the total portfolio of
Bank of Ireland Eligible Bank Assets will be within the
guidance provided of A4.4 billion at the Extraordinary
General Court of the Bank on 12 January 2010.
However, it should be noted that the Group is currently
unable to accurately quantify the ultimate expected loss
on the transfer of all the Bank of Ireland Eligible Bank
Assets to NAMA. The limited number and nature of the
loans involved in the first tranche mean that it may not be
a representative sample of the total portfolio of assets
held for sale to NAMA and consequently the loss on sale is
not necessarily indicative of the loss that is expected to
arise on the entire portfolio of Bank of Ireland Eligible Bank
Assets that will ultimately transfer. Therefore, significant
uncertainties remain as to the final discount which will be
applicable to Bank of Ireland.
In consideration of the transfer of Bank of Ireland Eligible
Bank Assets to NAMA, the Group receives a combination of
Government guaranteed bonds, to be issued by NAMA and
guaranteed by the Minister for Finance (not less than 95%
of the consideration), and non-guaranteed subordinated
bonds (not more than 5% of the consideration). The
Government guaranteed bonds are designed to be
marketable instruments that are capable of being pledged
as funding collateral to debt market investors and to
Monetary Authorities such as the ECB and the Group
expects to be able to exchange such marketable
instruments for cash at minimal cost.
5. Rationale and Key Benefits of the Proposals
Rationale
The Directors believe that given the completion of the
transfer of the Tranche 1 NAMA Assets, the re-affirmation
of the non-NAMA bound loans impairment guidance, the
increased clarity on the EU Restructuring Plan, the clarity
from the Financial Regulator of its requirements for
additional Equity Tier 1 Capital in the Group, the
completion by the Group of a review of its defined benefit
pension schemes and the stabilising economic outlook in
its core Irish market and the UK, where there is some
evidence that economic recovery is already underway, the
Group is now in a position to take significant steps to
strengthen further its capital base through the initiatives
more fully described in paragraph 3 (The Proposals) of this
Summary.
The Groups key business priorities are to (i) support its
customers; (ii) maintain a strong capital position; (iii) fund
its balance sheet effectively; (iv) manage its credit risks;
(v) rigorously manage its costs; and (vi) return to
profitability and achieve profitable growth.
The Directors believe that the Group has the appropriate
strategy to rebuild and grow the Group as its core markets
in Ireland and the UK recover and, consequently, deliver
value for Stockholders.
12
Key Benefits of the Proposals
The Directors believe the Proposals are beneficial to the
Group because they:
will increase Equity Tier 1 Capital by not less than A2.8
billion, net of expenses and the Warrant Cancellation,
which, if the Proposals had been implemented as at 31
December 2009, would have resulted in a pro forma
Equity Tier 1 Capital Ratio of 8.0%, Core Tier 1 Capital
Ratio of 10.1%, a Tier 1 Capital Ratio of 10.5% and Total
Capital Ratio of 13.5% for the Group under Basel II, based
on the assumptions and adjustments set out in Part XV
(Unaudited Pro Forma Financial Information) of this
Prospectus, as compared with a reported Equity Tier 1
Capital Ratio of 5.3%, Core Tier 1 Capital Ratio of 8.9%, a
Tier 1 Capital Ratio of 9.8% and Total Capital Ratio of
13.4% for the Group at 31 December 2009;
will strengthen the Groups capital position, to provide
wholesale funding markets and depositors with increased
confidence in the Group and support a prudent
disengagement from the Government Guarantee Schemes
as market conditions allow, which should enable the Group
to achieve its strategic growth objectives in its core
business portfolios;
should reduce Existing Stockholder dilution by including
a rights issue as a significant part of the capital raising
proposition rather than relying solely on a non pre-emptive
placing that would not be available to Existing
Stockholders; and
have been selected to limit Government ownership of
the Ordinary Stock the net proceeds of the Institutional
Placing and the Rights Issue (excluding the NPRFC Rights
Issue Undertaking) are underwritten by a syndicate of
underwriters, thus ensuring that the maximum
Government ownership of Ordinary Stock arising from the
implementation of the Proposals will not be higher than
36%; and the Proposals additionally include the
cancellation of the NPRFCs Warrants, which will reduce
the potential for the NPRFC to increase its stockholding in
the Bank further following implementation of the
Proposals.
In addition, by strengthening the Groups capital position,
the Proposals will enable the Group to continue to play an
important role in supporting the recovery of the Irish
economy through the continued provision of credit.
Financial Targets
The implementation of the Proposals will place the Group
in a significantly strengthened capital position, which the
Group expects will facilitate the delivery of sustainable
growth and over time build value for Ordinary
Stockholders.
In recent periods, the Group has experienced net interest
margin attrition primarily as a result of the low interest
rate environment, higher cost of wholesale funding and
competition on deposit pricing. This trend is expected to
continue in the short term as the Group increases its
quantum of term funding in pursuit of its strategy to
prudently disengage from the Government Guarantee
Schemes. Margin expansion is a key management priority.
The expected continuation of recent strong lending
margins on new business, increased demand for lending
as economic growth returns, anticipated increases in base
interest rates and the lower wholesale funding costs
expected in the future, are all expected to be positive for
the Groups net interest margin over time. In addition, by
actively re- pricing the existing loan book, by maximising
the margin from non-core portfolios and by re-pricing
deposits, the Group is targeting a net interest margin in
excess of 175 basis points in the year ending 31
December 2013.
Since March 2008, the Group has demonstrated the
scalable nature of its cost base as it refocused on its core
portfolios. The Group will continue to maintain its rigorous
approach to cost management and is implementing a
range of initiatives to further reduce costs. These
initiatives, together with the expected margin expansion
referred to above, are expected to lower the Groups cost
income ratio to below 50% in the year ending 31
December 2013.
The Group has enhanced its approach to credit
management and is rigorously managing all of its credit
risks. It is expected that the impairment charge on non-
NAMA bound loans peaked in 2009 and is expected to
reduce progressively in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The Proposals are expected to fully address, for the 3 year
period to 2012, the Groups capital requirements as set
out by the Financial Regulator in the Prudential Capital
Assessment Review on 30 March 2010. The Proposals will
strengthen the Groups capital position and are expected
to enable it to maintain an Equity Tier 1 Capital Ratio in
excess of 7%, under Basel II.
Funding the Group is reverting to a more traditional
banking model where it will substantially fund its core loan
portfolios through customer deposits. The Group will
leverage the potential of its extensive retail distribution
platforms both in the Republic of Ireland through its
branch network and internationally through its joint
venture with the UK Post Office, its Business and
Corporate Banking relationship management teams and
its network of
13
treasury offices in Dublin, the UK and the US to attract
deposits to fund asset growth. This more sustainable
funding strategy together with the initiatives to de-lever
the Groups balance sheet are expected to reduce the
Groups loan to deposit ratio to below 125% in the year
ending 31 December 2013.
The achievement of the above financial targets should
allow the Group to deliver a return on equity in the low
teens to mid teens percent in the year ending 31
December 2013.
6. State aid and EU Restructuring Plan
As previously announced, the NPRFC Investment, the
Government Transaction and the Groups participation in
NAMA are the subject of an ongoing review by the
European Commission under EU State aid rules. As part of
this review under State aid rules a restructuring plan was
prepared by the Group and submitted by the Department
of Finance to the European Commission on 30 September
2009. Any such plan is required to contain measures to
address an appropriate level of burden-sharing by the
Group and its Stockholders and noteholders and to limit
any competition distortion resulting from any State aid
received by the Group, as well as an assessment of the
long-term viability of the Group.
The European Commission will require the Group to effect
certain structural and behavioural measures. Accordingly,
over the last number of months, the Group and the
Department of Finance have been involved in detailed
negotiations with the European Commission in relation to
the terms of the EU Restructuring Plan.
The Group expects that the decision regarding the
approval of the proposed measures, including the final
binding terms of the EU Restructuring Plan, will be taken
by the European Commission, by mid-2010. Therefore, at
the date of this Prospectus, there can be no certainty as to
the outcome of the State aid proceedings and the content
of the final EU Restructuring Plan. The Group expects,
however, based on the current status of its negotiations
through the Department of Finance with the European
Commission that the final EU Restructuring Plan is likely to
consist of the key elements set out below.
Business Disposals
The Group will commit to dispose of certain businesses,
namely: (i) New Ireland Assurance Company plc, a
manufacturer of pension, life assurance and related
products for individuals and SMEs with approximately 19%
share of new business in Ireland; (ii) Bank of Ireland Asset
Management Limited, an investment management
business headquartered in Dublin with approximately A25
billion assets under management at 31 December 2009;
(iii) ICS Building Society, an Irish intermediary-sourced
mortgage business with mortgage loans of approximately
A7 billion (of which the Group will commit to sell a
minimum of A2 billion) and deposits of approximately A4
billion outstanding at 31 December 2009; (iv) Foreign
Currency Exchange Corporation, the Groups US foreign
exchange business; and (v) its stakes in Paul Capital Top
Tier Investments LLC and the Irish Credit Bureau Limited.
Historical financial impact on the Group business
disposals
The assets and liabilities, and the associated income and
expenses, of the businesses to be divested cannot be
determined with precision until nearer the date of sale.
However, the Group estimates that, as at 31 December
2009, the businesses to be divested comprised
approximately A7 billion of lending and approximately A4
billion of deposits and, on this basis, approximately A0.9
billion of Risk Weighted Assets. For the nine month period
ended 31 December 2009, the Group estimates that the
businesses to be divested generated underlying1 total
income of approximately A200 million, generated
underlying operating profit (before impairment charges) of
approximately A90 million, and contributed approximately
A40 million of underlying profit before tax to the Group.
Loan portfolios wind-down/sale
The Group continues to wind down its UK intermediary
sourced mortgage portfolio and also certain discontinued
international corporate lending portfolios (comprising
approximately 25% of customer lending at 31 December
2009). The Group will also attempt to accelerate the wind-
down of these portfolios by way of sale, but will not have
an obligation to sell either portfolio at less than book
value.
If the Group has not wound down or sold its UK
intermediary mortgage book to below an agreed level, it
will commit to meet the following target from 31
December 2013:
Group Customer Loans 100% Group Customer Deposits
plus Wholesale Funding H 1 year
1 Underlying excludes the gross-up for policyholder tax in
New Ireland which amounted to a gain of approximately
A60 million in the nine months ended 31 December 2009.
14
Historical financial impact on the Group wind-down
assets
The Group estimates that, as of 31 December 2009, the
loan portfolios to be wound down comprised
approximately A34 billion of lending and approximately A6
billion of Risk Weighted Assets. For the nine month period
ended 31 December 2009, the Group estimates that the
loan portfolios to be wound down generated total income
of approximately A190 million, generated operating profit
(before impairment charges) of approximately A145
million, and contributed approximately A60 million of profit
before tax to the Group.
Behavioural Commitments
Certain behavioural commitments, including:
The Group will make available a service package to
other banks and financial institutions comprising a range
of clearing and related operational services on a cost
recovery basis;
The Group will also facilitate customer mobility by
undertaking certain direct mailings of qualifying third
party financial product offerings to the Groups customer
base;
A commitment from the Group not to make discretionary
payments of coupons or to exercise voluntary call options
on hybrid capital securities from 1 February 2010 to 31
January 2011;
A commitment from the Bank not to pay dividends on
Ordinary Stock until the earlier of (i) 30 September 2012;
or (ii) such time as the 2009 Preference Stock is redeemed
or no longer owned by the State through the NPRFC or
otherwise; and
A commitment from the Bank not to make any material
acquisitions.
Implementation
These measures will be required to be implemented over
various time frames between now and December 2014.
The implementation of the final EU Restructuring Plan may
also require various approvals which may include
approvals from financial regulators, Stockholders pursuant
to the Listing Rules or other approvals required under
competition law.
Conclusion
The Directors believe that the anticipated final EU
Restructuring Plan as described above is sufficient to
obtain approval from the European Commission for all
State aid the Group has received including as a result of (i)
the NPRFC Investment; (ii) the Groups participation in
NAMA; and (iii) the extent that the Government
Transaction might constitute State aid. On the basis of the
impact indicated by the historical financial information set
out above the Directors do not expect that an EU
Restructuring Plan as described above, would be
materially detrimental to the long term interests of the
Group.
7. Re-affirmation of non-NAMA related loan impairment
estimates
As announced on 31 March 2010, the Group has
conducted an extensive internal review of its impairment
charge estimates on its non-NAMA bound loans and
advances to customers. The outcome of this review is to
re-affirm the Groups previous impairment charge
guidance of A4.7 billion on the non-NAMA bound loan
portfolio for the three years ending 31 March 2011.
In parallel with this review, the Group has engaged Oliver
Wyman, a leading international management consulting
firm, to independently review and challenge the Groups
impairment charge estimates on its non-NAMA bound
loans. Oliver Wyman has confirmed to the Group that, on
the basis of the work it has performed and subject to
limitations and qualifications set out in the Oliver Wyman
report, it believes the Groups non-NAMA impairment
charge estimates to be reasonable.
8. Pensions
The Group operates a number of defined benefit and
defined contribution pension schemes in Ireland and
overseas, with total scheme membership at approximately
29,000. As at 31 December 2009, the pension schemes
had an IAS 19 deficit of A1.63 billion, and, in January 2010,
the Group launched a pensions review programme to
address the deficit in its defined benefit schemes. The
main objectives of the review were (i) to achieve a
significant immediate reduction in the IAS 19 deficit; and
(ii) to reduce the cost and risk associated with pension
provision going forward.
15
The Group has had very significant engagement with
staff representative bodies and the relevant trustee
boards, and has undertaken a communications
programme with current employees and the other
members of the pension schemes. Extensive discussions
have taken place in order to address the deficit through a
shared solution, comprising a combination of benefit
restructuring and additional employer contributions over a
period of time.
Through this process and following a recommendation by
an independent third party chairman, the Bank, the main
bank union (IBOA) and the trustee board of the Bank of
Ireland Staff Pensions Fund (BSPF) (which accounts for
approximately 85% of the total deficit across all the
schemes) have reached an agreement in principle in
relation to the BSPF scheme. Where appropriate, similar
changes will be proposed for other schemes, and
discussions with other relevant trustee boards have
commenced. Based on these discussions, the agreement
in principle and other member feedback, the Directors are
confident of achieving a significant upfront reduction in
the pension deficit in the coming months.
Full implementation of the amendments to the Groups
pension schemes would eliminate approximately 50% of
the 31 December 2009 IAS 19 deficit. If such amendments
are implemented, the Bank will increase its cash
contributions, above existing cash contributions, to the
schemes so as to eliminate the approximately 50%
remaining of the 31 December 2009 IAS 19 deficit over
approximately 6 years.
9. Current trading, trends and prospects
Selected Financial Information1
For the nine month financial period ended 31 December
2009, the Group had total operating income, net of
insurance claims, of A3.60 billion (compared with A3.96
billion and A4.24 billion, respectively, for the financial
years ended 31 March 2009 and 31 March 2008) and loss
after tax of A1.47 billion (compared with profit after tax of
A18 million2 and A1.70 billion, respectively, for the
financial years ended 31 March 2009 and 31 March 2008).
As at 31 December 2009, the Group had total assets of
A181 billion (compared with A194 billion and A197 billion,
respectively, as at 31 March 2009 and 31 March 2008) and
shareholders equity of A6 billion (compared with A7 billion
and A7 billion, respectively, as at 31 March 2009 and 31
March 2008).
As at 31 December 2009, the Group had an Equity Tier 1
Capital Ratio of 5.3% (compared with 6.2% as at 31 March
2009), a Core Tier 1 Capital Ratio of 8.9% (compared with
9.5% as at 31 March 2009), a Tier 1 Capital Ratio of 9.8%
(compared with 12% as at 31 March 2009) and a Total
Capital Ratio of 13.4% (compared with 15.2% as at 31
March 2009). The capital ratios as at 31 December 2009
and 31 March 2009 have been calculated under Basel II.
As at 31 March 2008, the Group had an Equity Tier 1
Capital Ratio of 5.6%, a Core Tier 1 Capital Ratio of 5.7%,
a Tier 1 Capital Ratio of 8.1% and a Total Capital Ratio of
11.1%.
Trading Update
Trading conditions in the Groups core markets in Ireland
and the UK in the 2010 financial year remained
challenging though economic conditions have recently
shown some signs of stabilisation after the substantial fall
in economic output from early in 2008.
Net interest income is being impacted by a number of
factors:
the low interest rate environment together with the
impact of continuing competition on deposit pricing,
placing pressure on deposit margins;
the higher cost of wholesale funding as the Group
continues to increase the quantum of term funding
(wholesale funding with a maturity of one year or greater)
in pursuit of the Groups strategy to disengage in a
prudent manner from the Government Guarantee
Schemes; and
while lending margins on new business remain strong,
low levels of new business activity mutes the impact of
this.
As a result, the Group continues to anticipate some
downward pressure on net interest margin in 2010.
Ongoing strong cost discipline across the Group and the
benefits of business disposals and other initiatives
implemented in the prior financial year continue to deliver
cost savings as anticipated. The challenging economic
conditions, unemployment and weak consumer sentiment
continue to impact the loan impairment charge as
expected. The Directors continue to believe that loan
losses on non-NAMA bound loan portfolios have peaked
with the
1 This data has been extracted without material
adjustment from the December 2009 Annual Report, the
2009 Annual Report and the 2008 Annual Report.
2 This figure has been restated to reflect the impact of the
adoption of Amendments to IFRS 2 Shares-based
Payment Vesting Conditions and Cancellations
16
impairment charge progressively reducing as
previously guided. Expected loan losses on these
portfolios for the three year period to 31 March 2011
remain within the loan loss guidance of A4.7 billion.
The quantum of customer lending, including loans held for
sale to NAMA, remains broadly unchanged at 31 March
2010 when compared to 31 December 2009 on a constant
currency basis. The demand for new loans is muted.
Competition for customer deposits remains intense and
customer deposits at 31 March 2010 are marginally lower
compared to 31 December 2009 on a constant currency
basis. In January 2010, the Groups long term and short
term credit ratings were downgraded by Standard & Poors
to A- / A-2 with a stable outlook. In the quarter ended 31
March 2010 the Group raised approximately A4.5 billion in
term funding (funding with a maturity greater than one
year at date of issue). In line with the Groups stated
goals, the maturity profile of its wholesale funding has
been extended with over 37% of its overall wholesale
funding having a maturity of greater than one year at 31
March 2010 compared to 32% at 31 December 2009.
Equity Tier 1 Capital and Core Tier 1 Capital were
positively impacted by the Lower Tier 2 Securities
exchange completed in February 2010 which generated a
gain of A405 million.
10. Dividend Policy
On 13 November 2008, in light of the deteriorating
economic conditions and the determination to preserve
capital, the Bank announced its decision to cancel
dividend payments on Ordinary Stock for the financial year
ending 31 March 2009.
On 19 January 2010, following communications from the
European Commission that the Bank should not make
coupon payments on its Tier 1 Securities and Upper Tier 2
Securities unless under a binding legal obligation to do so,
the Group announced that the non-cumulative
distributions on the LP2 Securities and the LP3 Securities,
which would otherwise have been payable on 1 February
2010 and 4 February 2010 respectively, would not be paid.
The effect of this decision by the Bank was to trigger the
dividend stopper provisions of the LP2 Securities. While
these dividend stoppers remain in force, the Group is
precluded for a period of one calendar year from and
including 1 February 2010 from declaring and making any
distribution or dividend payment on its Ordinary Stock, the
non-cumulative euro and Sterling Preference Stock, the
2009 Preference Stock and the Hybrid/Preferred Securities.
The Bank issued the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock to the
NPRFC on Monday, 22 February 2010 in lieu of the cash
dividend due to the holders of the 2009 Preference Stock
on 20 February 2010.
In addition, under the terms of the CIFS Guarantee
Scheme, the Bank is precluded from paying dividends on
the Ordinary Stock without the prior approval of the
Minister for Finance until the expiry of the CIFS Guarantee
Scheme which is scheduled to take place on 29 September
2010. The prohibition can be extended under the ELG
Scheme.
Under the EU Restructuring Plan, the Group will commit
not to make discretionary payments of coupons or to
exercise voluntary call options on hybrid capital securities
on or before 31 January 2011. Thereafter, any conditions
imposed by the European Commission in respect of hybrid
capital securities are expected to fall away. Also under the
EU Restructuring Plan, the Bank will commit not to pay
dividends on its Ordinary Stock until the earlier of (i) 30
September 2012; or (ii) such date that the 2009
Preference Stock is redeemed or no longer owned by the
State through the NPRFC or otherwise.
The Directors intend to resume paying dividends on
Ordinary Stock after the above conditions have been
satisfied and the Group has demonstrated that it can
maintain appropriate capital ratios and sustainable profits.
11. Overview of Bank of Ireland
The Group provides a broad range of financial services in
Ireland to all major sectors of the Irish economy. These
include monetary transmission services (including current
accounts) and deposit taking, overdrafts, term loans,
mortgages, business and corporate lending, international
asset financing, leasing, instalment credit, debt factoring,
foreign exchange facilities, interest and exchange rate
hedging instruments, life assurance, pension investment
and investment fund management, fund administration
and custodial services and financial advisory services,
including mergers and acquisitions and underwriting.
17
The Group provides services in euro and other
currencies. The Group markets and sells its products on a
domestic basis through its extensive nationwide
distribution network in Ireland, which consists of 251 full
time branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs, its direct
telephone banking service, direct sales forces and its
online services.
The UK Financial Services (UKFS) division incorporates
Business Banking in Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
the branch network in Northern Ireland, the discontinued
intermediary sourced mortgage business operating under
Bristol & West and Bank of Ireland brands and the joint
ventures with the UK Post Office, namely Post Office
Financial and Travel Services. In addition, the Bank
provides corporate lending and treasury products and
services to corporate customers in Northern Ireland,
England, Scotland and Wales through its corporate
banking and global markets businesses which have offices
in Belfast, Bristol and London.
Operations in the rest of the world are undertaken by:

12.
Corporate Banking, which is engaged in international
lending, with operations located in France, Germany and
the US;
Global Markets, which delivers a comprehensive range of
risk management products to the Groups customer base.
Additional Information
For further information on the capital stock of the Bank,
see paragraph 2 (Capital Stock) of Part XVIII (Additional
Information) of this Prospectus. For further information on
related party transactions, see paragraph 7 (Related Party
Transactions) of Part XVIII (Additional Information) of this
Prospectus. A summary of the Banks Charter and Bye-
Laws is set out in paragraph 4 (Charter and Bye-Laws) of
Part XVIII (Additional Information) of this Prospectus. For
further information on the documents on display, see
paragraph 20 (Documents Available For Inspection) of Part
XVIII (Additional Information) of this Prospectus.
13. Risk Factors
The Groups financial results, financial condition and
prospects could be materially and adversely affected by
any of the risks described below:
General risks related to Bank of Ireland
Ireland: The Groups businesses are subject to risks
arising from general and sector specific economic
conditions in Ireland, which have materially adversely
affected the Groups earnings and are likely to continue to
affect its results, financial condition and prospects;
Further downgrades to the Irish sovereign ratings or
outlook could impair the Groups access to funding, trigger
additional collateral requirements and weaken its
competitive position;
In addition to Ireland, the Groups businesses are subject
to inherent risks arising from general and sector specific
economic conditions in other countries to which the Group
has an exposure, particularly in the United Kingdom.
Adverse developments, such as the recent deterioration in
general economic conditions and in the global financial
markets, have already materially adversely affected the
Groups earnings and are likely to continue to affect its
results, financial condition and prospects;
Decreases in the credit quality of the Groups borrowers
and counterparties, as well as increased difficulties in
relation to the recoverability of loans and other amounts
due from such borrowers and counterparties, have
resulted in increases, and could result in further significant
increases, in the Groups impaired loans and impairment
charges;
Increased volatility in financial markets has resulted in,
and may continue to result in, reduced asset valuations
which could further adversely affect the Groups results,
financial condition and prospects;
The Group is exposed to declining property values and a
deterioration in the performance of the residential and
commercial property markets, particularly in Ireland and
the United Kingdom;
Market risks, including interest rate risk, foreign
exchange risk, bond and equity price risk and other
market risks, could materially adversely affect the Groups
results, financial condition and prospects;
Constraints on liquidity, lack of availability of funding
and increased cost of funding could materially adversely
affect the Groups business;
The Group relies on customer deposits to fund a
considerable portion of its loan portfolio, the ongoing
availability of which is sensitive to factors outside the
Groups control. Loss of consumer confidence in the
Groups business or in banking businesses generally,
among other things, could result in unexpectedly high
18
levels of customer deposit withdrawals, which could
have a material adverse effect on the Groups results,
financial condition and liquidity prospects;
The termination of, or changes to the operation of, or the
participation by the Group in, the CIFS Guarantee Scheme
and the ELG Scheme or changes in the terms of the
Groups participation in such schemes could have an
adverse effect on the Groups results, financial condition
and prospects;
The Irish banking system may restructure and change
significantly which could have a material adverse effect on
the Groups results, financial condition and prospects;
The NPRFC Investment, the Government Transaction and
NAMA are the subject of a review by the European
Commission under EU State aid rules, the outcome of
which is uncertain and may involve the prohibition of
some or all elements of the State aid provided to the
Group by the Government, the requirement for the Group
to repay the State aid, or the imposition of conditions on
the Group that may be materially adverse to its interests;
The Groups participation in the CIFS Guarantee Scheme,
the ELG Scheme, the NPRFC Investment, NAMA and the
Government Transaction could require the Group to
implement operational policies that could materially
adversely affect the Groups results, financial condition
and prospects;
Participation in NAMA may subject the Group to
directions from the Financial Regulator, NAMA, the Minister
for Finance or the European Commission which could have
a material adverse effect on the Groups results, financial
condition and prospects;
The NPRFC could exercise its voting rights in a manner
which is not aligned with the interests of the Group or its
other stockholders;
A change in Government policy or the Irish Government
could have a material adverse effect on the Groups
results, financial condition, liquidity and prospects;
The discount on disposal of Bank of Ireland Eligible Bank
Assets to NAMA may exceed the Groups estimate of A4.4
billion (including impairment provisions of A2.8 billion at
31 December 2009), and if it did it would adversely impact
the Groups capital and results of operations. Even after
the transfer of assets to NAMA, the Group is exposed to
some of NAMAs losses in the event that NAMA has an
underlying loss at the conclusion of its operations;
A series of further downgrades to the Groups credit
ratings or credit outlook could impair the Groups access
to funding, either by borrowing or through access to
capital markets, trigger additional collateral requirements
and/or weaken its competitive position;
The Group operates in competitive markets (subject to
some price regulation) which are subject to significant
change and uncertainty which could have a material
adverse effect on its results, financial condition and
prospects;
The Group is subject to extensive regulation and
oversight. Failure to comply with its regulatory obligations
and to manage the associated risks properly could have a
material adverse effect on the Groups results, financial
condition and prospects;
The Group is subject to extensive regulation and
supervision in relation to the levels of capital in its
business. The minimum regulatory capital requirements,
as well as the manner in which existing regulatory capital
is calculated, could change in the future, which could
materially adversely affect the Groups results, financial
conditions and prospects;
If the Group proceeds to transfer part of its UK business
to a newly-incorporated, wholly owned subsidiary, any
such subsidiary could be subject to special resolution
regime powers under the UK Banking Act 2009;
If the Group is required to hold higher levels of capital
than anticipated by the market, this could have a material
adverse impact on the Groups results, financial condition
and prospects;
The Group may be subject to litigation proceedings and
regulatory investigations which could have a material
adverse impact on its results, financial condition and
prospects;
If a court of law were to determine that the Bank is
under a binding legal obligation to pay dividends on the
1992 Preference Stock, except in certain specified
circumstances, the Bank could be required to compensate
holders or former holders of the 1992 Preference Stock
and could potentially be subject to claims by holders or
former holders of Hybrid/Preferred Securities;
The investigation into the factors which contributed to
the Irish banking crisis announced by the Irish
Government, may result in the Group incurring costs in
facilitating and engaging with the investigation and may
result, depending on the findings of the investigation, in
reputational damage to the Group or further investigations
into the Groups conduct;
19
The Group may not succeed in implementing or fully
implementing its plan to reduce the deficits in the defined
benefit pension schemes it sponsors by a combination of
benefit restructuring and additional employer
contributions. In the event that these deficits result in the
schemes becoming unable to meet their liabilities, the
Group could elect to, or be required to, make additional,
potentially significant, contributions to the schemes which
could have a materially negative impact on the Groups
financial condition and trading performance. In addition,
and notwithstanding the implementation of these plans to
reduce the deficits, the Group may if appropriate, elect to,
or may be required to, make further contributions to its
pension schemes if the value of pension fund assets is not
sufficient to cover potential obligations;
Weaknesses or failures in the Groups internal processes
and procedures including IT or equipment failures and
other operational risks could have a material adverse
effect on the Groups results, financial condition and
prospects and could result in reputational damage;
The Groups life assurance business is subject to
inherent risks involving claims, as well as market
conditions generally;
In Ireland and the Isle of Man, the Group is responsible
for contributing to compensation schemes in respect of
banks and other authorised financial services firms that
may be unable to meet their obligations to customers;
If the Group becomes subject to employment disputes or
industrial action, this could adversely affect its business;
The Group may not be able to recruit, retain and develop
appropriate senior management and skilled personnel;
The Groups operations have inherent reputational risk,
meaning the risk to earnings and capital from negative
public opinion;
The effect of the realisation of country risk in respect of
other sovereign issuers could spread to Irish financial
institutions and could result in a material adverse effect on
the Groups results, financial condition and prospects;
The value of certain financial instruments recorded at
fair value is determined using financial models
incorporating assumptions, judgements and estimates
that may change over time or may ultimately not turn out
to be accurate;
Change of control may lead to adverse consequences for
the Group;
Changes in taxation rates, legislation or practice may
lead to adverse consequences for the Group; and
The Groups results of operations and the markets in
which it operates may be adversely affected by terrorist,
geopolitical, pandemic and natural disaster risks.
Risks relating to the Proposals
The Proposals may not be approved by Stockholders at
the Extraordinary General Court;
If the Group does not raise capital through the Proposals
(including as a result of the Resolutions not being
approved or the termination of the Underwriting
Agreement), it may be unable to access additional capital
or find alternative methods of increasing its Equity Tier 1
Capital Ratio, Core Tier 1 Capital Ratio, Tier 1 Capital Ratio
and Total Capital Ratio, and there will be further limits on
its ability to access capital, and its business, financial
condition, results of operations and stock price will suffer.
As a result, it may be necessary for the Group to seek
further equity investment by the Irish Government, which
may lead to majority State ownership and ultimately to
nationalisation; and
Stockholders may have their percentage ownership
diluted depending on the extent to which they take up
their rights entitlements under the Rights Issue and to the
extent that debt holders elect to receive Allotment
Instruments under the Debt for Equity Offers.
Risks relating to the Rights Issue, the Institutional Placing
and the NPRFC Placing
Stockholders who do not subscribe for Rights Issue Stock
in the Rights Issue will experience dilution in their
ownership of the Bank;
Stockholders will experience dilution in their ownership
of the Bank as a result of the Placing and the Debt for
Equity Offers;
An active trading market in the Nil Paid Rights may not
develop;
Admission of the Placing Stock, the Rights Issue Stock,
the Ordinary Stock issued pursuant to the NPRFC Placing
and the NPRFC Coupon Ordinary Stock to trading on the
Irish Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange may
not occur when expected; and
20
It may be difficult for investors outside Ireland to serve
process on or enforce foreign judgments against the Bank
in connection with the Rights Issue and the Institutional
Placing.
Risks relating to the Ordinary Stock
The Banks stock price has been and could further be
subject to significant fluctuations;
The market price of Ordinary Stock may be materially
adversely affected by a significant sale of Ordinary Stock
by the NPRFC;
The Group is currently precluded from paying dividends
or distributions on certain instruments affected by the
terms of a dividend stopper, including the 2009
Preference Stock and the ACSM Hybrids for a period of one
calendar year from and including 1 February 2010. In the
event that the Group remains, or subsequently becomes,
precluded from paying, or elects not to pay, such
dividends on the 2009 Preference Stock and/or the ACSM
Hybrids, it will be required to issue units of Ordinary Stock
to the holders of the 2009 Preference Stock (being the
NPRFC) and/or to a trustee on behalf of the holders of the
ACSM Hybrids, as the case may be. Consequently, the
proportionate ownership and voting interests of Existing
Stockholders will be diluted;
Future issues of Ordinary Stock on a non-pre-emptive
basis may further dilute the holdings of Existing
Stockholders and could materially affect the market price
of the Ordinary Stock. The market price of the Ordinary
Stock may also be adversely affected by the sale of a
large amount of Ordinary Stock by a significant
stockholder; and
The Bank is currently precluded and will be precluded for
some period from paying dividends in respect of the
Ordinary Stock and this may have an adverse effect on the
market price of the Ordinary Stock.

Snap election threat 'if


Coveney does not accept
water recommendations'
- Fianna Fil warns
Barry Cowen rejects suggestions row is
over infamous tweet about his brother
March 1, 17
The Irish Water gang trio of Michael Martin, Simon
Coveney and Enda Kenny
The Government will collapse if Fine Gael
Minister Simon Coveney refuses to accept
recommendations laid down by the
Oireachtas Water Committee, Fianna Fil
has warned.
In a clear heightening of tensions, Fianna Fil TD Barry
Cowen accused Mr Coveney of making a premature,
unprecedented and nothing but political intervention in
the water row.
Quite unbelievable, Mr Coveney added.
The two parties are at loggerheads over the water issue,
which has made the prospect of a snap election a real
possibility.
Fine Gael want to introduce a system of excessive usage -
a position that is being rejected by Fianna Fil and Sinn
Fin.
Speaking to reporters on the Dil plinth, Mr Cowen
ramped up the tensions with Mr Coveney.
If he refuses to legislate, if he refuses to adhere to the
Confidence and Supply Agreement and whats contained
within it, its him who is tearing it up and its him who is
bringing down the government. Yes.
Mr Cowen rejected suggestions that a tweet sent by Mr
Coveney about his brother, former Taoiseach Brian
Cowen, is behind the latest row.
Mr Coveneys tweet, sent following Mr Coveneys infamous
Morning Ireland interview in 2010, read:
"God, what an uninspiring interview by Taoiseach this
morning. He sounded half way between drunk and
hungover and totally disinterested.
Mr Cowen said the issue is now behind him and his family.
Theres nothing personal in this by the way and I heard
someone making that comment earlier on the radio in
relation to what happened seven years ago. Thats a long
way behind me I can tell you and everyone belonging to
me.
Mr Cowen declined to say whether he has confidence in
the Attorney General Mire Whelan, whose advice is being
relied upon by Fine Gael.
Pressed on whether his party would publish its own legal
advice on its website, Mr Cowens colleague Willie ODea
said this would be done later today. Mr Cowen later it
could happen today, tomorrow.
Fianna Fil also rejected claims that it does not support
penalising people who waste water.
The party says the issue could be dealt with under the
Water Services Act 2007.
Mr Cowen said his party supports the thrust of that piece
of legislation, which includes hefty fines and court
appearances for those who waste their water supply.
Housing Minister Simon Coveney
Housing Minister Simon Coveney is to risk
to a general election by facing down an
ultimatum from Fianna Fil over the
scrapping of water charges.
The minister believes it would be "blatantly irresponsible"
to introduce legislation to permanently end charges and
leave Ireland open to massive fines from the EU.
A committee set up by the Government to decide the
future of water services is on course to recommend that
they be funded through general taxation after Fianna Fil
dramatically hardened their position on the issue.
In a high-risk strategy, senior Fianna Fil figures said they
would be prepared for an early election rather than
support the re-introduction of a charging regime.
This includes a proposal laid down by the Independent
Expert Commission that charges should be brought in only
for those engaged in "excessive usage".

But during a 25-minute press conference last night, Mr


Coveney emphatically stated that he will not abolish water
charges contrary to EU law.
"I'm just not going to do that as a minister. I will not
introduce legislation that potentially exposes the country
to severe penalties and fines from the European
Commission. I won't do that. We have clear advice from
the Attorney General's office.
"There has to be some consequence for households
wasting large amounts of water," he said.
He accused Fianna Fil of having a similar position "up
until a few days ago".
Stunned
Senior Fianna Fil sources were last night stunned by Mr
Coveney's reaction, with their party spokesman on water,
Barry Cowen, claiming the minister was breaking the
'confidence and supply' arrangement which ensures the
minority Government's survival.
It states that the Government must facilitate the passage
of legislation based on the committee's recommendations
"including abolition".
During a heated private sitting of the Oireachtas water
committee, the Independent chairperson Pdraig
Cidigh warned he could not accept proposals that are
illegal.
A source close to the senator last night said he was trying
to impress the view that any proposals brought forward
must be "workable".
Yesterday's meeting was tense and acrimonious. Anti-
Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy was told to "grow up"
for tweeting details of the meeting, while Sinn Fin TD
Eoin Broin was criticised for holding a press briefing
while the issue of water charges was still being discussed.
With the Dil due to vote on the issue of water charges
next month, the 20-person committee is now split down
the middle.
Ten members say they are opposed to any form of
charging regime. These include the five Fianna Fil
representatives, two Sinn Fin TDs, Independent deputies
Seamus Healy and Thomas Pringle and Mr Murphy. The
six Fine Gael representatives are in favour of a charging
regime for excessive usage, as are Labour's Jan O'Sullivan
and Senator Grace O'Sullivan of the Green Party.
Independent TD for Galway West Noel Grealish has yet to
decide his stance.
This means that the chairman, Senator Ceidigh may be
required to use his casting vote.
If the committee can resolve its differences, Fine Gael may
be forced to produce a minority report.
But with the Dil arithmetic stacked against the
Government, the prospect of charges returning at all
seems highly unlikely.
During the meeting, Mr Cowen told the committee his
party wants charges completely "scrapped".
He said the country's water system should be funded
through general taxation and within the parameters of the
so-called fiscal space.
The party also wants refunds issued to those who have
paid their bills but said these should be offset against the
Government's 100 conservation grant.
Meanwhile, a new opinion poll shows the vast majority of
voters believe households that waste water should be
charged for in some form.
The Labour Party commissioned 'Ireland Thinks' put a
series of statements relating to water charges to over 1,000
people to gauge attitudes.
The standout result was 77.9pc who said they either
agreed or strongly agreed that people who waste water
should be charged. Just 16.7 disagreed with this view.
Overall 68.7pc said everybody should pay something
towards water.
At the same time 51.4pc agreed that water is a basic
human right.

The Water Charges debate has created a


political storm.
Here are the key proposals contained in a draft document
prepared by water committee chairman Pdraig Ceidigh,
which have been seen by Independent.ie.
The key proposal about excessive water usage is the
subject of a row between Fine Gael and Fianna Fil.
An excessive water usage charge under the polluter pays
principle to comply with EU law
Refunds for households which have paid their bills
Domestic meters already installed to be retained and
requirement for all new builds to have meters installed
Tax/welfare benefit for those who voluntarily take up a
domestic meter
Waivers for users with high consumption who have
certified medical conditions
Tax relief for the installation of systems that reduce water
consumption
Consideration for those on group water schemes
All new buildings must incorporate water conservation
fittings
Referendum to keep Irish Water in public ownership
Establishment of a Drinking Water Inspectorate, similar to
the UK
Make the Public Water forum an advisor to the
Commission for Energy Regulation (CER)
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/coveney-
risks-general-election-by-facing-down-ff-ultimatum-on-
water-charges-35491606.html

Refunds for those who have paid their water


bills will be offset against the 100
conservation grant, Independent.ie
understands.
This means that in excess of 800,000 that received the
grant will not profit as a result of being issued with a full
refund by the State.
The news comes as a major standoff has developed
between Fine Gael and Fianna Fil at todays meeting of
the water committee.
Fianna Fil TD Barry Cowen told the committee, which sat
in private session, that his party wants charged completely
scrapped.
He said the countrys water system should be funded
through general taxation and within the parameters of the
so-called fiscal space.
Mr Cowen also said his party stands by its legal advice that
says scrapping charges is in line with the EU directive
governing water.
Significantly, Mr Cowen said he does not accept the
proposed excessive usage principle.
This was recommended by the Expert Commission that
said households should pay water bills if their usage is
above a certain point.
But Fine Gael has been left isolated as it insisted that the
recommendations from the commission should be
followed.
Fianna Fil is siding with Sinn Fin and left wing TDs -
meaning the prospect of water charges returning seem
highly unlikely.
If a compromise is not reached, the committee may end up
producing separate reports.
One will be a minority report authored by Fine Gael
deputies.
Both reports could then go to the Dil for a vote after St
Patricks Day.
At todays meeting, its understood ten members
expressed opposition to the idea of charges.
This includes the five Fianna Fil members, two Sinn Fin
members, AAA/PBP TD Paul Murphy and Independent
TDs Seamus Healy and Thomas Pringle.
Those in favour of a charging regime include the six Fine
Gael members, Labour Party TD Jan OSullivan and Green
Party senator Grace OSullivan.
Two members have not expressed a preference,
Independent TD Noel Grealish and Independent senator
Padraig O Ceidigh, who is the committee chairperson.
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/snap-election-threat-if-coveney-
does-not-accept-water-recommendations-fianna-fil-warns-35493243.html
Coveney in election
gamble as FF issues water
bill ultimatum
Ending charges would risk huge EU
fines, says FG
Kevin Doyle and Niall O'Connor
March 1 2017

Housing Minister Simon Coveney is to risk a


general election by facing down an
ultimatum from Fianna Fil over the
scrapping of water charges.
The minister believes it would be "blatantly irresponsible"
to introduce legislation to permanently end charges and
leave Ireland open to massive fines from the EU.
In a high-risk strategy, senior Fianna Fil figures said they
would be prepared for an early election rather than
support the reintroduction of a charging regime.
Fianna Fil TDs last night accused Mr Coveney of placing
the Confidence and Supply Agreement at risk.
"The Confidence and Supply Agreement is being
compromised by his actions," the party's water
spokesman, Barry Cowen, said.

Committee expected to
recommend 100m water
charges refunds to those
who have paid up
Niall O'Connor
February 28 2017
An Oireachtas committee set up to examine
the future of water charges is expected to
recommend the issuing of refunds to
households that have paid their bills to date.
Committee sources last night said there was now a
growing consensus that refunds should be issued in lieu of
the option of pursuing those who had boycotted the
charges.
Members are also leaning towards the introduction of an
excessive usage charge, which will be levelled on
households found to be wasting water.
The measure is a key recommendation in the report
produced by the expert commission on water charges.
Special provisions for those on group water schemes will
also form part of the package voted on in the Dil, sources
say.
But TDs and senators remain split on key issues, including
whether the metering programme should be continued.
With the Dil due to debate the issue of water charges next
month, the work of the committee has now entered its
most critical phase.
There is growing unease within Government that failure to
strike an agreement on the issue could precipitate a
general election.
While no measures have been agreed, various sources say
they believe the issue of refunds has emerged as one of the
least contentious issues.
The committee has now sought an option paper in relation
to how best to reimburse the one million households that
have paid their bills.
It's estimated that refunds will cost the State in the region
of 100m.
Given the Dil arithmetic, the overall fate of water charges
will depend on whether Fine Gael and Fianna Fil can
reach a "compromise", according to senior sources in both
parties.
Fine Gael remains in favour of a "modest charge" for
households and has said the recommendation by the
expert commission that the State becomes the main
customer of Irish Water, rather than the household, is
doable.
But Fianna Fil is coming under pressure to soften its
position, which has changed on several occasions already.
In its submission to the expert commission, the party
proposes the abolition of charges and the funding of the
water system through general taxation.
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/committee-expected-to-
recommend-100m-water-charges-refunds-to-those-who-have-paid-up-
35488713.html
Every citizen has a right to have access to clean water etc. But, that does
not mean that this access should not be funded by the consumer. A right
to untrammelled access to free water for all the citizenry is plain wrong.
Such a service needs to be funded by the user just as is the provision of
electricity or a passport or public transport. Charges for water usage are
logical and necessary (that they are mandated by the EU is a spurious
argument). The reason (not a small one) for which they are being
opposed is due entirely to political expediency. There is no economic
logic is dispensing with water charges.
The fact that SUCCESSIVE FFG governments siphoned it off elsewhere
is not the fault of the taxpayers. I will not pay for it twice and certainly
not to IW.
The majority of people do not want direct water charges. It has already
been established that installing meters in every house to potentially
catch a tiny minority who may waste water excessively is not
economically viable - in fact it's simply stupid. So forget about it, it is
not going to happen. If you're not willing to implement the will of the
majority of Irish Citizens on this issue, then step aside. FG will be
demolished in any upcoming election, keep pushing it Simon.
Back in 2011, under Fine Fail, it was decided in the budget to reduce the
tax relief on pensions. The savings to the exchequer were going to be
huge, over 1bn per annum. But the plan was scrapped and hardly
anyone knew about it.
The water would cost the State around the same, ie 1bn per annum,
and it took years for the majority of the general pulic to have it
overturned.

What does this say about the perception of politics in Ireland and who
really governs Ireland?
People are not fools when bin charges came in we were told its a modest
fee the polluter must pay there was waivers for the poor and old now its
a money making machine for private industry without regulation,
charge what you like only stopped by voluntary intervention from
paying for recycling. The same thing will happen with water the average
bill according to the back of the water bill will be 700 per year once all
the discounts are removed. I will vote for any party that promises to
remove this vile charge, I remember FG's promise to do away with the
USC still waiting its back to people power and Mr.Coveney is still not
listening and did not get the message after the last election I say bring it
on and get your answer.
Come on, Blueshirts, call that election and let's see how well you get on.
Since day one, the 2011 coalition worked steadfastly to restore investor
confidence, at home and internationally, to reassure members of that
community that Ireland was under new management and had reopened
for business.
Renewed confidence has attracted large injections of FDI, resulting in
thousands of new jobs, which has in turn encouraged indigenous
businesses to open, or expand. The incredibly sedative affect Noonan
in particular had on his EU counterparts inspired the confidence which
enabled him to secure the approval of the other 27 members of the EU
to allow Ireland repay the IMF segment of our bailout and refinance it at
much lower rates, with an estimated saving of 3.5 billion. While
Irelands national debt and its servicing still weigh heavily on the State,
that same confidence enables the Exchequer to fund it at 0.91% (10 year
yield) significantly lower than that being demanded of Portugal 3.91%,
Spain 1.66% and Italy 2.1%.
Tourism plays a significant role in our economy and initiatives such as
The Gathering, the reduction in the VAT rate and most recently The
Wild Atlantic Way, are widely credited with the impressive recovery in
that industry since 2013. Negativity is deeply ingrained in the Irish
psyche but after 7 years of economic stagnation, Ireland's economic
cycle has changed for the better and that gloomy outlook has become
less pervasive. Ireland stands out as one of the EU's brighter success
stories.
this reads like a FG party manifesto. Meanwhile the EU continues to
attack our Corp TAX rate and the elephant in the room, BREXIT
continues to be ignored while FG have internal squabbles about who
should lead the party. Also you conveniently forgot to address the
specifics asked.

The EU, in particular Germany & France love Ireland as we are a


subservient lot who didn't even utter a whimper when saddled with
huge bank debts. Sure you leader was even voted by a German magazine
as "European of the Year".

Keep the recovery going me arse .... people cannot rent in Dublin due to
the ridiculous rents charged and lack of suitable accommodation and we
stand to lose out on all those financial companies wishing to relocate
outside London because we cannot plan to have suitable office space,
accommodation etc. etc...!

Committee expected to
recommend 100m water
charges refunds to those
who have paid up
February 28 2017
An Oireachtas committee set up to examine
the future of water charges is expected to
recommend the issuing of refunds to
households that have paid their bills to date.
Committee sources last night said there was now a
growing consensus that refunds should be issued in lieu of
the option of pursuing those who had boycotted the
charges.
Members are also leaning towards the introduction of an
excessive usage charge, which will be levelled on
households found to be wasting water.
The measure is a key recommendation in the report
produced by the expert commission on water charges.
Special provisions for those on group water schemes will
also form part of the package voted on in the Dil, sources
say.
But TDs and senators remain split on key issues, including
whether the metering programme should be continued.
With the Dil due to debate the issue of water charges next
month, the work of the committee has now entered its
most critical phase.
There is growing unease within Government that failure to
strike an agreement on the issue could precipitate a
general election.
While no measures have been agreed, various sources say
they believe the issue of refunds has emerged as one of the
least contentious issues.
The committee has now sought an option paper in relation
to how best to reimburse the one million households that
have paid their bills.
It's estimated that refunds will cost the State in the region
of 100m.
Given the Dil arithmetic, the overall fate of water charges
will depend on whether Fine Gael and Fianna Fil can
reach a "compromise", according to senior sources in both
parties.
Fine Gael remains in favour of a "modest charge" for
households and has said the recommendation by the
expert commission that the State becomes the main
customer of Irish Water, rather than the household, is
doable.
But Fianna Fil is coming under pressure to soften its
position, which has changed on several occasions already.
In its submission to the expert commission, the party
proposes the abolition of charges and the funding of the
water system through general taxation.
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/committee-expected-to-
recommend-100m-water-charges-refunds-to-those-who-have-paid-up-
35488713.html
Fine Gael-Fianna Fil rift over water
charges may spark election
FF bid to scrap excessive use charge ruled out by Coveney
as move would be illegal.

Simon Coveney: Said he was willing to consider the option


of refunds.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fil are on a collision course over


scrapping water charges in a fresh row which has moved
the country closer to the threat of a snap general election.
Fianna Fil wants to permanently abolish water bills,
including any charge for excessive use, a move Housing
Minister Simon Coveney definitively ruled out last night.
Mr Coveney said that he would not, as an office holder,
bring in any legislation that was contrary to EU law or the
advice of the Attorney General, or exposed the country to
huge fines.
Fine Gael wants some charge to remain for excessive use
or wastage. The minister said Fianna Fil had changed its
position only in the last few days.
Any [committee] recommendation has to be consistent
with the water framework directive in our view, otherwise
we will essentially be introducing a new water regime
which would be illegal, he said.
And the European Commission have made it very clear
that they will take action and I will not do anything that
will potentially expose the State to very significant
penalties and fines. Im just not going to do that as a
minister.
The row intensified after Fianna Fil earlier in the day
revealed that it favoured refunds and an end to homes
being metered, but also opposed any future charge for
excessive use.
A system of refunds would cost over 160m, and an end
to household metering would raise questions about the
500m already spent on water meters. Mr Coveney
yesterday said he may be willing to consider the option of
refunds
Fianna Fil outlined its position to an Oireachtas
committee on water charges, and its stance means the
group could recommend to the Dil a system of refunds
but possibly also the abolishing of charges if an excessive
water levy is also ruled out.
This last point shocked Fine Gael members, with one
senior party source saying last night: If Fianna Fil
maintains its position, there will be a general election in a
few months.
Fianna Fils Barry Cowen told the Irish Examiner his party
supported refunds and did not buy the idea of an
excessive use charge.
We dont believe there is an excessive use, its leakage
that is the problem, he said.
Fianna Fil says existing legislation can be used to fine
households wasting water and general taxation can fund
services.
It is also standing by legal advice it received which claims
scrapping water bills is in line with EU rules, as Ireland
received a derogation or exemption previously.
The partys position means 10 of 20 members on the
committee now formally oppose any future water charges,
when the stance of Sinn Fin, AAA, and Independents are
included.
Those groups also oppose any more home water meters
being installed and instead want district metering, which is
used in Scotland.
Those in favour of charging include the six Fine Gael
members and one Labour TD. The position of two
Independent members and a Green TD remain unknown.
AAA-PBP member Mick Barry said the view of the
committee now signalled a victory for the Irish people
after huge protests.
What the parliament does, the street can undo, he said.
Sinn Fin TD Eoin Broin said the development was a
win for ordinary people.
Im pretty confident we have seen the end of water
charges once and for all, he said.
With Fianna Fil opposing an excessive charge, the
Government may be forced into permanently scrapping
charges. The confidence and supply deal between the
parties states they both reserve their right to adopt
differing positions on water.
It also states the Government will be the ones to pass
legislation on recommendations on charges, even if this
includes their abolition.
However, Mr Coveneys insistence that the Government
will not breach EU law means that its potentially prepared
for the first time to risk collapsing its confidence and
supply agreement. Without Fianna Fils support in the
Dil, the Government would have no choice but to call a
general election.
Mr Coveney denied he would be breaching the agreement
if he refuses to pass any legislation on charges, as the
deal did not include obliging office holders to break the
law. The minister said he wanted all sides to reach a
compromise.
The Oireachtas committee resumes deliberations today.
Fianna Fil has come under fire for its position on water
charges, in the latest Dil debate on water charges.

It is refusing to support a Sinn Fin motion calling for


water to be paid through general taxation, even though
that's its own position.

During the debate Sinn Fin's Louise O'Reilly said Fianna


Fil had "more positions than the Kama Sutra" on the
issue.
But housing minister Simon Coveney defended the expert
group on water, and said the system DID need major
investment.

"When I was a minister for agriculture it was made crystal


clear to me - in conference after conference after
conference - that one of the very few, and you can count
them on one hand, the number of countries in the world
that dont have any predicted water security issues and
Ireland is on the top of the list."

Sinn Fin President Gerry Adams TD said: Call it political


manoeuvring. Call it doublespeak. But dont call it new
politics. Its vintage Fianna Fil politics. Its all about the
party and the lust for power.

The fact is there is a necessity to scrap water charges


without delay. That is the only way the debacle of water
charges and Irish Water will be dealt with.
http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/fg-ff-rift-over-water-charges-
may-spark-election-444115.html

Taoiseach insists Government will not


support any water charge system that
breaks EU laws
02/03/2017
Update 3.15pm: Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that his
Government will not implement legislation on water charges
which is illegal, writes Daniel McConnell.
Speaking in Brussels, Mr Kenny said that it is for the
Committee to hammer out a compromise and deliver a
recommendation for the Dail to vote on.
"Clearly, you are not going to implement something that is
illegal," the Taoiseach said.
He added: "The committee has not finished its work, it was
given a paper by the chairman. I would expect them to
deliberate on that and continue their work until such time as
they bring forward their views and their recommendations to
the Oireachtas."
Asked whether Attorney General Maire Whelan could be made
available to Fianna Fail to help resolve the matter, Mr Kenny
poured cold water on the idea.

He said: "You don't make the advice of the Attorney General


available like that. I've said yesterday in the Dail, we set up a
committee to examine the recommendations of the expert
commission.
"As we said we want the discussions to continue within the
committee. When they are finished their work, they will report
to the Oireachtas," he added.
Update 11.47am: It has emerged that a small number of
households are still claiming the 100 water conservation
grant - despite it being scrapped a year ago.
The grant was paid to households in 2015 as a way of helping
to cover the cost of water bills, and subsidise water
conservation measures.

The state spent 89m covering the cost of the grants, which
were then scrapped when water charges were suspended.
However the Public Accounts Committee has been told this
morning that a small number of households are still claiming
the one-off grant, having not received it in 2015.
Seperately, a Junior Minister has said that there needs to be a
reasonable approach to water charges.
Joe McHugh said that the Oireachtas committee on water
needs to be given a chance to complete its work.

Fianna Fil and Fine Gael are at odds over the legality of
scrapping the charges.
Mr McHugh said there is an energy in Fine Gael to reach a
solution and avoid a possible election.
"There's always the potential, in the moniortity situation that
we're in," he said.
"We have a confidence and suppley [agreement] with Fianna
Fil and I'm sure people within Fianna Fil, who I speak to
privatey as well, that can find a solution to this empasse."
Earlier:
Fine Gael members have been warned that Ireland would be
hit with a daily 20,000 fine, backdated to 2009, if water
charges are scrapped, writes Elaine Loughlin, Political
Reporter.
Senator Paudie Coffey, who is a member of the water
committee, told party members that Ireland would be fined
more than 50m by the European Commission if they do not
implement water charges.

He said that the arguments in favour of scrapping water


charges put forward by Fianna Fil in recent days were legally
questionable and told his fellow Fine Gael members that the
commission had already given Ireland a grace period to
introduce these charges.
He said said that it was always going to be difficult toward the
end of negotiations around the future of water.
It was agreed that space be given to the Fine Gael team in the
committee to continue to negotiate the issues.
Housing Minister Simon Coveney also reiterated his stance
that he will not legislate on something that is illegal.
There was laughter when Mr Coffey suggested that he had got
to know members of the committee intimately during their
work on the future of water charges.
Separately measures to free up vacant properties around the
country were raised during the meeting.
Fergus ODowd told the meeting that there are currently 4,491
vacant homes in Cork City, with only 52 of these holiday
homes.

He said Irelands vacancy rates were extremely high when


compared with those of the UK.
Mr ODowd told Fine Gael members that Cork currently has a
vacancy rate of 8.1%, this compares to a vacancy rate of just
1.7% in London.
He suggested that homeowners who leave properties vacant
for more than a year should be penalised with a levy.
This motion was supported by Housing Minister Simon
Coveney.
Mr Coveney said he was already looking into the high rates of
vacant properties across the country and hoped to have a
report back on the matter in the next six to eight weeks.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny
singled out secretary Noel Rock and noted what a good job he
was doing on the minute-taking of meetings.
This again prompted some laughter.
It comes after the Dublin North-West TD faced criticism when
he publicly suggested that it was time Mr Kenny stood down
as Fine Gael leader.
http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/l
atesttaoiseach-insists-government-
will-not-support-any-water-charge-
system-that-breaks-eu-laws-
779601.html
Was it legal to guarantee privately owned banks without cabinet
approval .Or to change illegal promisary notes into national
debt.The institutions of this state are crumbling rapidly ,.The sooner
the better ,as they are nothing but festering cess pits of greed and
corruption .No reform will change that .They all need to collapse

Article 9.3 of that Directive re water gives countries flexibility in how


they deal with Water Directive ..It states "NOTHING in this Article
shall prevent the funding of particular preventive or remedial
measures in order to achieve the objectives of the Directive"
Article 9.4 is where countries can have an exemption also.
The River Basin Management Plan is a plan Ireland submits to EU
detailing how they will deal with the Directive...Our last one was
delayed for nearly 2 years.
Next one which is from 2018-2021 I thought wouldn't be drawn up
until after Committee on Future funding of water finished their
report and after Dail vote BUT Indo said RBMP was published this
week!

Ireland can use Article 9.3&Article 9.4 and stress that our
"established practice of paying for water through specific taxation
measures such as car tax and vat when legislation was introduced
to increase same after last failed attempt to introduce water
charges!
If we can fight re Apple case to EACH we can also fight re this
especially as 2/3rds TDs elected to Dail on basis of pledges to
abolish water charges...The power is supposed to be from the
people and people have spoken

What happened in 2009? Ireland had "a special exemption" in


relation to water until Alan Kelly signed it away a few years ago.
How can the EU charge a fine for water that was paid through
general taxation (an excepted means of payment) all along. So Fine
Gael are basically saying that we are being threatened to pay fines
for something we already paid for - and Fine Gael have no problem
with that
That Article 9.4 is still available in Directive re exemption from
domestic water charges.Other countries have used it.
Ireland in its River Basin Management Plan states how they will deal
with full Directive.This latest plan was delayed because of fight
against water charges.
The next River Basin Management Plan is from 2018-2021 which
they have to present to the EU.
This Water Committee on Future funding of water hasn't concluded
yet BUT I was shocked to read in the Indo few days ago that the
River Basin Management Plan 2018-2021 had been published
already...What is going on?
By the sounds of it they have already signed the paper work and are
trying to cover it up.
Ireland Set to Take Fight Over Apple Tax Bill
to EU Court But not Set to Fight Irish Water
to EU Court
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-08/ireland-set-to-
take-fight-over-apple-tax-bill-to-eu-court

Ireland to join Apple in fight against EU tax ruling


http://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-apple-
taxavoidance-ireland-idUSKCN1180WR
EXTRACT
""The advice says that member states have wide
discretion in the area and that Ireland can avail of the
"established practice" exemption in the directive.
They say that it is for Ireland to determine what
"established practice" is and add it was an established
practice not to have domestic water charges when the
water directive was adopted""

Fianna Fil
publishes advice on
banning water
charges
Updated / Thursday, 2 Mar 2017 18:10
Top social icons, these are repeated at foot of article

Main Article Image


The 33-page document opines that it is open to Ireland to ban or
suspend domestic water charges
Fianna Fil has published legal advice it received on
whether Ireland can ban water charges in a way that
is compatible with European Union laws.
The party is in favour of abolishing all charges and
believes the issue of excessive usage can be dealt
with by existing legislation that provides for fines and
imprisonment.
Fianna Fil received advice from barristers Darren
Lehane and Conleth Bradley in relation to Ireland's
EU obligations on water charges.
The 33-page document states that in their opinion it
is open to Ireland to ban or suspend domestic water
charges.
https://www.fiannafail.ie/wp-
content/uploads/2017/03/FF-Legal-Advice-Water.pdf
It states that the European Union's water framework
directive does not seek to achieve complete
harmonisation of the rules of member states
regarding water.
It also states there is no specific requirement in the
directive for cost recovery to rely on individual
consumption.
The lawyers also advise that the absence of pricing
for water service activities will not necessarily
jeopardise the directive's objectives.
The advice says that member states have wide
discretion in the area and that Ireland can avail of the
"established practice" exemption in the directive.
They say that it is for Ireland to determine what
"established practice" is and add it was an
established practice not to have domestic water
charges when the water directive was adopted.

The European Commission wrote to the independent


commission looking at water funding in November
2016.
In its letter, the commission stated "Ireland adopted
its river basin management plans in July 2010,
making a clear commitment to set up water charges
to comply with the provision on water pricing in Article
9(1) of the water framework directive.
"Ireland subsequently applied water charges. The
directive does not allow member states to revert to
any previous practice not entailing the recovery of
costs and the application of the polluter pays
principle."

https://www.fiannafail.ie/wp-
content/uploads/2017/03/FF-Legal-Advice-
Water.pdf
Fianna Fil
Re: Whether Ireland can reintroduce a statutory
prohibition on domestic water charges in a manner which
is compatible with its obligations under European Union
Law
Date: 6th April 2016
These advices address the question as to whether the
State (Ireland) can rescind a decision to implement
domestic water charges and reintroduce a statutory
prohibition on such charges in a manner which is
compatible with its obligations under European Union Law
and in particular the Water Framework Directive1
(hereafter referred to as the WFD).
On 23 October 2000, Directive 2000/60/EC of the
European Parliament and of the Council establishing a
framework for Community action in the field of water
policy was adopted. It was published in the Official Journal
of the European Communities on 22 December 20002 and
entered into force the same day3.
The WFD established a legal framework to protect and
restore clean water across Europe thereby ensuring its
long-term and sustainable use. It required Member States
to inter alia establish a programme of measures, including
economic instruments, to achieve its objectives. It did not,
however, require the harmonisation of the rules of
Member States concerning water.4
4. Article 9 of the WFD introduces the principle of cost
recovery for water services, including environmental and
resource costs, in accordance with the polluter pays
principle. Cost recovery is achieved through the prices
that the water service consumers have to pay to the
provider directly and through any tax, charge or levy that
is imposed on the service, and is borne by the consumer
directly or indirectly.5 Economic instruments are dealt with
in Article 9 of the WFD which is headed Recovery of costs
for water services.
1 Directive 2000/60/EC.
2 OJ L 327/1.
3 Article 25 of Water Framework Directive.
4 See Commission v Luxembourg C-32/05 and Commission
v Germany C-525/12
5 See Journal of Environmental Law, J Environmental Law
(2007) 19 (1): 29, 1 MARCH 2007, The Principle of Full Cost
Recovery in the EU-Water Framework DirectiveGenesis
and Content Full Cost Recovery in the EU-Water
Framework Directive, Herwig Unnerstall.
2
5. The term water services is defined in Article 2(38) as
all services which provide, for households, public
institutions or any economic activity: (a) abstraction,
impoundment, storage, treatment and distribution of
surface water or groundwater, (b) waste-water collection
and treatment facilities which subsequently discharge into
surface water.
6. Article 9(1) provides that Member States shall ensure by
2010 (a) that water- pricing policies provide adequate
incentives for users to use water resources efficiently and
(b) that the industrial, domestic and agricultural sectors
make an adequate contribution to the recovery of water
services.
7. The WFD does not define inter alia what is meant by
water pricing or adequate contribution. The European
Environment Agency, Assessment of cost recovery
through water pricing notes that prices in relation to
water services can be charged in many ways, namely
taxes, water tariffs and water charges.6
8. As a matter of law, Ireland has a wide discretion as to
the choice of form and method of implementing its
obligations under Article 9(1)7.
9. Article 9(4) of the WFD provides that a Member State
shall not be in breach of the Directive if it decides in
accordance with established practices not to apply the
principle of costs recovery for a given water-use activity,
where this does not compromise the purposes and the
achievement of the objectives of this Directive and where
the Member State reports the reasons for not fully
applying Article 9(1).
10. The WFD does not define inter alia what is meant by
established practices. Accordingly as a matter of law,
Ireland has a wide discretion as to the choice of form and
method of implementing its obligations under Article
9(4).
11. The application and interpretation of Article 9(4) (and
the nature of the derogation therein) is informed by key
principles which subtend Article 9 generally, such as:
6 See page 8, European Environment Agency,
Assessment of cost recovery through water pricing
Technical report No 16/2013
7See Procureur du Roi v Royer [1977] ICR 314,
Commission of the European Communities v Italian
Republic [C-92/79], Commission v Luxembourg C-32/05
and Commission v Germany (C-525/12).
3
(i) cost recovery is not necessarily applicable to all
activities and even where such activities could in and of
themselves - be liable to undermining the WFDs
objectives;
(ii) it does not mean that any lack of pricing of those
activities would necessarily jeopardize the attainment of
such objectives;
(iii) Partially suspended cost recovery is, in principle,
allowed and does not necessarily imply that attainment of
the objectives of the WFD have been jeopardised;
(iv) Member States have a very wide discretion/margin of
appreciation.
12. Ireland was obliged to bring into force the laws,
regulations and administrative provisions necessary to
comply with the WFD by 22 December 2003 at the latest.
It did so by means of the European Communities (Water
Policy) Regulations 2003 (S.I. No. 722 of 2003).8
13. Article 9 of the WFD is implemented into Irish law by
Article 11 of S.I. No. 722 of 2003. Article 11(2) provided
that the established practices referred to in Article 9(4)
of the Water Framework Directive included the provisions
of section 12 of the Local Government (Financial
Provisions) Act 1997 (No. 29 of 1997). Section 12
prohibited domestic water charges. This prohibition was
retained by section 105(1) of the Water Services Act
2007.9
8 Iris Oifigiil, 30 January 2004.
9 In the Report from the Commission to the European
Parliament and the Council on the Implementation by
Ireland of the Directive (2012), the Commission noted
(beginning at paragraph 12.6) as follows:
Measures related to Article 9 (water pricing policies)
A narrow approach to water services is used and defined
in Water Services Act, 2007 as all services, including the
provision of water intended for human consumption, which
provide storage, treatment or distribution of surface
water, groundwater or water supplied by a water services
authority, or waste water collection, storage, treatment or
disposal.
Ireland notified to the Commission that the Irish
authorities agree to amend national measures
implementing the Water Framework Directive in a manner
that accords with the Commission interpretation of water
services. This change in policy will be reflected in the
second-cycle river basin management plans.
Water uses include households, industry and agriculture.
4
14. It appears that domestic water charges were
previously removed in Ireland not as a legal requirement
but as a response to the then current economic and
financial crisis.10 Section 28 of the Water Services Act
2013 removed the statutory prohibition on domestic water
charges. Article 11 of S.I. No. 722 of 2003 was amended
by the European Union (Water Policy) Regulations 2014
(S.I. No. 350 of 2014) which substituted Article 11 with a
new article which contained no reference to the
established practices referred to in Article 9(4) of the
WFD.
15. As stated earlier, Article 9(4) of WFD provides that the
Member States may, subject to certain conditions, opt not
to proceed with the recovery of costs for a given water-
use activity, where this does not compromise the purposes
and the achievement of the objectives of that directive.
Thus partially suspended cost recovery is, in principle,
allowed and does not necessarily imply that attainment of
the objectives of the WFD have been jeopardised.
16. Ireland can thus suspend and/or remove the provision
of water charges for domestic households where such
action does not compromise the purposes and the
achievement of the objectives of the WFD. Ireland would
however, in accordance with Article 9(4), have to report
the reasons for not fully applying paragraph 1, second
sentence of Article 9(1), in the River Basin Management
Plan (RBMP). Relevant to the foregoing, it is noted that a
press release from the Department of Environment,
Community and Local Government dated 18th November
2015 stated, inter alia, that the Draft River Basin
Management Plans covering the period 2016 to 2021 will
be presented for
Cost recovery is actually only calculated for the industrial
and household sectors. However only industrial
contribution to cost recovery can be seen as adequate
(contribution of households is zero). Detailed guidance on
the calculation of cost recovery (including, inter alia,
capital, operation and maintenance costs) was provided to
all local authorities following the adoption of the
Governments water pricing policy. The policy applies to
each local authority and there are no exemptions. The
guidance also explicitly required that any environmental
costs and the costs of any borrowing or loans should be
included in the user charges.
It is reported that the polluter-pays-principle has been
used in the cost recovery process, but it is not explained
how it is used, or to what extent it is used for non-
household customers, who are actually exempted from
water pricing.
No charge is made for water to household users, so there
are no incentives in place to use water efficiently. For non-
household customers (business and agriculture), a charge
is made and metering is required. This policy (in respect of
domestic customers) has now changed. The Government
has decided that domestic water charges will be
introduced and that the charging system will be based on
metered consumption. A programme of domestic metering
is to commence later 2012.
The provisions of Article 9(4) on flexibility have not been
used.
Efforts for coordination of Article 9 issues have been made
between RBDs within Ireland, but no cooperation with the
UK in the International RBDs has been reported.
10 See page 9, European Environment Agency,
Assessment of cost recovery through water pricing
Technical report No 16/2013.
5
further public consultation at the end of 201611 which
suggests that such RBMPs are not finalised and are
capable of being revised/amended.
17. Moreover, it appears that the upgrading or repair of
the water services systems is not contingent upon or
necessarily connected to the recovery of costs under
Article 9(1) insofar as Article 9(3) provides that nothing in
Article 9 shall prevent the funding of particular preventive
or remedial measures in order to achieve the objectives of
the WFD.
18. In summary (and while these matters are expanded
upon in more detail in these advices) it is our opinion that
it is open to Ireland to seek to prohibit or suspend
domestic water charges on inter alia the following basis:
a. The WFD is a framework directive which does not seek
to achieve complete harmonisation of the rules of the
Member States concerning water;
b. Article 9 of the WFD does not per se impose the
generalised pricing obligation in respect of all activities
relating to water use;
c. The objectives pursued by the WFD do not necessarily
imply that the definition of water services contained in
Article 2(38)(a) of the WFD must be interpreted as
meaning that they subject all activities to which they refer
to the principle of recovery of costs contained in Article 9
of the WFD;
d. There is no specific requirement in Article 9 of the WFD
for cost recovery to rely on individual consumption;
e. The measures for the recovery of the costs of water
services are one instrument, among others available to
the Member States, for qualitative management of water
in order to achieve rational water use;
f. The absence of pricing for water service activities will
not necessarily jeopardise the attainment of the objectives
of the WFD;
g. Article 9(4) of the WFD provides that a Member State
shall not be in breach of the Directive if it decides in
accordance with established practices not to apply the
principle of costs recovery for a given water-use activity,
where this does not compromise the purposes and the
achievement of the objectives of
11 Said Press Release is available at:
http://www.environ.ie/water/water-quality/river-basin-
management- plans/public-consultation-significant-water-
management
6
this Directive and where the Member State reports the
reasons for not fully
applying Article 9(1);
h. The application of Article 9(4) is informed by certain
principles, including that
cost recovery is not necessarily applicable to all activities
and even where such activities could in and of
themselves - be liable to undermining the WFDs
objectives; it does not mean that any lack of pricing of
those activities would necessarily jeopardize the
attainment of such objectives; partially suspended cost
recovery is, in principle, allowed and does not necessarily
imply that attainment of the objectives of the WFD have
been jeopardised;
i. Member States have a very wide discretion in relation to
Article 9;
j. Ireland can avail of the established practice exemption
in Article 9(4) as (i) it is for Ireland to determine what an
established practice is and (ii) it was an established
practice not to have domestic water charges when the
Water
Directive was adopted.
II PRELIMINARY MATTERS
(i) The Type of Legal Act
19. The WFD is a directive and as such is a legal act of the
European Union. It is through legal acts that the European
institutions exercise the Unions competences.12
20. There are five different types of legal act. These are
regulations, directives, decisions, recommendations and
opinions. Regulations, directives and decisions are legally
binding. Regulations have general application, are binding
in their entirety and are directly applicable in all Member
States. Directives are binding, as to the result to be
achieved, upon each Member State to which they are
addressed, but leave to the national authorities the choice
of form and methods. Decisions are binding in their
entirety. A decision which specifies those to whom it is
addressed shall be binding only on them.
Recommendations and opinions are not legally binding.13
12 Part 6, Title 1, Chapter 2, Section 1 of the Treaty on the
Functioning of the European Union. 13 Article 288 of the
Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
7
21. The freedom that Member States enjoy in relation to
the choice of form and method in the transposition of
directives is not unlimited. In Procureur du Roi v. Royer
[1977] ICR 314, the European Court of Justice held that the
freedom left to the Member States as to the choice of form
and method does not affect their obligation to choose the
most appropriate forms and methods to ensure the
effectiveness of the directives.14 In Commission of the
European Communities v. Italian Republic [C- 92/79] the
European Court of Justice held that Member States are
obliged to ensure the full and exact application of the
provisions of any directive.15
(ii) The Competency
22. The categories and competences of the European
Union that the European institutions exercise by means of
legal acts are set out in the Treaties.16 Competences may
be exclusive or shared. When the Treaties confer on the
European Union exclusive competence in a specific area,
only the Union may legislate and adopt legally binding
acts, the Member States being able to do so only if so
empowered by the Union or for the implementation of
Union acts.17 When the Treaties confer on the Union a
competence shared with the Member States in a specified
area, the Union and the Member States may legislate and
adopt legally binding acts in that area. The Member States
shall exercise their competence to the extent that the
Union has not exercised its competence. The Member
States shall again exercise their competence to the extent
that the Union has decided to cease exercising its
competence.18
23. Article 4(2)(e) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the
European Union provides that the environment is an area
of shared competence.
24. Article 191(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the
European Union provides that Union policy on the
environment is contribute to pursuit of the objectives of
preserving, protecting and improving the quality of the
environment, in prudent and rational utilisation of natural
resources. Article 191(2) provides that it is to be based on
the precautionary principle and on the principles that
preventive action should be
14 Paragraph 75
15 Paragraph 1
16 Part 1, Title 1 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the
European Union
17 Article 2(1), Part 1, Title 1 of the Treaty on the
Functioning of the European Union 18 Article 2(2), Part 1,
Title 1 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European
Union
8
III
25.
26.
taken, environmental damage should, as a priority, be
rectified at source and that the polluter should pay.
THE EUROPEAN BACKGROUND
European Water policy and law is approximately 40 years
old. It was initially concerned with setting standards for
drinking water and limiting pollution.19
In 1988, the Frankfurt Ministerial Seminar on Water Policy
reviewed existing legislation and highlighted the need for
European action on ecological quality in Community
surface waters. In 1991, the Hague Ministerial Seminar on
Groundwater recognised the need for action to avoid long-
term deterioration of freshwater quality and quantity and
called for a programme of actions to be implemented by
the year 2000 aiming at sustainable management and
protection of freshwater resources. In 1992 and 1995, the
Council requested an action programme for groundwater
and a revision as part of an overall policy on freshwater
protection.
In 1995, the Council invited the Commission to come
forward with a proposal for a new framework directive
establishing the basic principles of sustainable water
policy in the European Union. In 1996 the Council, the
Committee of the Regions, the Economic and Social
Committee, and the European Parliament, all requested
the Commission to come forward with a proposal for a
Council Directive establishing a framework for a European
water policy. The Commission issued a proposal for a
Council Directive establishing a framework for a European
water policy in 1997.20
THE RELEVANT PROVISIONS OF THE WATER FRAMEWORK
DIRECTIVE
The WFD commences with fifty-three recitals setting out
the rationale for its adoption. They record inter alia:
IV
28.
27.
19 See generally Kramer, EU Environmental Law (Sweet &
Maxwell 8th edition 2015), chapter 7 20 [1997] OJ C184/20
9
that water is not a commercial product like any other
but, rather, a heritage which must be protected, defended
and treated as such;21
as set out in the Treaties, the Community policy on the
environment is to contribute to pursuit of the objectives of
preserving, protecting and improving the quality of the
environment, in prudent and rational utilisation of natural
resources, and to be based on the precautionary principle
and on the principles that preventive action should be
taken, environmental damage should, as a priority, be
rectified at source and that the polluter should pay;22
The use of economic instruments by Member States
may be appropriate as part of a programme of measures.
The principle of recovery of the costs of water services,
including environmental and resource costs associated
with damage or negative impact on the aquatic
environment should be taken into account in accordance
with, in particular, the polluter-pays principle. An economic
analysis of water services based on long-term forecasts of
supply and demand for water in the river basin district will
be necessary for this purpose.23
29. Article 1 sets out its purpose and scope.
The purpose of this Directive is to establish a framework
for the protection of inland surface waters, transitional
waters, coastal waters and groundwater which:
(a) prevents further deterioration and protects and
enhances the status of aquatic ecosystems and, with
regard to their water needs, terrestrial ecosystems and
wetlands directly depending on the aquatic ecosystems;
(b) promotes sustainable water use based on a long-term
protection of available water resources;
(c) aims at enhanced protection and improvement of the
aquatic environment, inter alia, through specific measures
for the progressive reduction of discharges, emissions and
losses of priority substances and the cessation or phasing-
out of
21 Recital 1. 22 Recital 11. 23 Recital 38.
10
discharges, emissions and losses of the priority hazardous
substances;
(d) ensures the progressive reduction of pollution of
groundwater
and prevents its further pollution, and
(e) contributes to mitigating the effects of floods and
droughts and
thereby contributes to:
the provision of the sufficient supply of good quality
surface water and groundwater as needed for
sustainable, balanced and equitable water use,
a significant reduction in pollution of groundwater,
the protection of territorial and marine waters, and
achieving the objectives of relevant international
agreements, including those which aim to prevent and
eliminate pollution of the marine environment, by
Community action under Article 16(3) to cease or phase
out discharges, emissions and losses of priority hazardous
substances, with the ultimate aim of achieving
concentrations in the marine environment near
background values for naturally occurring substances and
close to zero for man-made synthetic substances.
30. Article 2 sets out the relevant definitions. Article 2(38)
defines water services as follows:
...Water services means all services which provide, for
households, public institutions or any economic activity:
(a) abstraction, impoundment, storage, treatment and
distribution of surface water or groundwater,
(b) waste-water collection and treatment facilities which
subsequently discharge into surface water.
31. Article 5 requires Member States to carry out an
economic analysis of water use.
1. Each Member State shall ensure that for each river
basin district or for the portion of an international river
basin district falling within its territory:
an analysis of its characteristics, 11
a review of the impact of human activity on the status
of surface waters and on groundwater, and
an economic analysis of water use
is undertaken according t