Costs Of Scrapping Irish Water Figures Plucked Out Of Thin Air

A piece on Irish Water from Buncrana Together.

Which of the 3 people in the photograph said this? 
RPS were certainly not massaging the figures and I want to categorically refute that. In producing a final report, you produce drafts and you edit and you consult with your client, to make sure you get the right result, that is the way we produce reports. That you get a report, that the figures can stand up. We would never change fact and we would never change our opinion. We might reword, we might delete, we might sharpen up text, to edit it. We would never change fact and we would never change opinion. We make our money on our reputation to be able to provide facts and to provide opinion. I think the entire judgement is wrong.

Right to left; John Grant, Head of Asset Management, Irish Water, Elizabeth Arnett, Head of Communications, Irish Water, John Tierney, Managing Director, Irish Water.

Ever since the Irish electorate, on Feb 26, overwhelmingly rejected the Fine Gael and Labour Government there has been an onslaught from Irish Water and the media about the terrible costs the country will suffer if we scrap Irish Water. Anyone listening to the, far from objective, Irish Water costs might think that the constant reminders are designed to influence politicians while they are in deliberations about forming a government. This could be described as political manipulation? Indeed it smacks of scaremongering and the message of 'Irish Water can not be scrapped' is coming over loud and clear?

In the grand scheme of multi billions of euro and the future of our country and resources, we know that Irish Water is just a pawn in the game and will do and say anything that they are told. In this scenario we have to ask what if Irish Water have been advised by politicians and background interested parties to put into the public domain figures and a narrative so terrible that they, the politicians, will use and say " we never believed it was going to cost so much or cause so much upheaval". A political way out will be manufactured for them to wriggle out of what all along could just have been political opportunist promises.

See today's RTE News article Analysis, how much to scrap Irish Water? In RTE's article the figures or €5.5- €6.7 billion are quoted as total cost to scrap Irish Water. The article states "This sum has been agreed by Irish Water regulator". However, it did not mention who this regulator was but we can only assume that it is CER, Commission For Energy Regulator, the very same body who, last year, controversially argued with Eurostat that Irish Water should be taken off the Irish Government's books. It turned out Eurostat did not believe CER's fact and figures. See Eurostat's decision Sector Classification of Irish Water.

Fianna Fail alarmed at Irish Water secrecy.

The official running costs of Irish Water is quite hard to fathom out and most figures we get are released by Irish Water or the Government. Take for example Fianna Fail's article 'Government secrecy is preventing oversight of Irish Water' on Jan 11, 2016 where Barry Cowan, said
“It’s alarming to see the Government continuing to prevent proper oversight of Irish Water. It makes you wonder what they are trying to hide, especially considering the number of complaints against the utility is on the increase.”

Eurostat only reliable source for Irish Water costs to date

We found out on Mar 26, 2015, from Eurostat's, semi redacted, report 'Sector Classification of Irish Water' , that the government support for Irish Water is expected close to 800 million euro per year. (page 12). The report stated inpage 3"Aside from current payments, government will also to a large extent fund the massive investment programme of Irish Water, foreseen to encompass 5.5 billion euro over 8 years."

The same report, in page 2stated that the government had "calibrated its support of Irish Water at 400 million euro in operational grants in 2015 and 480 million euro in 2016.

Eurostat interestingly stated

"Irish Water's consolidation of activities of the local water authorities is achieved , firstly, by the transfer of the assets (net value €7 billion euro) of local water authorities to Irish Water. Secondly Irish Water retains all local authorities' staff in the context of 'service level agreements (SLA)...... as well as of significant 'management fees' to local authorities. The SLAs will be in place for at least 12 years (until 2025. De facto, most staff working for Irish Water is expected to remain employees of local authorities.

There is a very interesting little piece of info hidden in the report's footnotes, in page 3, it states

The article 4.1 of the Articles of association however refers to 100 million shares of 1 cent each, half being A-shares, the other half being B-shares. article 4.5 seems to allow for the consolidation of all shares held in a certificate, and to allow for limited shareholding (3 shareholders). By and large it remains unclear which entity owns the shares.

Now if Eurostat can't fathom the make up of Irish Water, who can? Maybe those elected TDs who are about to decide the future of this country might shed some light on the mysterious Irish Water entity.

So what do you make of that information?

It seems the country could save quite a bit by scrapping Irish Water and in doing so we may get value for money. Most water employees are still employed by County Councils. These vital jobs can be saved but if Irish Water have their way they will be getting rid of most of them. Even without Irish Water we can still be spending the allocated billions, not on the super quango but on improving our water infrastructure.

We have dwelt on Eurostat's facts and figures because, they reflects the true costs and value of assets of Irish Water and they show that Irish Water as it stands will remain on the Government's books for who knows how long. This would mean the taxpayers will be footing the bill.

Irish Water's facts and figures, the last gasp of a dying dynasty

Irish Water's reports on costs are what could be described as subjective, arrived at to suit a preordained end result.

This brings us to the original question at the start of the article where asked 'Which of the 3 people?' and the answer is Elizabeth Arnett, Head of Communications in Irish Water.

Listen to Ms Arnett interview below, on RTÉ Radio One’s This Week programme, 09/09/15. Journalist John Burke reported that, after five years and €2.2million in legal fees paid by Dublin City Council, the council dropped its Supreme Court appeal against a High Court judgement made by Mr Justice Liam McKechnie in 2010.

In his judgement, Judge McKechnie found RPS Consulting Engineering – which had been hired by Dublin City Council to carry out a review of Dublin’s waste policy – had altered official data and waste reports to suit Dublin City Council’s agenda.

Click image to listen to Poolbeg controversy.

Read full story and links in our article 'We Make Our Money On Our Reputation'

What is interesting about the story is the fact that all three, present, Irish Water's top management, Gerry Grant, Elizabeth Arnett and John Tierney held managerial positions in RPS Consulting Engineering and Dublin City Council. Gerry Grantand Elizabeth Arnettboth held top jobs in RPS during the Poolbeg controversy. John Tierney was Dublin City Council's Manager during the Poolbeg controversy.

Liam Deegan in Fair Society, Aug 09, 2015 said of John Tierney:

Until now John Tierney has blatantly refused to appear before the Oireachtas Environment Committee on the grounds that there is an on going EU probe into the cost of the Poolbeg incinerator debacle in which taxpayers were hijacked for €108 million Euro.

Incidentally, Philip Ryan, Irish Independent, 02/03/2016 in the article Irish Water to replace John Tierney with and Insider informed us that the insider is none other than Gerry Grant.

Oh what a web of intrigues is Irish Water, what fanciful facts and figures have sprung from what seems a very close knit fraternity.

Last Word

And the last word goes to Fianna Fail's Darragh O'Brien, TD for Dublin Fingal. He said in Fianna Fail's web page,, "Irish Water needs to be turned off ".

The responsibility for our future lies with the opposition, Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein, AAA/PBP, Social Democrats, Independent Alliance, and the various Independents. Lets see and hear how they will live up to their election promises especially abolishing Irish Water and Water Charges, what the majority of the electorate have voted for.

1 comment:

  1. The link for the RTE Poolbeg programme is (highly recommended)!rii=b9_20826921_72_09-08-2015_