November 20, 2014

Government will keep extending deadlines for water charges - eventually it'll bottle it

Posted in Irish Independent · 74 comments ·
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There’s a better chance of Roy Keane being named ‘Evertonian of the Year’ than of you paying water charges next year. Pardon the pun, but this Government will bottle it. It will simply back down and hope the whole thing goes away.

Once the deadline for the first payment has been extended, as it will be today, it will be extended again and again. In the end, the problem of charging for water in Ireland will be handed over to whoever wins the next election.

The reason for this is that the Irish Water disaster is killing the Government. In two weeks’ time, there are likely to be more than 100,000 people on the streets. The polls reveal that this issue is hammering the Government. The economy is turning yet the Government’s popularity is going down.

The issue is incompetence.

Once you lose the reputation for competence, what else is there? There’s no ideology, no big idea, no fairness agenda. We have a coalition government and the very act of going into coalition dispenses with charades of ideology. Every coalition government compromises on tricky, inconvenient pre-election “core values” and gets on with the job of competence.

If it fails on this score, what else is there? If it also doesn’t understand that the people are stretched to the limit with taxes and charges, it risks failure politically.

Finally, if there is a whiff of cronyism – such as a well-paid but not particularly well-qualified board, overseeing expense overruns that are, in part, attributable to bonuses intended to be paid out without merit – then what do you expect people to think?

‘Jobs for the boys’ is what we think of when we hear Irish Water.

The incredible thing is that all this needn’t have happened.

What should have been a fairly simple process of moving from one income-based water charge to another income-based water charge, with a nice little bit of 21st century meter-based conservationism thrown in, has been handled so badly that the entire credibility of the Government is going down the tubes.

The fiasco has been totally unnecessary. We already pay for water out of our taxes. Most of us understand that to get clean water into our taps and into our sinks, someone has to pay for it. We also understand the Government’s original argument that the water infrastructure is ancient and needs upgrading. Such investment doesn’t come for free.

The idea that the more water you use, the more you should pay makes sense to the vast majority of people. One last thing to get our heads around is this small item of accounting jiggery-pokery that was actually the root of the reason for setting up Irish Water.

The State wanted to take the borrowing it would have to make to upgrade the water system off the balance sheet, so that the national debt didn’t go up. This was a trick to allow the State to “pretend” it wasn’t borrowing the money. A new entity, Irish Water, was borrowing. The borrowing would be paid back out of the water charges.

This package seemed to be a saleable notion, even to a population that has suffered from austerity.

But it was a population that probably could swallow paying for water but not the excessive salaries of the consultants, lawyers and others who appeared to be the first snouts in the bonus trough.

The people then questioned, why all the start-up costs? When we already had a water system operated by the corporations and councils? Then cronyism and the lack of costs controls – precisely because it was public money – became overwhelming.

Finally, there was the sense that this company would be fattened up with ordinary people’s taxes only to be sold off to rich people via privatisation – after all, wasn’t this part of the Troika’s original script?

Within weeks, a marginal movement – which asked legitimate questions about fairness, cost and who would ultimately benefit – morphed into a mainstream movement with the very survival of the Government at stake.

This shambles seems to be associated particularly with the Taoiseach. No amount of al-fresco, back-slapping US executives can erase the incompetence.

Competence is something we all demand in everyday life. You employ the guy who can do the job. This guy inspires confidence. You know he isn’t going to mess up. Once you are confident, he has your trust.

In fact, you trust him so much that if something goes wrong on the job, you believe him when he blames the weather or something implausible. Once you trust someone or something, you then have that other essential condition, which is ‘peace of mind’.

You are assured, and by being assured you rest easy, safe in the knowledge that you are in good hands and everything will be okay. Governments too need competence, because competence is power.

Once you lose that, the perception of it, the mystic of it; everything else goes.

This is how governments fall apart. Pushing through unpopular measures in the second half of the administration is not an election-winning strategy. Napoleon once said that “to govern is to choose”. The Government has to make a choice and my money is on it choosing to scrap water taxes altogether – at least until after the next election. Even if paying for water makes economic and environmental sense, Irish Water is beyond toxic and any politician that stays near it will be so contaminated as to be unelectable.

 


  1. woodsey

    Nice summary of what’s actually happening! Well done, David!

    • Its an ‘Original’ ……..never faked …..and often copied ( by others) .

      • Jack ONeill

        sigh no more,ladies,sigh no more…

        By god then Mr.Allen,plagiarism is the word you are searching for,i’d say? I just now luuked it up.

        Never done in awe,or admiration of another’s creative works.Nope.Rather,it’s always a hollow attempt and appeal to popularity,,,,a despicable streak that merely serves one’s ego and selfish agenda.Excusing my alliteration,but(and i can only speak for myself hi),this copy-cat behaviour beggars belief and beyond intelligibility…a sorry shtate of affairs!

        I’m confident that i can speak for many here,in saying we very much look forward to reading our very own, resident historian savant’s, epic offering;)

        I’d love to be a ‘fly on the wall’,mar a deir siad, watching the history professors faces as they read your roller-coaster of revelations.lol

        I truly hope you are on a winner(!)

        ..unlike Del Boy (speaking of fakers)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63rcdLeXiU8

  2. What jokes do you have in a shower ?

    Clean Jokes ……unless you use Irish Water

  3. michaelcoughlan

    “Finally, there was the sense that this company would be fattened up with ordinary people’s taxes only to be sold off to rich people via privatisation – after all, wasn’t this part of the Troika’s original script?”

    Looks like you finally got yourself a copy of John Perkin’s Superlative work “Confessions of an economic hitman”.

    All these extra charges should be called by their proper name;

    Banker charges.

    Michael.

  4. Con Burke

    David, I think also Gardai treatment of protesters has had a major impact on the growth of this movement. The frequent video footage being released of mostly peaceful protesters being man-handled by Gardai using force far exceeding what is necessary, has angered a lot of thepeople. Gardai have essentially been acting has enforcers for the government, and not protectors of the people. This aspect has also contributed to the mobilisation of many to join movement.

  5. Mike Lucey

    The worm has turned!

    I think its worth considering why has this happened only now. My take is that the ordinary man and woman on the street fully understood what the con job was. Now if only they would figure out for themselves the ins and outs of the ‘Bailout’ con job maybe we would see Ireland regaining some of its confidence via people power and in turn a fairer country.

    BTW, there looks to be one ‘politician’ that did well out of all this. Mr Phil Hogan is still sneering at the Irish people, now from Brussels!

  6. Original-Ed

    David

    Excellent! You’ve really got a handle on this one.

    It was the race to the trough that pissed off all thinking people.

    These guys act like preditors and can only function in a coercive monopoly.
    By the powers invested in me and all that!

  7. EugeneN

    The other thing that went on here is, of course, that the sectors of society who were protected during the bust – the Pensioners, the perennial social welfare recipients, the defaulting house owner – were for the first time targeted here. The cost of this charge is tiny – compared to Dublin’s rental increases it’s less than one month increase in rent from 2013-2014.

    And its far less than the hit taken by higher income earners in their *monthly* wage packets for the last few years. If this charge were a tax, an income tax, and therefore “progressive” ( where taxing workers at 33k+ at the highest rates in the world is “progressive”) it would have died a damp squib. But it threatened the protected classes and they went barking crazy.

  8. Adelaide

    And they have added insult to injury by their hooty-tooty intention to legislate for landlords to deduct unpaid water charges from tenants’ deposits. They’ve created a whole slew of new enemies, both tenants and landlords/ladies. The hole gets bigger and bigger.

    ps I can’t see how they can kick payment deadlines beyond the next election in mid 1916, it’s too far away.

    ps ps The Irish people should be commended for their restraint and good humour in the face of gardai unrestraint and snobbish disdain from their aloof politicians and RTE propaganda.

    • Adelaide

      If the coalition scrap Irish Water they are doomed and if they stick with it they are doomed. They’ve put too much skin in the game, as the Anglo bankers once said.
      But most if not all of the top familiar-face politicians are retiring anyway come next election so maybe they don’t care anyway. That was the sole reason Labour went into power, their old fags wanted to taste power at least once before retiring.

      • Adelaide

        I would finally add that this has morphed into a hush-hush class warfare, the Insiders vs Outsiders has now been laid bare, what is scaring the establishment is the involvement of the unpredictable outsiders who don’t follow their prescribed script. If the outsiders succeed on this issue, then maybe they’ll continue on to other issues and who knows where it’ll end, or the momentum may peter out. Interesting times ahead.

  9. coldblow

    This is a good article.

    I just read the Trichet letter. It doesn’t go beyond insisting on ‘strucutural reforms’ among other things but even at only a sympbolic level it is significant. They would hardly, after all, commit any details to paper, even if the letter was ‘secret’, and it would have been much the same thing if it had been written by the Council of Ministers acting as messenger boys for Germany/ECB.

    As a wheeze to get the borrowing off the balance sheet it is obvious, now that you say it. However as a means towards privatisation and a toll-booth economy where you pay from everything from the roads to life’s vital necessities, on top of your other direct tax and VAT, it seems to be an obvious step. I really don’t know: are our government told to do this, or do they just do what they think their masters want them to do? I strongly suspect the former. The Water Directive is EU policy, something past Irish govts. batted away. In whose interest is it?

    I can’t see how our economy, and the world’s, can recover if income is eroded like this.

    Ideology. The fact that it is a coalition government does not mean that it is not ideological, it’s just that all parties broadly agree on what that ideology is so it is unstated and almost invisible. Even Creighton’s proposed new party is loyally European.(Similarly in Britain the ideological battle lines are drawn between the main parties and UKIP.) What does Pro-Europeanism really mean? It is just a misleading cliche like President O’Bama and the Arab Spring of just a few years ago. It is no more than: This is the way things are done, now shut up and sit down.

    Cronyism. David is right about that. The political and media class appear to have no loyalty except to each other (and their political masters in Europe).

    Incompetence. Richard Toll on Irisheconomy a couple of years ago asked why it had to be done in the most expensive manner possible. Why is everything done the same way?

    Of course all these factors are related. Our governments are incompetent because they don’t care about the people who vote for them, so what is the incentive to do a thorough job? And why not give the boys a few jobs?

    There is another factor: Intellectual. You get the sense that in countries like Sweden, Switzerland and Iceland that they are able think these issues through for themselves. Why was the NCT introduced? It was what our neighbours were doing. If you ask someone they will say something like, ‘It improves road safety’. But where is the ‘holistic’ thinking, why exactly does A lead to B? We follow the trend, and yesterday’s one at that. And then you have Eoghan Harris who says it is just a political problem due to bad PR. I wonder if David is falling into this trap, that competence is judged by the ability to shove a policy through or pull of a PR stunt.

    Remember David’s Paddy Last, the property developer?

    ‘And the medal goes to Paddy Last!’ I could hear the village roar.
    Now I’m first at last I cried, I was always behind before!

    Finally, I don’t accept that water should be paid for according to the amount you use. If half of it is lost in leaks that’s not the end of the world. There are always aome who will use as little as possible if they can save a couple of euro, so that leaves more for the rest to pay for. And then if you take out those who are exempted then that is more again and you are watching the tap every hour of the day. All this expensive outlay will have to be paid for one way or another by the consumer. The consevation argument is not the central issue. “Water is an precious resource”: yes it is if you charge enough for it.

  10. CorkRob

    The major problem for Middle Ireland supporting this “Anti-Charge” movement is that it has been hijacked by the Shinners and Socialist wanabees like Paul Murphy and other anarchists and anti-establishment movements.
    Middle Ireland does not seem to have a problem paying their “Fair” share of the costs associated with providing reliable, safe and clean water. As EugeneN says above, just look at the sectors who are shouting the most – those who haven’t lost a penny over the last 7 years.
    Nobody likes paying extra taxes, no matter what Class or side of the social divide they come from. But we NEED to find cash to invest in our water infrastructure, both delivery and treatment.
    When a water main bursts in Tallaght and Dublin County Council don’t have the budget to fix it, will Paul Murphy et al have a solution for the affected households?

    The Mob has been mobilised by some sinister background figures and movements and if they succeed in having this charge abolished, what next? What if they refuse to pay the Property Tax, or Car tax, or Income Tax, Car Insurance….where does it stop ?

    When death threats, bomb threats, personal threats and assaults become part of a movement, it’s time to stand firm and punish the culprits and instigators. Giving in to them is a recipe for disaster.

    When a hotel in Cork gives in to the baying mob and cancels a booking by a democratic political party, it fuels the mobs feeling of invincibility and promotes a ratchheting-up of tension and further threats.
    It’s time for law abiding Middle Ireland to stand up to the bullying mob and challenge their behaviour.
    PS I’m a Social Welfare recipient, but pay my fair share.

    • Adelaide

      This is a comedic spoof comment, I assume?

    • Mike Lucey

      “What next?”, that a good question. Maybe an anti-Public Service Broadcasting Charge which was due in January but now looks to be shelved …… I wonder why?

      There was €219 million collected in license fee income last year and RTÉ received €182.

      The Government’s offered rationale for switching from a television license fee to a universal household-based charge is that a small but growing percentage of people now exclusively view the RTÉ content on laptops, tablets and smart-phones, avoiding the need for ownership of a traditional television which by law requires a license. On the face of it, it sounds reasonable as RTE costs money to run.

      I’m old enough to remember when RTE launched and everyone I knew outside of the Dublin area was glad to pay the license fee as there was no alternative means of watching TV.

      I now have Sky and pay each month for the selection of channels that interest me. RTE 1, 2 and TG4 are bulked in to my package for free however I still have to pay for a TV license.

      A simple and very fair solution would be to view RTE channels (if one wants to) via the cable and sat delivery systems on a subscription basis. RTE would then have to stand on its own feet and deliver what people are willing to pay for.

      The current cost of a TV license is €160! Isn’t that a coincidence, the same amount as the proposed new water charge. Maybe this new water charge was arrived at after looking at what 85% of Irish people are willing to pay for a TV license.

      And when the TV issue is sorted out maybe the ESB should be looked at as we have the second largest rates in Europe that are 40% above the European average. From what I can determine the average household electricity bill is €1,200. A 40% saving would be €480.

      I wonder if their average payroll costs per employee of around €104,000 could have anything to do with the high cost of electricity?

      So between having the option to subscribe or not to the RTE service and getting electricity costs to where they should be the average household would save in the region of €640.

      Maybe then we could consider paying a reasonable price for a good water system whereby we (Irish citizens) would be regarded as owners of Irish Water not customers as they (Irish Water) currently refer to us as.

    • easun55

      What an out of touch miss informed knee jerk comment of what you have read and heard via indo or rte …

      You have obviously gone nowhere near an anti water charge protest/march other wise you would see it is an organic movement of people all pushing for the same thing abolishment of water charges plus a fair contingent marching for charges but prioritising conservation.

      In reference to sf and Paul Murphy if it was just the left like SF and PM the government would have nothing to worry about but its not, to use your phraseology “middle Ireland” what ever that means has finally woken up to see that this is a play for our most natural and valuable of resources.

      Remember PM and SF are democratically elected so the over enthusiasm shown at some protests is prescribed by there electorate.

      And in other areas AAA SF and other leftists are turning up to town hall meetings uninvited trying to jump on the bandwagon.

      The people of Ireland realise this has nothing to do with left right or any of the ism’s or ist’s .
      It about a governments incompetence and the protection of a resource rather than protection of fraudster and money men .

      @cork rob if you don’t get that who cares because hundreds of thou do .

      “What if they refuse to pay the Property Tax, or Car tax, or Income Tax “….Baahahahhha

      “bomb threats, personal threats and assaults become part of a movement”
      I take it you have seen evidence of this or are you going to take alan kellys word for it because remember this auld chestnut “frankfurts way or labours way “

      Finally the real loosers in this mess are without a doubt members of an garda siochana.

      They have displayed utter contempt for the Irish people and exercised extreme violence when it was nowhere necessary ,they are the aggressors in most instances .

      They have turned a corner for the worst and lost all respect.

      SAD because Governments come and go

    • paddythepig

      Fully agree CorkRob.

  11. silverbullet

    This Government, using their current mouthpiece Alan Kelly, has forgotten to mention the current offer in an “Introductory offer”.

    We paid for water through general taxation, are being asked to pay “Water charges”, but will not see a refund in motor tax and VAT when the proposed water charges would be introduced.

    Alan Kelly has done what he has always done, Kicked the scam down the road!

    I will be protesting on both the 6th and the 10th dressed as a PIG, depicting the 4,000+ currently with their SNOUTS in the TROUGH. hope to see you all there.

  12. “How long will the EU last?
    Eventually, perhaps 15 years down the track, Europe will collapse under the weight of its own corruption, bureaucracy, and regulations. There will be so few productive businesses that even at 100% tax rates we will not be able to support the massive, corrupt and wasteful government. ” (written 2005 )
    “Fifty years ago our greatest threat might have been violence or mugging. Now the greatest threat to our economic well being, our way of life, our freedom and the very existence of our nation, is our own government.”
    “What do we want?
    After the repeal of the EU treaties we want a change to our British Constitution so politicians can never hijack our nation again. Every Parliamentary Bill, after its Second Reading, should come down to us, the people, to vote yes or no as to whether the Queen should give it Royal Assent. This will take power away from our destructive politicians and return it to the people, where it belongs. (They do this in Switzerland – they, not us, are the most democratic nation on earth.) We can then return to being a peaceable, just, honest, prosperous and fully democratic society where everyone’s rights, no matter how high or low are respected, and the disadvantaged properly looked after. And where neither governments, corporations nor individuals have obscene wealth and power.
    David Noakes 07974 437 097 ; drjnoakes@yahoo.co.uk
    Campaign to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and get clean out.

  13. cont…

    “What can you do to help?
    1. Find out when your local MP holds their surgery and attend with a printout of this, and the one page summary of the EU constitution below. Ask that MP to cross the floor to be the leader of the first Anti EU Parliamentary Party (representing 65% of our nation). The publicity would be stunning, and might force an in/out vote.
    2. Make appointments with your local journalists, give them the same two print outs and ask them to write about the truth about the EU.
    3. Do you know anyone famous? Persuade them in the same way to join our cause and get the truth known.
    4. Print little stickers: “We didn’t vote for this – it has no mandate,” and stick them on everything that represents the police state and rip off government.
    5. Tell your Town, District and County councillors they are about to be abolished. See below.
    6. Do anything you can to get the truth about the EU published.
    Or print and hand out this tentruths flier (a pdf file), or tentruths (as a word document). Its just one side of A4 paper.”
    It is past time to pull the plug on the politics of world dominion.
    Vote and advocate for local governance and a constitution of direct democracy.
    http://chrisspivey.org/the-truth-about-the-eu/

  14. joe hack

    “The truth is out: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling in it
    The Bank of England’s dose of honesty throws the theoretical basis for austerity out the window”

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/18/truth-money-iou-bank-of-england-austerity

    • StephenKenny

      I can’t remember when I last read a more stupid article. Very British.

    • This writer offers speculation and no journalism.
      Here a bell weather story to be investigated and the subject is glossed over and made a nonsense.
      Real investigative journalists asking hard questions in pursuit of the truth are non existent. No exceptions.

      What is worse is that anyone approaching the mainstream media with facts, documented and proven, are denied a hearing or not allowed access to the press. The media are complicit with the banks and politicians in continuing to obfuscate the truth. Stalin’s communism would be proud and Goebbels is laughing in hell!!

  15. Tull McAdoo

    I am not convinced that this whole water debacle is anything more than what Bertie The Ditherer called “smokes and daggers”, that is, as it is seen from the official Ireland and those who purport to run it.

    I am sure that the boffins in the Dept. of Finance and there extended family across the boardrooms of Ireland must have thought that this water debacle would be a useful exercise to convince their fellow boffins in the EU that Ireland was on script in terms of policy, conservation, green, blah de blah.

    Of course, the Irish solution to an Irish problem bullshit that we have become accustomed to over the decades (since independence) was structured to provide a handy bail out for the dead wood propping up the various county councils across the country. I am sure that some of the “staff” being transferred might have even imagined that they would at long last justify some of the salaries they have being drawing down since they were “pulled” into office by their various party hack affiliations.

    Ireland is being robbed blind by a bunch of thieving traitors through NAMA, public sector contracts, privatisation of public utilities, bank bailouts, contracts in the HSE, etc. etc.

    Jesus Christ almighty people the list just gets longer by the day and all the while we have a bunch of second rate blue shirt fascists hell bent on an austerity agenda aligned with another bunch of democratic centrists / gombeen Stalinists who are hell bent on moving greater control to the centre where the afore mention thieving traitors are rubbing their greasy paws in anticipation…… Tull wept….

    Maybe the insiders are borrowing from the lyrics of John legend “my heads under water, but I’m breathing fine”.
    So on that note take I away John legend and Goodnight Ireland. Sleep well.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=450p7goxZqg

  16. “Stamm: “I tell them if you can, put your governments and your national (central) banks under pressure to change the (monetary) policies back to (being) gold-oriented (sound money). But I realize that outside of Switzerland the possibility for an average person to put influence on their government or the national (central) bank is very small. So in that sense the Swiss system is fantastic because we can force the political elite to change policies by saying ‘Yes’ on this public vote.”

    http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/KWN_DailyWeb/Entries/2014/11/20_Swiss_Gold_Initiative_Leader_Banned_From_Televised_Debate.html

    Our fascist governments and controlled press issue propaganda notices and not noteworthy news.

  17. Tape WORM

    Recently removed from a man’s brain after living there for 4 years has is medical name as :

    Erin acEIeuropaEI sounds like an Irish name .Did it originate from Irish Water ?

    http://news.sky.com/story/1377510/tapeworm-lives-in-mans-brain-for-four-years

  18. Deco

    The latest comments from Ming, indicate that state incompetence is the source of widespread dissatisfaction.

    https://twitter.com/lukeming

    Apart from that we have wider issues.

    Several government ministers have no clue what they are doing and are relying on “prepared statements” as a response to every event that arises.

    We have many “effectively ineffective” ministers.

    Minister Fitzgerald, in Justice. No clue.
    Minister Noonan, in Finance. No clue.
    Tanaiste Joan “phone” Burton. No clue.
    Minister Howlin in “public reform” – has ensured that there has been no reform of the institutional state. Zero. He is actually trying to do the opposite of what he official is supposed to be doing.

    Enda Kenny only provides two interviews per annum. They are on Pravda/RTE, and the interviews consist of Kenny repeating prepared answers, for agreed questions. Effectively ineffective.

    • DB4545

      Deco are you serious?You were expecting Inda to be effective? Which of these scenarios is worse?
      A. Elected as Taoiseach of this Republic you allow yourself to be bitch slapped by a french midget.
      B. Elected as a french midget you read the body language of a fellow prime minister and realise he hasn’t got the balls he was born with and feel free to bitch slap him.

      • Yeah that was horrendous. I would have beaten Sarkozy into next week at that meeting had he tried that with me.

        At least Cameron had the balls that day to tell them all where to go. I don’t agree with most of what he says or does but at least he’s a man.

        Can you imagine Miliband as Prime Minister of the UK? What a pathetic reprsentative of the male species.

  19. Deco

    The Irish Labour Party grudgingly enduring Ming Flanagan asking questions about the head of Irish Water and his track record in public roles.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JwRDTXRS8Q&

    Note : McCarthy (ILP) shows contempt for Ming Flanagan, and respect for the head honcho of the super quango that is out ot control.

  20. Deco

    Thank you, David, for an honest assessment.

    Once again, we have multiple BS interpretations flying around in the Irish media, that usually amount to opportunism. And none of them will tackle the issue of the Irish state and it’s incompetence, because so many of them are queuing up for a “cut of the pie”.

    Thank you for simply stating it as it really is.

    • Mike Lucey

      @Deco

      The expression “cut of the pie” would appear to sum up nicely what is happening when it comes to some senior politicians and big business.

      The USA political system appears to me to be rotten to the core with politicians jumping between big business and government.

      Is this happening in Ireland? I think it might seem so after reading about, ‘Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen appointed to board of Topaz’ http://www.independent.ie/business/former-taoiseach-brian-cowen-appointed-to-board-of-topaz-30239366.html

      The interesting bit of the article reads,

      ‘It is the first major appointment for the former leader since he resigned as leader of Fianna Fail in January 2011 ahead of the general elections.

      Businessman Denis O’Brien will also sit at the helm of the energy group, which is the largest service station operator and convenience retailer in the country.

      The company employs 1,700 people at 330 sites nationwide.

      Topaz was taken over by Mr O’Brien in December, after he bought the loans from IBRC. He is also the largest shareholder in Independent News & Media (INM) which owns the Irish Independent.’

      I’m beginning to wonder how easy (or not) a time DOB had when buying the loans. I don’t remember seeing any local Topaz service stations being up for sale to the general public!

      • michaelcoughlan

        Hello Mike,

        This post of yours is the best post by far and away on this blog for a looooooooooooooonnnnnnnnngg
        long time.

        Like a Nazi officer turned undertaker (promoted as an officer in the army to destroy everyone and then re employed after the war as an undertaker to tell families where the corpses are buried) Cowen’s job will be to help O’Brien unleash havoc on the workers and communities a second time out .

        As it so happens the turn over rate of staff in Topaz is shocking beyond belief. They recently hired a top retailing operations expert from the UK who came over and who was so aghast at what O’Brien is doing he lasted 12 weeks and went back to the UK.

        O’Brien is looking for 16% return on capital which is what I call capital extraction basically you bleed the company to death like a virus and walk away from the mess which is what these guys did to Ireland initially and now they are back to finish the country off.

        O’Brien was trained by the same individual as Michael O’Leary; Tony Ryan of Ryanair and like O’Leary is just another fucking accountant running amok. The fundamental technique they use is externalising the losses;

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_externalizing

        From the link above; “Fundamentally, cost externalization occurs when a company TRANSFERS SOME OF ITS MORAL RESPONSIBILITES AS COSTS TO THE COMMUNITY DIRECTLY or as degradation to the environment”

        Denis used this technique to save himself 70m in capital gains taxes when he sold his stake in ESAT for 350m. He took advantage of an obscure Portuguese tax law which stated that if you owned shares in a technology company for at least 2 years prior to sale you didn’t have to pay capital gains. O’Brien transferred his tax residency to Portugal before he sold his stake and save himself the tax. But what he did was externalise his own potential loss of 70m in cgt to the rest of the 2.8m taxpayers who live in Ireland.

        But Mike it is way more twisted than that.

        O’Brien has appointed THE MOST FAILED DEVELOPER OF ALL; BERNARD McNAMARA to redevelop Canada House in Dublin;

        Just to recap regarding McNamara. McNamara was the developer who gave the 450m for the glass bottle site in Dublin subsequently sold for 50m, McNamara was the guy who gave 120m in Limerick for the site for the opera house subsequently sold to the council for about 18m, McNamara was the guy who gave Fergal Quinn a colossal sum of money for his retailing empire for the properties in them way over their true value, McNamara was the guy involved in a 3 way consortium to build the M7 between Nenagh and Limerick where the road collapsed into the bog before it was opened and where they lost so much money that the sub contractors and suppliers never got paid not that that was ever their intention meaning the mayor of limerick refused to open the road, when McNamara was on his bankruptcy holiday in the UK he set up McNamara Arabian consulting in the middle east and it fell in a heap in the desert. McNamara was known in the industry as the subbie buster. He grew his business by bankrupting his suppliers and sub contractors.

        These people are treasonable in truest sense of the word. If you go back to McWilliams’s superb bull trap graph of a number of months ago the appointment of these guys and for example Johnny Ronan buying out his loans at par recently is in my view a signal for the top end of the curve and the real wealth destruction process will soon be unleashed on all of us.

        Sincerely,

        Michael.

      • Deco

        DOB appointed former PD minister Liz O’Donnell as a director in his Radio Empire – which incidentally held an oligopolistic position in the media sector at the time. Did the PDs ask questions about the power of DOB in the media ? Nope. Not a whisper. Nothing.

        Cowen is not fit to run a milk van. Even when he was sober.

        No serious businessman would appoint either O’Donnell or Cowen to positions of responsibility.

  21. http://directdemocracyireland.ie/ireland-exempt-water-charging-government/

    “Please read the letter by former MEP Kathy Sinnott in today’s Irish Times, which will highlight why there is absolutely no demand upon Ireland from the EU to charge for domestic water supply. Ireland is protected from the EU water framework directive regarding domestic charging by an exemption agreed in 2000, something they have remained very quiet about. More importantly, the only way that exemption can be overturned is if Ireland itself gives it up. This is why Fine Gael and Labour are running this water propaganda campaign.”

  22. “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell

    Quayle continues: “We are in a time of universal deceit. From the godfather of newsletter writers, Richard Russell, to billionaire Eric Sprott and others, all of them say they’ve never seen it like this.

    “The same people who are manipulating the gold and silver markets, the same people who have destroyed the middle class in the United States, own all the mainstream media news organizations. That’s why the truth about what is happening is concealed from the public. So, again, to keep it simple — there is no gold to repatriate.””

    http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/KWN_DailyWeb/Entries/2014/11/21_China_%26_Russia_To_Accuse_U.S._Of_Not_Having_The_Gold.html

    • cont….

      People will be bought off, and if necessary, people will be eliminated. These guys are not beyond killing people. I’m not talking about the Swiss government — I’m talking about the criminal syndicate of international bankers. We just had another international banker murdered in what is now a very long list of deceased bankers. They will do whatever they have to in order to prevent this initiative from being approved.” To learn more about Steve Quayle you can visit his site by CLICKING HERE.

  23. AS THE ‘SANCTIONS WAR’ HEATS UP,
    WILL PUTIN PLAY HIS ‘GOLD CARD’?

    http://www.atomcapital.co.uk/wp-content/files_mf/1416418354AR_1114.pdf

    • Gold is totally and utterly irrelevant Tony.

    • Special hot off the press just for Adam

      http://www.gold-eagle.com/article/grandmaster-putins-golden-trap

      “The Western economic establishment can see and understand the essence of the situation. Leading Western economists are certainly aware of the severity of the predicament and hopelessness of the situation the Western world finds itself in, in Putin’s economic gold trap. After all, since the Bretton Woods agreements, we all know the Golden rule: “Who has more gold sets the rules.” But everyone in the West is silent about it. Silent because no one knows now how to get out of this situation.”

      David is very silent on this too. Water will not put out this fire!!!!

      • cont…

        “If you explain to the Western public all the details of the looming economic disaster, the public will ask the supporters of a petrodollar world the most horrific questions, which will sound like this:

        - How long will the West be able to buy oil and gas from Russia in exchange for physical gold?
        -And what will happen to the US petrodollar after the West runs out of physical gold to pay for Russian oil, gas and uranium, as well as to pay for Chinese goods?

        No one in the west today can answer these seemingly simple questions.

        And this is called “Checkmate”, ladies and gentlemen. The game is over.”

  24. Julia

    Very interesting article David as always. I haven’t commented in a long time and it’s good to see the forum is as lively as ever.

    Did it strike anyone that the Govt desire to keep the cost of Irish Water ‘off balance sheet’ is exactly the same accounting technique that Anglo was using with Irish Nationwide in 2008. and we all know how successful that was.

    • Deco

      This government is a firm believer of the “magic money tree”. And the maddest adherents are the Irish Labour Party.

      Simply put, this government wants to borrow money, to buy a feel good factor before the next election. There is a slush fund of approximately 3 Billion being built up to buy back the TD seats of FG and the LP.

      The off balance sheet accounting, and the dodgy accounting techniques are now part of the EU norm.

  25. coldblow

    Let’s take the NCT example again. In the past the Gardaí (I suppose) would have checked tyres and lights.

    One could understand why there ‘might’ be a need for a more systematic approach towards ensuring cars are in a safe condition, but even this is arguable. I don’t recall at the time of the NCT’s introduction any clear link between it and road safety. For sure, you would hear people talking about ‘wrecks of cars’ being driven around the place but this struck me more like embarrassment if anyone from outside were to see it.

    So what do they do, but construct this elaborate network of centres where you have to bring your car every year (unless you are lucky enough to have a new one). Then they have to justify the expense (very considerable not doubt) of this, so they will no longer be content to check your brakes, lights and tyres. They will be checking emissions, seat belts, and whatever else. You have taken leave from work to attend, or negotiated an hour or two unofficially. You have made a mental calculus in your mind as to whether to get things fixed or take a chance, as fixing can be very expensive for certain non-essential things.

    Will they check the boot lock? Will they fail you for a missing petrol flap. Perhaps, perhaps not, who knows, they probably don’t and it will depend on a flick of a coin. Will they fail the back wiper (which you have never used) or should you take it off, or will they notice that and fail it anyway? There has been a big investment, they have to do their job professionally, the bureaucrats have to show something for all the time and money. What will the press make of it if they don’t check all this highly important stuff, won’t we be the laughing stock of Europe? Don’t we want the highest road safety standards in the known world? What incentive is there to put a limit to what this is all about? Isn’t it fair that everyone should be treated equally (and anyone who has the temerity to take a couple of bob to wave through someone’s car that’s all right if you ‘take a view’ severely punished)? If everyone’s car passed then there would obviously be something wrong with the system, perhaps something corrupt or may just inefficient, or incompetent, or ‘an Irish solution to an Irish problem’. Haven’t we grown up from this, aren’t we adults now?

    So ‘intellectually’ what is this all about? How does this improve people’s lives.

    Now, the parallels with the water charge are obvious. Why didn’t they just spend a fraction of the money spent on Irish Water to employ a few builders to go round the country and mend a few leaks?

  26. michaelcoughlan

    Hi David I know I am off topic buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuttttt;

    Evedince of shrink flation;

    I just noticed theyve started having the Quality street “tin” for Xmas and I have a bet to see how much its dropped to this year

    and the result 780 G

    Its funny how the manufacturers think people wont notice its getting smaller each year

    its a concealed inflation they just give you less for the same price normally £5

    it started about 7 yrs ago

    they use to always be 1KG then 950g to 900g and chnage to plastic from metal then to 880g and 850g last yr

    i though 800g but they went to 780g so basically 25% less in 5 yrs

    http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2011989

  27. Shane F

    Yes Georg, Infuriating and great video.

    Paying those speculative parasitic bond holders was many orders of magnitude worse than the water charge issue,

    Yet, theres actually more passion in the water charges debate. Maybe people are finally waking up and slowly getting more politically and economically aware after the years of austerity.

    Eddie Hobbs was right. Schools need to teach kids about the creation of debt /money and how capitalism should work.

    • DB4545

      Eddie Hobbs isn’t saying too much these days about investing in Cape Verde. Some of our kids have found out exactly how capitalism works and are building lives for themselves in London, Sydney,New York and elsewhere. They just realised that we don’t have capitalism in Ireland we have crony capitalism to steal the wealth of working people and corporate communism to hand over State assets to the cronies.

  28. Mike Lucey

    This week I was talking to a friend that works as a building manager in the local county council. His views on the Irish Water were that each county council should simply have charged a €100 to each household and got on with fixing the leaks and required upgrades.

    He though most folks would begrudgingly stump up the €100 as they would still maintain control over the council via their elected county councilors. I’m inclined to agree with what he says.

    Centralization is not good for democracy, it suits political parties and particularly large parties that stand a good chance of getting into government but not the ordinary man and woman in the street.

    It will be interesting to see the formation of the next Dail particularly the number of Independents that now appear to be getting some results.

  29. coldblow

    “The idea that the more water you use the more you should pay, makes sense to the vast majority of people.”

    I don’t think this is true in Ireland at the moment though it may well be in countries where the charge is already in operation and it is now seen as normal. It is true that you can convince most people of the truth of statements of this nature, at least for a while. You could probably convince them of the same statement if you substituted ‘health care’ for ‘water’, perhaps for a short while, perhaps for ever. You could probably do it with a whole lot of things, provided you put enough advertising into it.

    The idea that children should not be allowed inside pubs (any pubs, including hotel bars) probably also makes sense to the majority of people. The idea that you cannot buy beer or wine after 10pm in the supermarket or in the morning probably also makes sense to the vast majority of people. The idea that babies can be aborted up to ‘x’ weeks but that this is a crime at ‘x plus 1′ weeks probably also makes sense to the vast majority of people. The idea that houses should be subjected to property tax but not land probably makes sense to the vast majority of people. The idea that the sale of drugs is a heinous crime but that it is a harmless lifestyle choice for consumers probably makes sense to the vast majority of people. The idea that a child is better off living with his mother rather than his father in almost all circumstances probably makes sense too.

  30. Mike Lucey

    We have learned from RTE news today that, ‘Bord Gáis underestimated cost of water meters by €100m’ http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/1123/661882-bord-gais-underestimate-cost-of-water-metres/

    The actual budget figure was €431,563,251. The figure now being mentioned is €539,000,000, thats a difference of €107,436,749. In the RTE news item above they later mention €107 million but even that figure is out by nearly half a million (€436,736). Ah shure whats a half million here or there or for that matter €7 million here or there when it comes to the hard pressed Irish public stumping up!

    What the hell is going on with Borrd Gáis? Maybe they were too busy thinking up a nice name for the new semi-state milking machine. The new name, Ervia, seemingly a mix of “Éire” and “via” or Irish Life. Are they taking the piss?

    A 24.9% overrun on a budget is outrageous and IMO further evidence of total incompetence by Government, Ervia and the high price consultants employed. The hole gets deeper by the day!

  31. StephenKenny

    Just as we did with the financial services sector, it’s instructive to play the game of ‘follow the money’ with the private water companies:

    - The are private, limited, corporations, who’s goal is to maximize their return for investors, so they will maximise income and minimise costs.
    - They are monopolies.
    - It is generally understood that ‘fate’ (rainfall) is responsible for the provision of their product.
    - Given these three features, the business model for a water company is as follows:

    1. Run down water storage, thus cutting costs and reducing supply.
    2. Actively ignore leakage – i.e. get the PR value of looking busy for the cameras, without actually doing anything. This will cut costs and reduce supply.
    3. As clean water becomes seen as a scare resource, offer a ‘not for drinking’ water supply, to enable people to not waste ‘precious’ clean water. This water is much cheaper to supply than clean water.
    4. Reduce clean water supply to the point that few can afford to ‘have it on tap’. Sell drinking water only in bottles.
    5. Encourage the introduction of all and any laws that encourage restrictions on usage, and therefore enhances the idea of ‘scarcity’ of water. This will include licences, ecological taxes, usage maters, and so on.

    A rational business model could go in almost no other direction.

  32. Mike Lucey

    @Stephen

    I couldn’t agree more with what you say. This is more reason not to allow a monopoly situation to take control of Ireland’s water.

  33. [...] this government: everyone knows that this will fall flat on its face, just like the debacle over water charges. I don’t know, sometimes I just despair of this crowd of wasters. They are truly unfit to [...]

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