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Water ownership...It hasn't gone away you know.

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  • 20-11-2018 5:59pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭


    Govt to consider referendum on public ownership of water services
    The Cabinet has given its approval for Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy to contact the Attorney General about holding a referendum regarding the State affording constitutional protection to the supply of water services.

    It is believed the aim of any text would be to retain public ownership over any body charged with responsibility for the supply of water services.

    The initial step would be for the Attorney General, Séamus Woulfe, to draft amendments to a number Private Members Bills, including one published by Independents4Change TD Joan Collins two years ago.

    It is not yet clear when a referendum could be held as that depends, in the first instance, on when the Attorney General returns with any proposals.

    Ms Collins has cautiously welcomed the decision, saying at least Mr Murphy was finally "doing something".
    https://www.rte.ie/news/2018/1120/1012197-water-referendum/

    Such a move should serve to allay fears of privatisation. The question is is it calling FG's bluff? Will it get smooth sailing?

    No better man than Eoghan to roll up his sleeves..and, well roll up his sleeves.


«13456720

Comments

  • Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 28,792 Mod ✭✭✭✭oscarBravo


    I'll be voting against. Not because I have strong feelings about privatisation of water - despite all the hysteria, I'm pretty sure it has never been on the cards - but because we have enough noise in our Constitution already, and this is an issue that very much has no place in it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,272 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    oscarBravo wrote: »
    I'll be voting against. Not because I have strong feelings about privatisation of water - despite all the hysteria, I'm pretty sure it has never been on the cards - but because we have enough noise in our Constitution already, and this is an issue that very much has no place in it.


    100% agree, it would be a nonsense amendment that could well lead to unintended consequences. Depending on the wording, the government could be able to take ownership over private wells and private schemes without even compensation, let alone agreement.

    In my opinion, you would have to be paranoid about the future direction of water services to support such an amendment.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,492 ✭✭✭Sir Oxman


    Most definitely has a place in the constitution - I'll be yes (dependent if they don't balls the wording)


  • Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 28,792 Mod ✭✭✭✭oscarBravo


    Sir Oxman wrote: »
    Most definitely has a place in the constitution...

    Why? Why water, and not roads, or railways, or the power grid, or air traffic control, or RTE, or Ervia, or Dublin Port, or anything else that's in public ownership?

    Should all of those things be written into the Constitution, or just the populist issue that the most recent hissy fit made about it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,226 ✭✭✭emo72


    If we could trust politicians it wouldn't need to be put in the Constitution. But we don't. So it does.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,359 ✭✭✭micosoft


    Why not the ESB? Unlike Irish Water it's actually worth something and sell-able...

    This is the worst kind of gombeen tomfoolery designing to appeal to the simplest of voters.

    I will vote against. Happy to vote for water charges...


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,976 ✭✭✭spaceHopper


    So will a farmer be able to drill a well.

    The sooner Irish Water is scrapped the better.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,593 ✭✭✭Wheeliebin30


    Such a move should serve to allay fears of privatisation. The question is is it calling FG's bluff? Will it get smooth sailing?

    No better man than Eoghan to roll up his sleeves..and, well roll up his sleeves.

    Oh look another thread and dig at FG.

    You have issues Matt big issues.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    micosoft wrote: »
    Why not the ESB? Unlike Irish Water it's actually worth something and sell-able...

    This is the worst kind of gombeen tomfoolery designing to appeal to the simplest of voters.

    I will vote against. Happy to vote for water charges...

    Worked out great for communications, (eircom/broadband) and Rubbish collection/charges didn't it?
    If you want short sighted gombeenism look at the sell/privatise everything ideology.
    Since 2013, water services have been the responsibility of Irish Water, but are delivered by around 3,500 staff in local authorities under 31 Service Level Agreements (SLAs) which are due to continue until 2025.

    However, last year the Government announced its intention to create a single water utility by 2021 - four years before the SLAs are due to expire.

    This could require local authority personnel to transfer to Irish Water - something set to be resisted by unions.
    https://www.rte.ie/news/2018/1120/1012213-unions-water/

    Looks like we do need clarity in some shape.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    Oh look another thread and dig at FG.

    You have issues Matt big issues.

    I'd be more concerned about why you seem to feel personally slighted and feel the need to barrel on in even though you've no comment on topic.
    I have very big issues with the Fine Gael and Fianna Fail government. Also Eoghan is quite literally named in the article and referenced for being a do nothing.

    You jumped the gun. You're supposed to wait until they do something wrong by action or in-action, then someone posts on it and then you can fly in to the rescue.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,165 ✭✭✭Captain Obvious


    Idiotic addition to the constitution and completely unnecessary. Vote in a government who won't privatise it. Simple as.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    Idiotic addition to the constitution and completely unnecessary. Vote in a government who won't privatise it. Simple as.

    I'd agree if we could trust a FF/FG government. Also neither party is known for sticking rigidly to pre-election promises.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,866 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    oscarBravo wrote: »
    Why? Why water, and not roads, or railways, or the power grid, or air traffic control, or RTE, or Ervia, or Dublin Port, or anything else that's in public ownership?

    Should all of those things be written into the Constitution, or just the populist issue that the most recent hissy fit made about it?

    That's deliberately obtuse, but then you knew that.

    Each of those entities you cite have a range of different state and semi-state ownership and governance models. They also have a whole range of lesser or greater importance to the daily life of citizens.

    No individual citizen or lobby group sought to turn public water supply into a political football. It came about by a combination or bad crisis management and appalling political nous by our elected representatives and the permanent civil service. Following that, It is no surprise that there is agitation to protect through the Constitution the vital public health issue of a robust public water supply for the future, if only so it is never again used to threaten or blackmail the people.

    If this is a purely populist issue as you say, ask yourself why.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,226 ✭✭✭emo72


    if we could trust them. but you know, they have a habit of going to dinner with millionaire entrepreneurs. and sometimes they forget to tell us about it. until forced to admit it. ministers eh? yet some people would try to label us paranoid for not trusting them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,915 ✭✭✭PeadarCo


    Larbre34 wrote:
    No individual citizen or lobby group sought to turn public water supply into a political football. It came about by a combination or bad crisis management and appalling political nous by our elected representatives and the permanent civil service. Following that, It is no surprise that there is agitation to protect through the Constitution the vital public health issue of a robust public water supply for the future, if only so it is never again used to threaten or blackmail the people.

    The best way to protect the water supply would be to implement water charges. Give Irish water its own revenue stream to reduce the impact of capital expenditure cuts during recession. It would also take it off balance sheet which would free up money to save or spend on other government services.

    Who would want to buy Irish water in its current state. The water infrastructure requires billions to get right.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,948 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12


    I'd be very wary of putting something like this in the constitution.

    Why bother doing something like this unless they plan to introduce water charges again?
    I don't have a problem paying a reasonable amount for metered water myself but I can't see any reason for putting it in the constitution unless charges are coming back. Very little chance of them privatisation without water charges


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    PeadarCo wrote: »
    The best way to protect the water supply would be to implement water charges. Give Irish water its own revenue stream to reduce the impact of capital expenditure cuts during recession. It would also take it off balance sheet which would free up money to save or spend on other government services.

    Who would want to buy Irish water in its current state. The water infrastructure requires billions to get right.

    While investment in water infrastructure would help protect the quality of water supply it may or may not protect the water supply itself as regards ownership. The paying of charges aside, once it became monetised it's open to abuse. The very first thing the state did was the Siteserv deal with Denis O'Brien, which I believe is still under investigation and then the awarding of the metering contract. That battle was lost by all sides.

    There is a hell of a lot of private money to be made in a resource such as water. More so as the years roll on. They actually bottle it and sell it in shops don't you know and the CEO of Nestle, who buy up water rights world round, said water isn't a right, as he buys up access to nationally owned lakes in Canada and the like.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,226 ✭✭✭emo72


    add 50 euro per annum onto the property tax for 10 years. upgrade the network for the next 100 years. administration costs zero. all money would have went to overhauling the system. but you know, nobody can make profits that way.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,272 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    Larbre34 wrote: »
    That's deliberately obtuse, but then you knew that.

    Each of those entities you cite have a range of different state and semi-state ownership and governance models. They also have a whole range of lesser or greater importance to the daily life of citizens.

    No individual citizen or lobby group sought to turn public water supply into a political football. It came about by a combination or bad crisis management and appalling political nous by our elected representatives and the permanent civil service. Following that, It is no surprise that there is agitation to protect through the Constitution the vital public health issue of a robust public water supply for the future, if only so it is never again used to threaten or blackmail the people.

    If this is a purely populist issue as you say, ask yourself why.



    "Agitation to protect through the Constitution....."?

    Should every Constitutional amendment follow a populist or mob rule route even if it is a completely nonsensical idea?


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,866 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    PeadarCo wrote: »
    The best way to protect the water supply would be to implement water charges. Give Irish water its own revenue stream to reduce the impact of capital expenditure cuts during recession. It would also take it off balance sheet which would free up money to save or spend on other government services.

    Who would want to buy Irish water in its current state. The water infrastructure requires billions to get right.

    The problem with that is, nobody can trust the Government to implement an efficient charging regime after the last debacle. It was costing more to administer the system of charges than the initial charges were raising, which meant those charges were only going to go one way.

    The reality is, we dont need the bloated and convoluted entity that is Irish Water to improve national water infrastructure, there were a selection of state bodies already capable of that.

    Constitutional protection of the water supply means it will never be considered as a bankable asset and potential piece of the family silver to be floated off again, pardon the pun.


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  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 39,070 Mod ✭✭✭✭Seth Brundle


    emo72 wrote: »
    add 50 euro per annum onto the property tax for 10 years. upgrade the network for the next 100 years. administration costs zero. all money would have went to overhauling the system. but you know, nobody can make profits that way.
    Firstly, how will that encourage efficiency compared to regular water chargws baswd on consumption?
    Secondly, under your plan only home owners woukd have to pay. Tenants, businesses and other users wouldn't have to pay. How do you find that fair?


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,272 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    When this came up before, I asked some of those who were jumping up and down loudest clamouring for a Constitutional amendment to propose a form of wording.

    One of two of them had a go. Not a single idea was workable.

    It hasn't moved on from there. I haven't seen a single workable proposal on this issue. It reminds me of Brexit.

    If you could leave the EU and negotiate your own trade treaties while keeping the benefits of EU membership, wouldn't that be great? Oh yeah, said the masses, while the ones at the back who said, eh, that would never work were ridiculed.

    Well, if you could put an amendment into the Constitution that said water wouldn't be privatised, wouldn't that be great? Oh yeah, said the masses, while the ones at the back who said, eh, that would never work were ridiculed.

    Until I see an actual workable proposal, this is as stupid an idea as there is.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,272 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    Larbre34 wrote: »
    The problem with that is, nobody can trust the Government to implement an efficient charging regime after the last debacle. It was costing more to administer the system of charges than the initial charges were raising, which meant those charges were only going to go one way.

    The reality is, we dont need the bloated and convoluted entity that is Irish Water to improve national water infrastructure, there were a selection of state bodies already capable of that.

    Constitutional protection of the water supply means it will never be considered as a bankable asset and potential piece of the family silver to be floated off again, pardon the pun.


    In what way is the last paragraph of your post connected to the previous two posts?

    A single utility versus multiple providers has nothing to do with a constitutional amendment. Ditto any charging regime.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,226 ✭✭✭emo72


    Firstly, how will that encourage efficiency compared to regular water chargws baswd on consumption?
    Secondly, under your plan only home owners woukd have to pay. Tenants, businesses and other users wouldn't have to pay. How do you find that fair?

    we are already efficient. theres stats to prove that. been shown in the last trillion threads about IW. whoever is responsible for the property tax will pay it. they can pass it on to sitting tenants if they like, or pay it themselves. revenue dont care they get their money. they're very good at that. business already pays through councils.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,866 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    blanch152 wrote: »
    In what way is the last paragraph of your post connected to the previous two posts?

    A single utility versus multiple providers has nothing to do with a constitutional amendment. Ditto any charging regime.

    I'm not talking about water utility providers, I'm talking about the engineering challenge of updating the infrastructure.

    However a constitutional amendment does have plenty to do with a charging regime, it makes it far less attractive to any potential private investment interests who would seek to exploit it for profit, if the public service obligation conditions that could never be changed make it unlikely that there would be big money in it for them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,787 ✭✭✭✭listermint


    There will be literal wars fought over water. Anyone that thinks there would not be a serious push for privatisation and sell offs really needs to examine the direction the world is going .

    Climate change , lengthy droughts

    Time is to be a bit more serious about this.

    Comparing water to roads is disingenuous to say the least.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,272 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    listermint wrote: »
    There will be literal wars fought over water. Anyone that thinks there would not be a serious push for privatisation and sell offs really needs to examine the direction the world is going .

    Climate change , lengthy droughts

    Time is to be a bit more serious about this.

    Comparing water to roads is disingenuous to say the least.

    You have made a very good case for charging for water.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,787 ✭✭✭✭listermint


    blanch152 wrote: »
    You have made a very good case for charging for water.

    Or made a very good case for making it permanently non sellable as an entity.

    Something that your strongly against under the guise that charging for it would make it unsellable......


    Weird..


  • Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 28,792 Mod ✭✭✭✭oscarBravo


    Larbre34 wrote: »
    That's deliberately obtuse, but then you knew that.
    No, it's not. I disagree with you; that doesn't make me wrong.
    Each of those entities you cite have a range of different state and semi-state ownership and governance models. They also have a whole range of lesser or greater importance to the daily life of citizens.
    True. The electricity grid has an order of magnitude more importance to me than the public water supply.

    Nobody, to my knowledge, has every proposed a constitutional amendment to prevent privatisation of the electricity grid. Nobody has explained to me why it's a matter of utter indifference to them if the electricity grid is privatised.
    If this is a purely populist issue as you say, ask yourself why.
    Because nobody is talking about polluting the Constitution with rubbish protecting any other vital utilities. That says to me that it's not the importance of the issue itself that's making it current, but the fact that it's a populist issue.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    This is interesting:
    The amendments to be drafted on foot of Tuesday’s anticipated Government decision would change the emphasis to the State having ownership of the entity responsible for water and waste water services as opposed to owning water resources, infrastructure or the public water system.
    The move comes because of “critical flaws” identified by Attorney General Séamus Woulfe in Ms Collins’s initial Bill, including the risk that it would prevent Irish Water from entering into public-private partnerships, as well as other concerns.

    The memo says advice from the Attorney General outlined that the flaws in Ms Collins’s Bill would be less likely to arise if the emphasis was changed to the “entity supplying the public water service rather than the public water system”.
    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/cabinet-set-to-approve-water-supply-referendum-outline-1.3703483

    It seems to say that Irish Water the company would not be privatised but neglects to cover water, the alternative being a 'critical flaw'?
    I can see no room for inappropriate behaviour here...

    And folk wonder why some don't trust these people.


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