What now for Irish Water following the election?

What now for Irish Water following the election?

It’s hard to believe it has been a week already since we went to the polls.

Since then much of the debate has centred on how the next Government will be formed. Will it be an historic coalition between Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil or will there be a minority government in place when the Dáil resumes next week?

No matter what happens expect water charges to continue to dominate the headlines when the 32nd Dáil convenes at Leinster House for the first time next Thursday.

The future of Irish Water has been up in the air for some time but has certainly gathered pace in the last few days.

There are suggestions that a new Government could scrap or park the controversial charges with reports as recently as today suggesting that “thousands” were cancelling payments until the matter was resolved.

With many more households having yet to pay at any point since the charges were introduced last year, it all doesn’t bode well for Irish Water.

On the flip side, there has been speculation that it could cost up to €7 billion to dissolve the utility and that doesn’t seem like something that is feasible at present. After all, even the most optimistic pre-election estimates of what the country would have to spend in the next five years settled on around €10 billion.

If the €7 billion cost is true, or at least there or thereabouts, dissolving Irish Water would mean little or no investment in services between now and 2021.

Of course, by people not paying bills it is already a real drain on the country’s finances.

One way or another the matter needs to be resolved sooner rather than later.

A compromise may well be the best solution.

It is no harm that there is now one body to oversee our water and sewerage needs but the execution of Irish Water has been a PR disaster.

The flat bills mean that one of its major initial aims, at promoting conservation, is irrelevant and it is clear that even so early in its lifespan that the utility needs reform.

As much as the bulk of the population would like to see Irish Water eradicated, it is unlikely to happen. The 166 TDs who descend on Leinster House next week cannot ignore the anger of the electorate though.

As things stand there is no real incentive for people to pay the next bill, never mind any outstanding ones.

Change is needed and something has to be done sooner rather than later.

Let us know your thoughts on the matter:

  • Are you willing to pay the next Irish Water bill that comes your way?
  • Are you up to date with payments as it is?
  • Should Irish Water be scrapped?
  • What can the new Government do as a best possible solution?
There are 11 comments for this article
  1. Richard O’Halloran at 1:08 pm

    This debate is really a microcosm of the national debate. Water has to be paid for but if direct water charges via Irish Water are not going to be accepted by a sizeable minority then those of us who have paid will have to be recompensed. So I suggest a stay on Irish Water charges and a refund via a reduction in LPT or USC charges for those law abiding citizens who did pay. If those who did not pay get away with it, the sizeable majority who did pay will cause more grief for the incoming government than the water charges protestor did for the previous administration.

  2. Pingback: What now for Irish Water following the election? | Rosalie Rodney
  3. susan cunningham at 12:14 am

    I am definitely not going to pay the next Irish Water bill given that I am the idiot who has payments made to date. What a fiasco. All law abiding citizens should be refunded and I don’t care if the millions paid has been spent the Government can get it from some where else. How can Irish Water be scrapped now if it’s going to cost billions to dismantle. Politicians are nothing but self serving and clueless.

  4. Jacob (@kosogun) at 11:16 pm

    I don’t mind paying for water and I paid all the bill todate, but the next one I am not going to pay. These politicians are using uss as pawn.
    FF initially, proposed the charges at a higher price. They are now promising abolition. Who are they fooling?
    FG/LAB handed the utility to vultures who are willing to suck the blood out of us to pay themselves bonuses. They therefore deserve what they get at the poll.

  5. Stephen at 6:28 pm

    Is it 166 TD’s or 158 TD’s? Dissolving Irish Water at a cost €7 billion is blatant propaganda by Politicians, the Media and Business Interests (Fiscal Space and other nonsense has been added to this equation). If we cannot trust our local representatives to formulate a water policy? Then surely we can have no confidence in local democracy. Why is that some of the electorate believe the Private Sector is more intelligent than the Public Sector when it comes to operating a utility such as Water? Private companies(both National and International) have presided over many business disasters, for example, The Banks, Dell, Waterford Crystal and Priory Hall.

  6. Peadar MacMillan at 5:59 pm

    The important point seems to be missed. Keep or get rid of Irish water – whichever you want – so long as we do not have to pay water charges – CONSTITUTIONALLY – that’s the point. I and all my family voted – but we have scant regard for politicians in general – they keep mucking up this country and drive wedges in all over the place. Had one of them had the guts to stand up to the ECB/IMF we would be in a better condition. Instead they bullied the ” Coping Classes ” and are sucking the life out of us.The election was like watching the Muppet Show. The Coping Classes are not paying for water twice – they don’t seem to be getting it in to their heads.
    We need a just Taoiseach with guts – shake the monkeys constantly ruining this little country out of the trees and start slapping them in prison if they have broken the law
    Peadar MacMillan.

  7. Jose Ospina at 4:43 pm

    Water has been mismanaged grossly by Local Authorities for the last 50 years or more, As as result there are still many areas with a third world water supply, black water polluting rivers, pipework leaking gallons of water into rivers and the sea, decimating biodiversity. The EU has asked Ireland to meet standards of water management and as part of that required that water be charged and that a professional body be made responsible for it. Dismantling Irish water would be a step backwards, ensuring there is no new investment in improvement of water systems for a long time. The joke is that the parties asking for abolition of Irish Water and the Water Charges are quite happy to argue that we go on paying another tax that is around 10 times higher for persons on average incomes – the Universal Social Charge, Wake up Ireland!

  8. DecL at 3:53 pm

    People are sick of public service inefficiency. Politicians seem to be incapable of managing the spending of departments and quangos like Irish Water. The tax burden needs to be spread. Everyone should pay something. Services are better appreciated then. Just look at doctors’ surgeries full of under 6s already.

  9. Sheila at 3:42 pm

    I agree with Rita, I dont mind paying for a service if i am receiving a service. But instead they want us to pay for something that is ruining everything in my house ie all my appliances and plumbing etc. I was told to google hard water when i explained what the water in my house was like and i am already paying for a salt filter and a cloth filter. If they want me to pay for a service they should be fixing the water at source and not every idividual should be having to fix it.

  10. Rita at 3:21 pm

    I am sick of the debate about Irish Water. The Government only set this organisation up to sell it to the private sector in 5 or 10 years time. I have paid all my bills from Irish Water except the current one and I don’t know if I will pay this one. I am sick paying through general taxation, vat, motor tax and Irish Water direct for a poor water supply of poor quality. There are more tax euros being diverted to this organisation that I care to think about. Would just like to have a service we are paying for instead of paying for services we never get.

    • Patrick at 3:44 pm

      Hello Rita. I’m sick and tired listening to politicians going on and on about Water Charges and other trivia. The babble going on between FF and FG is infuriating. Time to move away from Civil War politics and realise that Ireland its now a different place. To the two biggest parties I say: Govern the Country and stop behaving like a bunch of squabbling ‘high babies’. If it transpires that we are forced into another election FG/FF/Lab will be obliterated. As things stand it looks as if we’re heading for a DANA “All Kinds of Everything” Government.

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