Over the last weekend Irish Water has shown absolute contempt for the people of Clonmel, residents and businesses alike.
It clearly has no regard for nor is it in any way accountable to the people of the town.
Its actions, or rather lack of action, on two serious water outages in the town, on a festival weekend, proves once again that it is not fit for purpose and should be abolished.
The conduct of Irish Water over the last weekend in Clonmel is not just a matter of incompetence or mismanagement but it is the result of a deliberate policy to refuse to deal with water outages at weekends.
Irish Water must be abolished and control of water services must be returned to Local Authorities.
But in the interim, because what happened last weekend could happen again tomorrow, Irish Water must be forced to delegate to a designated County Council/Official/Engineer responsibility, for responding to water situations on their own initiative.
Currently, County Council staff are simply sub-contractors to Irish Water and cannot respond to water disruption until instructed to do so by Irish Water.
The conduct of Irish Water over the last weekend was disgraceful, outrageous, unacceptable and any other such adjective one could care to mention.
The water outage in the town centre was entirely predictable once the weather alert was issued.
The Poulnagunogue supply, a pristine supply, always needed to be managed carefully and that is why Clonmel Borough Council had a dedicated caretaker in place to control, monitor and maintain that supply.
The caretaker had the back-up of Council staff for preventative maintenance and emergency situations. That all changed when Irish Water took over.
The dedicated caretaker was dispensed with, preventative maintenance stopped and Irish Water refuses to call out Council staff for emergencies at weekends.
Irish Water refused to call out Council staff last Saturday and Sunday (weekend) but the staff were called out on Monday. This is exactly what happened last weekend resulting in town centre chaos on a festival weekend.
A second very serious water outage occurred on Sunday last, affecting the area of Clonmel North of the bypass.
I notified Irish water of the situation on Sunday morning advising that this was a separate problem from the town centre issue, that this area was supplied from boreholes at Monroe and that the problem was likely to be as a result of pump malfunction or failure.
Irish Water did nothing about this and allowed the water system to drain down completely leaving this whole area, thousands of houses, without water.
But for the action of County Council staff the pumphouse malfunction would not have been fixed until well into Monday. Even with that residents of the area were without water on Sunday and Monday and some didn’t have a full supply until Tuesday.
This situation cannot be allowed happen again.
Irish Water must be abolished and control of water services must be returned to County Councils.
Seam Healy T.D.
Tel 087 2802199
Fianna Fáil Cave in on Water Charges Assisted by Labour and the Greens—Water Charges Can Now Be Phased back in to Operation over Time, Probably After the Next General Election!
Fianna Fáil yesterday voted against several amendments to the recommendations on water charges which Fianna Fáil, itself, proposed last week.
On all key row-back amendments, the Labour Party, the Greens and Noel Grealish (IND) voted with FF and Fine Gael at the Committee
Then the Labour Party and the Greens, hard-line supporters of charging for water generally, cynically voted against the final report
Seamus Healy TD, Thomas Pringle TD, Sinn Fein and Solidarity voted against all FF U-turns and against the final report.
However, it is important to recognise that gains won by anti-water charge campaigners are retained. There will be no immediate return to general water charges. Those who didn’t pay will not be pursued and those who did pay will receive refunds. The metering of additional existing and unrefurbished dwellings remains halted. The anti-water charges campaign has also achieved an increased allowance for those on group schemes.
The recommendation that a referendum be held to change the constitution to prevent privatisation of water services, also, remains.
However the U-turn amendments make domestic water a tradeable commodity under EU Law. Payment for excessive use to Irish Water Ltd. commodifies water. This facilitates the phasing back in of water charges over time. Government can reduce the free allowance thus making increasing amounts of water chargeable. This may also be used to prevent the holding of the anti-privatisation referendum or to change the wording as new private suppliers of water are entitled to enter the market under EU Competition Law. This was facilitated by FF agreeing with FG that the abolition of Irish Water LTD. Would be outside the terms of reference of the Oireachtas Committee
In addition, FF have also conceded that metering of new builds and refurbishments will continue in a further U-turn
Fianna Fáil has proven again that it cannot be trusted.
We will campaign with the same vigour against these U-turns as we campaigned for the gains already achieved.
We Already Pay For Water. We will not pay a second time.
Fine Gael, the Endapendents, Labour, the Greens, and indeed Fianna Fáil must not be allowed to restore water charges. They will also attempt to increase PAYE and VAT to make us pay for water a second time. We are already paying for water services through existing general taxation. But the money has been diverted to other purposes including tax concessions to the very rich.
We are already paying by law. After the humiliation of Fine Gael, Labour and Workers Party candidates by anti-water charges campaigner Joe Higgins in the 1996 bye-election, Brendan Howlin from the then FG-Lab-WP government abolished water charges and transferred the cost on to motor tax and other existing duties and fees in the 1997 Act.
There is no technical difficulty in retrieving this money for water services by imposing additional taxes on the massive incomes and financial assets Irish super-rich. But Fine Gael and the Endapendents, Fianna Fáil, Labour and the Greens steadfastly refuse to tax this huge wealth.
The shares and bank deposits of the Irish super-rich are now worth 35 Billion Euro more than at peak boom level in 2006 and 70 billion above “bust” level in 2008. These huge gains are due to the sacrifices and the hardship endured by the blameless majority. When all wealth is considered, the richest 300 Irish People have total assets of 100.03 Billion Euro, a gain of 12 billion in the past year according to the Sunday Independent. That is an average of 333 million each.
It is time the super-rich gave back something. I will be advocating in the Dáil that significant taxes be imposed on these assets to pay for improved public services
There must be no increase in taxation such as PAYE, VAT or Motor Tax etc to make us pay for water a second time.
I will also be advocating at the legislative stage in the Dáil that Irish Water Ltd be abolished and its functions returned to local authorities and the Department of the Environment.
We must remain organised in the Right2Water Campaign. Fine Gael and the Endapendents, Fianna Fáil, Labour, and the Greens are hell bent on using water charges and additional taxation to soak the citizens generally in order to protect the massive incomes and assets of the Irish Super-Rich.
Let us continue to resist this agenda!
Bí Ullamh! Ní Neart Go Cur Le Chéile !
Seamus Healy T.D. 12/4/2017
Tel 087 2802199
From Seamus Healy TD 087-2802199
ON THE BRINK OF VICTORY ON WATER CHARGES!
BUT FINE GAEL, LABOUR AND THE GREENS STAND IN THE WAY
LET US PUSH IT OVER THE LINE ON SATURDAY NEXT!
APRIL 8th FEET ON THE STREET IN DUBLIN!
BUSES will run from Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir to Dublin for the Right2Water National Demonstration on Saturday 8th April 2017 returning immediately after the demonstration.
We will also run buses from Nenagh and Roscrea
The bus from Nenagh will leave Banba Square at 9am and the bus from Roscrea will leave Abbey Hall at 9.30am
The bus fare will be a subsidised fee of €5 return.
Please telephone 052 6121883 to book your place and for more information.