The Irish Water (meters) thread


Brendan Ogle and his successors in the ESB unions.


It still has to be delivered one way or the other.

Water should be privatized like any other commodity.


Nice cut down. Agree 100%,.
Where I live there are two major fossil fuel vendors, one public, one private . The govt has ultimate say on the pricing and vendors are limited in any increase although it floats broadly with general oil and gas market. Govt here sees it’s job as keeping basic costs down as they know where their bread is buttered.

Somehow except for water people in Ireland arent active on these issues and govt in Ireland seems to think it’s job is to continually rack up prices .


I am genuinely interested in how you think water supply should be privatized, and what benefits you think it would bring, compared to putting similar levels of effort into restructuring of a publicly owned system.


He could watch an oligarch buy shares and get rich as prices go up and then dream of being that oligarch some day.


I can substitute electric heating for gas heating, or if I really want gas, I can substitute bottled butane from Calor for piped methane from Centrica. Similarly, I can substitute lamb for salmon or rice for potatoes.

What should I substitute for clean water?

For most people, a supply of reasonably microbe-free water is as close to a natural monopoly as makes no difference. If it were to be privatised, the only workable solutions (lightly chlorinated aqueous ones, of course :wink: ) would be either a highly regulated oligopoly with massive government oversight, such as exists for electricity supply in countries like the UK, or else a monopoly that is so highly regulated as to be functionally indistinguishable from a nationalised company.

A public infrastructure company providing services to numerous private supply companies might just about work, like DHL, Fedex, Securispeed and TNT using publicly funded roads, which is somewhat like the model to which the half arsed rail privatisation in the UK has finally settled, but I’m still not convinced it adds much to the mix. Even the very successful privatisation of telecoms has relied on maintaining government bodies regulating access to the electromagnetic radiation spectrum and then also needs the courts and government squashing cartels.

This is an entirely separate question from charges and metering. I am strongly in favour of people paying more for water to reflect the cost of providing it and I am agnostic, but favourably disposed towards metered per-use charging for the same reason. I’m just not in favour of handing the money raised to a certain non-resident oik.


In case you haven’t noticed, public ownership of water has been a complete shambles. So I’m genuinely interested in how you think public ownership can be transformed provide us with clean water at affordable price?


They would be nothing stopping you from buying shares so you too could become rich!


No, I don’t know that public ownership of water has been a complete shambles, considering the amount invested in it (or not). Maybe it’s been good value for money.

Is your argument for privatisation that private ownership couldn’t be any worse?


People get very excited about the ownership of the assets in a natural monopoly.

It doesn’t matter much once the regulatory framework is strong and it is well implemented.

CIÉ is 100% state-owned but provides an atrocious service because it is barely regulated. People assume that ‘soft’ political direction and state funding will achieve desired objectives. They don’t.

Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of Irish people use privately-owned toll roads every day. This doesn’t bother anyone because the regulatory framework is strong:
-The owner cannot arbitrarily keep you off the road
-Toll charges cannot be increased too much
-They revert to state ownership after 30 years or whatever

Almost all excitement on this topic can ultimately be traced back to trade unions. For example a few years back there were plans to sell harvesting rights to Coillte forests and the unions ran a clever, totally spurious campaign suggesting that access rights to walkers would be limited.


No, you’re wrong.

Here’s a thread I started on it from 2010.



I am not wrong. From the Irish Times in 2012.

Coillte is presumably home to lots of Impact members.


No, you are wrong and if you bother reading that thread I linked to you’ll understand why. The Impact Trade Union might have opposed the sale of Coillte, but so did just about everybody else! While this forum might be obscure, you’d be surprised at how it can inform debate.

And why you’re moaning about 7% of the country not being sold for €1k/acre is beyond me, but really the Impact Trade Union at least deserve a bit of credit for being on the right side of history.


I am not advocating any particular type of ownership.

My point was (and is) that the regulatory environment is far more important to outcomes than ownership is.

Utilities are quite well regulated in Ireland.

Some other semi-states (CIÉ, Bord na Móna) have weak regulatory oversight and are in many ways poor value for taxpayers’ money. They do, however, employ lots of unionised workers which is why nothing much changes.


Water privatisation looks little more than an organised rip-off, - Financial Times.


Joan Burton on RTE Radio One at the moment complaining that the Jobstown defendants had legal representation. You couldn’t make it up.

In other news all charges against all defendants have been withdrawn.


Im sure you will agree that the story here is garda ineptitude and a mistake by the DPP in the charges they chose to bring against Murphy and his pals.

Im sure you will also agree that the actions of the protestors on the day were disgraceful.


No, the story here is that Joan Burton is a washed up fool who thinks that defendants in trials shouldn’t have legal representation. Try to keep up.



if only i could keep up with as sharp an intellect as yours

something to aspire to

your sympathy towards her for the treatment she was subjected to is illuminating.


I have no sympathy for her whatsoever. None. The evidence presented in the trial clearly showed the Gardaí in control of the situation and that the car could have been reversed out at any time. Protests are ugly and Joan Burton has been involved in enough of them over the years to know that.

Trial is over. All innocent.

Aim high.