A populist see saw.
I caught a news bulletin on Irish Water Jobstown trial this evening. The defense seems to be: it was her own fault, she is well to do, the protesters are poor, she deserved what she got. Now I’m no legal eagle, but this seems lie a pretty risky strategy. If they don’t mount a proper defense, they will get found guilty of false imprisonment.
I’m surprised Burton hasn’t sued them.
They seem like the kind that would sue if a security guard even thought about detaining them for alleged shoplifting
Erm, my spouse and children get free health insurance from the American company I work for. This is not an unusual perk?
Notice all men on trial, yet I saw plenty of woman banging on car and hemming in Mrs Burton and her adviser.
The optics of putting a woman on trial woud not have been great. This is a nonsense trial.
First of many is suspect…
The Drogheda water outage is continuing and likely to do so until the weekend and the impact of it has been disastrous for businesses and households.
Given how the utilities have opted for SCADA systems and similar remote management systems to manage their assets, and there are alarm bells being sounded about espionage attempts against electricity companies, the Drogheda outage is really showing up how vulnerable the water distribution network is.
Anyone who gains remote access to the control systems can cause havoc, and water networks have a particular weakness. Simply by closing a water valve suddenly you can cause a phenomenon called ‘water hammer’ where the flow of water is abruptly stopped and a massive shock wave travels back along the pipe network until it finds the weakest point resulting in the kind of outage we are seeing in Drogheda. The actuators and motors are usually run at very specific slow speeds to prevent this happening, but in systems where it is possible to adjust those closing speeds they are very vulnerable, particularly where there is legacy pipework in poor condition. Surge suppressors can help protect the systems.
The Drogheda outage is (correctly) being blamed on Irish Water by the residents and the media too.
Compare with ten years ago with the cryptosporidium outbreak in Galway. The fault was the Council’s, but the blame went in the direction of the Minister for the Environment, whose fault it wasn’t.
At least we have a proper, professional water utility in charge now.
“We’re In As Much Of A Rush To Fix Leak As You Were To Pay The Bill” – Irish Water
According to Thomas Byrne (FF Meath East) on the radio yesterday, who was chasing up on the issue, Irish Water were great for answering the phones but all the knowledge lay with Louth and Meath County Councils. So he was bounding between all 3.
A central authority with oversight of the entire network such as Irish Water is a bloody good idea in principle. However, the water management and charging should have been left with the councils in the immediate term. They were already collecting property tax. An additional water charge should have been added to the property tax, ear marked specifically for infrastructural maintenance and repair work. This infrastructural spend could have been audited by Irish Water to make sure it was not getting siphoned away elsewhere. If the councils were finding they were not collecting enough to perform what they needed or wanted to in a certain year then they could apply to Irish Water for additional funding.
Allow the system time to bed in and the infrastructure to be brought up to a decent level. Then roll out the meters and start penalising waste*. Finally, the upgraded infrastructure would then allow for a much easier transition to the central authority such as Irish Water who could assume control of the entire network, in a decade or two down the line. There should have been no need for the inexcusable waste on transfer of staff, consultants, logo design, marketing etc. to begin with.
What would have been wrong with that?
You can’t blame a burst water main on individual households wasting water. Fianna Fail abolished domestic rates in the 70s. This is a legacy issue and very little to do with Irish Water. And now approx 100,000 are without running water.
*If the councils themselves had been penalised all along for waste I wonder where we’d be at
Massive duplication of billing systems?
Rev Comm collect LPT?
Assuming Irish water billing wasn’t set up in the first place. s there something else I’ve missed?
Oh yea. That’s right.
It’s passed onto the councils though. Why could a % of that not be earmarked for water infrastructural spending. Like I said, they could have increased the current rates so that they are not taking from other spending obligations. It would add a little complexity to the breakdown of the bill but where is the extra billing there?
I’m sure nobody would have complained about that at all…