I once again feel obliged to ask you to clarify some aspects relating to the IrishWater setup and implementation. As always, whether online or otherwise, I’ll remain polite and non-personal. Having been blocked on Twitter by your esteemed colleague (and very entertaining) Senator John Gilroy, he of “they are computer generated emails” fame, I now fully understand the delicate sensitivities of the political elite. Far be it from me to subject such honourable gentry to legitimate and polite scrutiny.
So let’s get down to it.
EU Water Framework Directive
I’m still in the dark on the issue of Ireland’s exemption under article 9.4 of the EU Water Framework Directive and whether our exemption ever really existed at all, such was the silence surrounding its expiry. Can you explain, once and for all, the chain of events which led you to let this lapse? If it still exists, please clarify – as far as I can tell, nobody has any clue on our situation at the moment, and the last thing we want is to assume something that isn’t true.
— why? (@tbcire) January 5, 2015
I have gone as far as is possible on this issue
You’ll recognise the above quote. What exactly did you mean? For something to be prevented from being taken further, there must be some force working in the opposite direction – this is basic stuff. What was this force that prevented you from allowing the citizens of Ireland, the owners of the water that falls from the sky and the pipes that transport it, from making this decision themselves?
I watched the debates in the Seanad and Dáil in late December, and this key issue struck me as one which raised more questions than it answered. The reasons given by all defenders of Irish Water as to why a referendum couldn’t go ahead were unsatisfactory, bumbling, amateur, and in my opinion a concerted attempt to brush past the issue without committing to facts that simply wouldn’t stand up under the lightest of scrutiny. “Complications” were mentioned, as were the difficulties involved in defining the terms of such an amendment. To date, I’ve yet to understand these issues – could you clarify? If they’re legitimate, I see no reason why you wouldn’t. Aren’t all referendums a little tricky? Why refuse this one on that basis alone? Are you telling us that we, the Irish people, are unable to do something which other countries, such as Bolivia, have done successfully, because it’s “too complicated”?
“The people might say no” was another reason, suggested by the obedient (and otherwise decent) Jillian van Turnhout. This defies logic, and it saddens me that anybody who feels this is a legitimate argument for not having a referendum gets paid by the citizens to legislate, debate and “govern” on their behalf and in their best interests.
Another quote from those blurry late December sessions;
“I have not yet heard anyone in this House or the other, local authorities or anywhere who said that they believe in the privatisation of Irish Water.“
Is that enough, in your mind? Are you not aware of any other instance throughout history where the majority opinion has changed over time, and previous norms forgotten? A prime example is your own party, who’ve morphed into a fully fledged right-wing outfit.
Such things happen despite “common sense”, so it’s perfectly reasonable to expect it could happen here too. As a public servant, surely you must take the concerns of the public into account.
To follow a logical thought process means coming to one conclusion – you and your fellow creators of the entire Irish Water fiasco have done so with the knowledge that the privatisation of our most valuable natural resource is not only possible, but favourable, if not already in motion. Post-2019, when the current caps expire and the costs for the public will skyrocket without recourse, this utility will become an attractive proposition for Veolia or one of the other numerous vulture-capitalist for-profit entities that have soaked up (literally) billions in natural resources across the planet, to the detriment of the citizens everywhere they go.
To follow this train of thought even further suggests something altogether more nefarious in the background, alluded to by some senators and TDs before Christmas, some going so far as to name “He Who Shall Not Be Named” (D.O.B.). To deny citizens the right to ensure the protection of their most vital infrastructure cannot be justified, no matter how much side-stepping and nonsense you spout on record. The only possible reason for this denial is instructions from elsewhere, with the plebiscite offer simply an excercise in kicking a can down the road, and hoping it’ll all be forgotten come the election after next.
Unfortunately for you, the Labour Party, and all involved in this fiasco, the people’s memories now last much longer than the planned 4/5 year election cycle (which was a handy coincidence for conservative career politicians).
I’ll resist further criticisms, as the entire country has thankfully opened its eyes to the sham that is Irish Water, and also the government mouthpiece that is RTE and the INM group. As the Minister for the Environment, I’d appreciate answers to the two main questions still hanging in the ether;
Did you let our Water Framework Directive exemption lapse, and if so, why?
What are the real reasons behind the flat refusal to let the people decide whether or not they’d like to keep this natural resource secured in public ownership?
With very little respect, and ever-dwindling confidence,
A concerned, annoyed and fully aware citizen of Ireland.