How much the takeover by Irish Water of the water resources and infrastructure in the Buncrana area will affect the Crana River, its catchment area, the Eddie Fullerton Dam and Reservoir remains to be seen. The Buncrana Anglers Association at their annual general meeting early in March 2015 did not know anything about Irish Water's plans for the area. Indeed according to members, the anglers were not consulted about Irish Water's takeover of the The Eddie Fullerton Dam, the reservoir or the water generally throughout the area. They are worried about potential ownership and any legal repercussions associated with it. Some members are even afraid that the fishing rights and even the river itself could be bought out. The Buncrana Anglers Association own the fishing rights of the Crana River and The Eddie Fullerton Dam reservoir and have successfully managed and stocked the river and reservoir for years.
In 2014 Irish Water a registered subsidiary company of the Ervia Group formerly Bord Gais Eireann was incorporated in July 2013 under the Water Services Act 2013. Irish Water took over responsibility for the operation of the public water services on 1st January 2014 including management of Ireland's naional water assets, maintenance of water systems, investment and planning managing capital projects. Irish Water took on the operation of the assets through Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with all 31 local authorities who are suppose to continue to provide day to day operations for the next 12 years. Irish Water's responsibilty includes all water management including rivers, lakes, reservoirs and ground water. Jerry Grant Irish Water's head of services said in the Irish Times Feb 19th 2015 “It is a hugely expensive process to take water from our rivers, lakes and the ground and turn it into clean drinking water.” He went on to say “It is equally expensive to collect waste water, treat it and return it safely to the environment.”
Irish Water has said it has developed a draft 'Water Services Strategic Plan' for the next 25 years. According to them this WSSP plan followed an initial consultation with statutory bodies and the public in 2014 and it goes on to say that the plan was subjected to a full 'Strategic Environmental Assessment' and 'Appropriate Assessment' to assess any environmental effects that may occur as a result of WSSP. Their Strategic Aim, according to Irish Water includes operating their water services infrastructure in a manner that supports the achievement of water body objectives under the Water Framework Directive'.
Jason Coffey in thejournal.ie said “Irish Water is a legal entity that cannot be simply abolished because the Irish Government does not own it. We own 99% of it. Ervia (formerly Bord Gais) owns a single share. But this is the most important share. It is the share that controls how the company operates. When setting up the company, it was carefully worded so that the other 99 shares have no voting power on how the company is run. As soon as Bord Gais got this very important share/windfall, they put Bord Gais on the market and sold it to the highest bidder – Centrica (an international company) in 2014. While Irish Water claims to be run by Bord Gais, Bord Gais is just a puppet trade name for Centrica. Basically Enda Kenny doesn’t want to tell the Irish people that his government has no control whatsoever in the way Irish water conducts itself even though we own 99% of the shares. Irish Water is a legal entity that cannot be abolished because we do not own all of it.”
All it takes for the Irish Government's shares of Irish Water to be sold off are 2 ministers signatures see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w61OsG7VKMc. Now wouldn't that be easy to get. There is a good article in Buncrana Together web page entitled 'Denis o Brien and Irish Water by Fliuch'. It will give you a good idea how it is done. Also see http://www.moneyguideireland.com/bord-gais-energy-sell-off-was-it-a-bargain-for-centrica.html which states as part of the disposal of state assets to pay off some of Ireland's bank bailout debts Bord Gais Energy sale was agreed to be sold to Centrica for 1.1 billion euro. Centrica is a consortium of UK companies. This is how easy it is done and with the financial problems Ireland will face for a long time an excuse for Irish Water sell off would not be hard to come by. We see it every day in newspaper articles that the cost to Irish Water to bring the country's water infrastructure up to standard will require massive investment.
There are a number of questions to be asked of our Government and Irish Water in relation to the Crana Anglers Association, the Crana River, its catchment area, the Eddie Fullerton Dam and reservoir. It is hard to have confidence in any plans given the fact that the Crana Anglers have not been consulted about the takeover of all the local water resources and infrastructure or about plans for future water management in the area.
Buncrana Together March 19 2015