Which person in the photograph below said this?
"RPS were certainly not massaging the figures and I want to categorically refute that. In producing a final report, you produce drafts and you edit and you consult with your client, to make sure you get the right result, that is the way we produce reports. That you get a report, that the figures can stand up. We would never change fact and we would never change our opinion. We might reword, we might delete, we might sharpen up text, to edit it. We would never change fact and we would never change opinion. We make our money on our reputation to be able to provide facts and to provide opinion. I think the entire judgement is wrong."
Ever since the Irish electorate overwhelmingly rejected the Fine Gael and Labour Government on Feb 26, there has been an onslaught from Irish Water and the media about the terrible costs the country will suffer if Irish Water is abolished. Anyone listening to Irish Water's own figuresmight think that the constant reminders are designed to influence politicians while they are in deliberations about forming a government. This could be described as political manipulation? Indeed it smacks of scaremongering and the message of 'Irish Water can not be scrapped' is coming over loud and clear?
In the grand scheme of things Irish Water Ltd is only a pawn. In the long run it is the future of the country and it's resources that are at stake and the introduction and success of Irish Water is a political decision, one that is backed by high financial interests. Irish Water, to survive, will do and say anything.
In this scenario we have to ask, what if Irish Water have been advised by politicians and other interested parties to put into the public domain figures and a narrative so terrible that they, the politicians, can use? They might say "we never believed it was going to cost so much or cause so much upheaval to abolish Irish Water". A political way out will be manufactured so they have an excuse to wriggle out of what all along may just have been political opportunist's promises.
Scrapping Irish Water publicised costs
See today's RTE News article Analysis, how much to scrap Irish Water? In this RTE article, the figures or €5.5- €6.7 billion are quoted as total cost to scrap Irish Water. The article states "This sum has been agreed by Irish Water regulator". It did not mention who this regulator was but we can only assume that it is CER, Commission For Energy Regulator, the very same body who, last year, controversially argued with Eurostat that Irish Water should be taken off the Irish Government's books. It turned out Eurostat did not believe CER's fact and figures. See Eurostat's decision Sector Classification of Irish Water.
Fianna Fail alarmed at Irish Water secrecy.
The official running costs of Irish Water is quite hard to fathom out and most figures we get are released by Irish Water or the Government. Take for example Fianna Fail's article 'Government secrecy is preventing oversight of Irish Water' on Jan 11, 2016 where Barry Cowan, said
“It’s alarming to see the Government continuing to prevent proper oversight of Irish Water. It makes you wonder what they are trying to hide, especially considering the number of complaints against the utility is on the increase.”
Eurostat only reliable source for Irish Water costs to date
We found out on Mar 26, 2015, from Eurostat's, semi redacted, report 'Sector Classification of Irish Water' , that the government's financial support to Irish Water was 'expected to be close to 800 million euro per year'. (page 12). The report stated "Aside from current payments, government will also to a large extent fund the massive investment programme of Irish Water, foreseen to encompass 5.5 billion euro over 8 years." (page 3)
The same report, stated that the government had "calibrated its support of Irish Water at 400 million euro in operational grants in 2015 and 480 million euro in 2016. " (page 2)
Eurostat reportstated in relation to Irish Water assets and employees
"Irish Water's consolidation of activities of the local water authorities is achieved , firstly, by the transfer of the assets (net value €7 billion euro) of local water authorities to Irish Water. Secondly Irish Water retains all local authorities' staff in the context of 'service level agreements (SLA)...... as well as of significant 'management fees' to local authorities. The SLAs will be in place for at least 12 years (until 2025). De facto, most staff working for Irish Water is expected to remain employees of local authorities." (page2)
There is a very interesting little piece of info hidden in the report's footnotes in page 3,which states
"The article 4.1 of the Articles of association however refers to 100 million shares of 1 cent each, half being A-shares, the other half being B-shares. article 4.5 seems to allow for the consolidation of all shares held in a certificate, and to allow for limited shareholding (3 shareholders). By and large it remains unclear which entity owns the shares"
If Eurostat can't fathom the make up or structure of Irish Water Ltd, who can? Maybe those elected TDs who are about to decide the future of this country might shed some light on the mysterious Irish Water entity.
So what do you make of that information?
To us it seems the country could save quite a bit by scrapping Irish Water and in doing so we may get value for money. Most water employees are still employed by County Councils. These vital jobs can be saved but if Irish Water have their way they will be getting rid of most of them. Last year they announced 1200 redundancies. Even without Irish Water we can still be spending the allocated billions, not on the super quango but on improving our water infrastructure.
We have dwelt on Eurostat's facts and figures and not on the figures from Irish Water because they reflects the true costs and the value of assets. Eurostat stated that Irish Water as it stands will remain on the Government's books for many years to come. This would mean the taxpayers will be footing the bill.
Irish Water's facts and figures, the last gasp of a dying dynasty
Irish Water's reports on costs are what could be described as subjective, arrived at to suit a preordained end result. Just like the Poolbeg case below.
An the answer tothe question is
This brings us to the original question at the start of the article where we asked which of the three people in the picture uttered the quote. The answer is Elizabeth Arnett, Head of Communications in Irish Water. And as you will hear she said it in the RTE clip below.
Listen to Ms Arnett interview below, on RTÉ Radio One’s This Week programme, 09/09/15. Journalist John Burke reported that, after five years and €2.2million in legal fees paid by Dublin City Council, the council dropped its Supreme Court appeal against a High Court judgement made by Mr Justice Liam McKechnie in 2010.
In his judgement, Judge McKechnie found RPS Consulting Engineering – which had been hired by Dublin City Council to carry out a review of Dublin’s waste policy – had altered official data and waste reports to suit Dublin City Council’s agenda.
Read full story and links in our article 'We Make Our Money On Our Reputation'
What is interesting about is that Gerry Grant, John Tierney and Elizabeth are all working as top management in Irish Water. Gerry Grant and Elizabeth Arnett held managerial positions in RPS Consulting Engineering and and John Tierney was Manager of Dublin City Council at the time of the Poolbeg controversy.
Liam Deegan in Fair Society, Aug 09,2015 said of John Tierney " Until now John Tierney has blatantly refused to appear before the Oireachtas Environment Committee on the grounds that there is an on going EU probe into the cost of the Poolbeg incinerator debacle in which taxpayers were hijacked for €108 million Euro."
Incidentally, Philip Ryan, Irish Independent, 02/03/2016 in the article Irish Water to replace John Tierney with and Insider informed us that the insider is none other than Gerry Grant.
Oh what a web of intrigues is Irish Water, what fanciful facts and figures have sprung from what seems a very close knit fraternity.
The responsibility for our future lies with the opposition, Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein, AAA/PBP, Social Democrats, Independent Alliance, and the various Independents. Lets see and hear how they will live up to their election promises especially abolishing Irish Water and Water Charges, what the majority of the electorate have voted for.
And the last word goes to Fianna Fail's Darragh O'Brien, TD for Dublin Fingal. He said in Fianna Fail's web page, www.fiannafail.ie, "Irish Water needs to be turned off ".
See article by Brian M. Lucey 'No Irish Water Won't Cost €7B'