In response to water charges and metering - Fliuch Off Irish Water Ltd

Fliuch Off Irish Water Ltd responds an article by Harry McGee in the Irish Times, Dec 1, 'What is the future of water charges and metering'

 

In an article today Harry McGee of the Irish Times raises some interesting points such as:

‘How will we know who’s wasting water if there’s no water meter?’

Whether Harry had the time or remit, or was operating to a deadline or a bias, or thinks his readers aren’t able to read long pieces due to the Googlification effect on society we don’t know, but here’s our response:

 

What is a generous allowance?

If so many homes are without meters the problem of waste also raises the problem of usage. How will any committee come to an agreement on what a generous allowance is?

We have provided data that shows the figure for an allowance given by Irish Water Ltd is a nonsense. Irish Water Ltd proposed 90 litres per person per day (or less) when the EU average is more than twice that.

We also demonstrated that Irish Water Ltd used data from meters installed at empty and holiday homes as well as from homes where they never demonstrated how many people were in the home, their ages and if there were special needs.

This diagram from a council website is somewhat misleading. The boundary box is called a boundary box because it’s the technical boundary of your dwelling however you also have curtilege which often extends to the centre of the road.

This diagram from a council website is somewhat misleading. The boundary box is called a boundary box because it’s the technical boundary of your dwelling however you also have curtilege which often extends to the centre of the road.

Leak surge after meter installations

We, along with many others, noticed a surge in leaks AFTER meters were installed. We have eye witness accounts along with video and photo evidence of leaks appearing after meters were installed (mainly water pouring out of boundary boxes). Members of Fliuch witnessed contractors hurriedly filling in holes where water was oozing out. Some of these leaks went unfixed for months, some for over a year.

Keeping with shoddy work

Keeping with shoddy work

Not only did shoddy work cause leaks it also caused lead to leak into homes as many pipes into homes were lead and were simply cut, with no warning, and had plastic pipes attached to them. No instruction was given to homeowners to flush their system and no follow-up was ever done to test household water for lead.

What about all the boundary box lids that had to be replaced? What about the fact that the plastic lids are not fit for purpose where there are cars passing over them? What about the poor quality concrete used to fill in many boundary boxes that had to be replaced in numerous locations and has still to be replaced in numerous locations?

As for apartment blocks etc, meters were already installed on many mains pipes years ago but were not maintained and allowed to fail. Why were they not maintained? Who was responsible? Why have they not been held to account?

Two of our members live in apartments and one of them has a very bad leak (from the heating system) that the landlord is ignoring as the water seems to be traveling down to the foundation via cavity blocks so it’s not causing any visible problems.

The other lives in a block where there is a tap in the backyard that gets used regularly to wash wheelie bins plus several residents wash their cars almost weekly – so the expert commission is incorrect in their assumptions about people living in apartments not wasting water.


Mainstream Media portrayal of Anti Water Movement

The media would have people believe that the anti water charges movement is simply a ‘populist’ movement full of ignorant, angry, welfare wasters but many of us are educated, hard-working people who have actually put some thought into this.

The word/term populist (populism etc) is being used by the mainstream media in a derogatory way non-stop. It exposes a bias and arrogance that blinds journalists from feeling the pulse of the people and skews their reporting and commenting on what’s really happening in society at large. It’s why the mainstream media failed to predict that Donald Trump would win.

Money  allocated to water infrastructure never spent

The main questions not being asked by the media surround the fact that money was allocated to our water infrastructure but never got spent on it – why not? Where did that money go? Why has there been no audit for so many years? Why has no one been held accountable? Why was funding decreased for several years prior to the introduction of water charges? A common tactic before privatisation.

Fundamentally, no reasonable person should be opposed to metering and charges for wasting water, yes we already pay through direct and indirect taxation for water but we don’t pay for an infinite number of litres per person per day.

Constitutional safeguards needed

We are opposed to enforced metering and charges when there are no safeguards in place to prevent the full-scale commodification and privatisation of our water.

We understand that the Constitution allows for the government to alienate* itself from our natural resources and that any amendment to Article 10 might have implications regarding oil and gas etc. This might not be a bad thing as our State has given away vast amounts of our natural resources already.  In some cases the taxpayer has actually paid companies to exploit our resources.  (*sell or lease)

Refunds and collecting unpaid charges:

*No Consent. No Contract. No Liability.*

If you willingly entered into a contract with Irish Water Ltd you have no real recourse unless you renounce the contract and claim you weren’t in full knowledge of the Terms and Conditions or that the contract was forced on you under threat of penalty and that you were under duress etc.

What the mainstream media aren’t asking is: Will the so-called Conservation Grant be refunded? Will the government demand repayment of that money? Some people who received that money weren’t even liable (if you accepted you were liable) to water charges so they literally got money for nothing. Will the government demand receipts to prove the money was spent on water conservation?

As for those who didn’t pay – Irish Water Ltd is a private limited company – if it wants to pursue unpaid charges it must do it like any other company – via demand notices, debt collection agencies, solicitors, and ultimately through the District Courts. Irish Water Ltd would have to establish in court that the people it’s demanding money from had knowingly, freely and willingly entered into a contract. Under Irish and EU legislation you cannot be forced into a contract against your will. Plus, this is a civil matter not a criminal one so it is not a matter the Gardaí should lawfully be involved in.

Put simply, there is no provision in law for Irish Water Ltd to take people en-masse to court and there is no provision in law for Irish Water Ltd to have the ability to take money from your bank account, wages or welfare. If Irish Water Ltd is reconfigured in some way (as a company) then all claims become void.

We call for an amendment to Article 10 of the Constitution that guarantees the provision of a generous allowance of clean, accessible water with provisions in legislation to grant exemptions (an increase in the allowance) for people with special needs. That same legislation must also take into account wastage caused by leaks and if the government is serious about conservation then it must provide serious finance to fix leaks no matter where they are. Nothing less than a Constitutional guarantee to a generous allowance (an allowance that ensures that no one will pay any extra for their usual/normal usage of water) will stop this movement.

Fliuch

Source:http://www.fliuch.org/in-response-to-water-charges-and-metering/


The Carlyle Connection

We are bringing you this story for two reasons, one is that it is so interesting in itself and two because of the Carlyle connection to Ireland in the shape of our Government, Irish Water and Abtran (see Carlyle press release). 

The full amazing connection can be read at http://fliuch.org/now-the-taxpayers-money-is-going-into-abtran-the-company-handling-irish-water-ltd-complaints/

 

Sources: 
ragingbullshit.com
fliuch.org

 

 

 

 

Article by Don Quijones 28/11/2015

The Bush family, the Saudi Royal family, Osama Bin Laden’s family, Donald Rumsfeld’s inner circle, former British premier John Major – these are just some of the high profile figures who have played a direct role in the rise of one of the most powerful, influential and secretive firms in Washington.

That company is called The Carlyle Group. And in the wake of the events of September 11th and the proliferation of war throughout the Middle East, its power and influence have grown significantly stronger.

The company operates within the so-called iron-triangle of industry, government and the military. Its list of former and current advisers and associates includes a vast array of some of the most powerful men — almost always men — in America and around the world. As Naomi Wolf writes, Carlyle is one of a select group of private investor clubs whose raison d’etre is to foment war wherever it’s most profitable:

 

We have to stop thinking that many events are driven by nation-states and national ideologies. That time is over. A small group of investors (see Aschcroft’s lobbying group, see Cheney’s oil company in the Golan Heights, see the Carlyle group, see Academi/Xi etc, see the Iron Dome contracts, see Delek, see American Noble Energy, the latter two wanting the Gaza 7 billion gas reserves) just plain profit from conflict.

They operate above the level of parliaments, congresses and nationstates. They fund violent leadership on both ‘sides’ of a conflict (see AIPAC, see Taliban) so they can have perpetual war, thus perpetual profit. They buy up media outlets so people’s worst fears and hatreds can be stoked and fewer and fewer reporters can check assertions.

Via the governments who are really their functionaries at this point, when they need to they spin or stage news events. There are global scripts now to scare the s– out of populations. This really has very little to do with “Arabs” or “Jews” or ethnic or religious hatreds — those are just the machinery they use to keep conflict going and keep the profits maximized.

 

The following VPRO documentary exposes the history of the Carlyle Group, from it’s inception as a private equity firm to it’s precent status as one of the largest defence contractors in the world.



People Before Profit splits with Anti-Austerity Alliance on pact

Source: Fliuch.org 
Oriiginal article: The Irish Times Oct 31, 2015

Buncrana TogetherWe are using Fliuch.org article because of the comments by Fliuch editor and comments at the end from members of our organisation.  Fliuch, like ourselves,  are striving to be non aligned even in this minefield of intrigue and politics.   We are striving to remaine focussed on the campaign againstIrish Water, Water Charges, installation of harmful meters and the privatisation of our natural resources.  It is worth directing you toFliuch'saims Here,  to try to bring focus back to our common goal of fighting against Irish Water, Water charges, harmful meters and   'the fight against the Troika’s pillaging of our national utilities' (Fliuch). 

 

Brendan Ogle of Right2Change. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Brendan Ogle of Right2Change. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Irish Times Article by Kitty Holland

People Before Profit has signed up to a left-wing electoral alliance while its election partner, the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA), has not, according to a Right2Change briefing.

At the election event in Dublin on Saturday, the Right2Change movement also said it hoped to identify three candidates in each constituency who were supportive of its policy principles.

Right2Change is a coalition of community activists that is supported by five trade unions – Unite, Mandate, Opatsi, the Communications Workers’ Union and the Civil and Public Services Union.

[The CPSU has withdrawn as of yesterday – Fliuch]

It grew out of the anti-water charges movement.

[Not really. It was an opportunistic power-grab by certain individuals and parties that we warned people about after their first invite-only national meeting and consequently we were shunned and not invited to any more meetings and not asked our opinion on anything ever again. It’s what’s called Controlled Opposition – Fliuch]

At a conference in June, it drew up a policy document, Policy Principles for a Progressive Irish Government, which called for the right to decent work, an end to the banks’ veto on mortgage resolutions and the abolition of water charges

At Saturday’s briefing, Brendan Ogle, of the Unite trade union and a leading figure in the Right2Change movement, and Dave Gibney of Mandate outlined which parties and Independents had signed up to this policy platform as part of an electoral alliance.

Sinn Féin, People Before Profit, the Communist Party of Ireland, Direct Democracy Ireland and the National Citizens Movement had aligned themselves with Right2Change.

Six Independent TDs – Clare Daly, Joan Collins, Mick Wallace, Thomas Pringle, Tommy Broughan, and Séamus Healy had signed up.

Independent councillors Paul Hand (Dublin), Cieran Perry (Dublin), Francis Timmons (South Dublin), Pat Kavanagh (Wicklow), Joanne Pender (Kildare) and Brendan Young (Kildare) had aligned themselves with Right2Change.

Other Independent candidates in the forthcoming election – Michael O’Gorman (Kerry), Barbara Smyth (Longford-Westmeath) and Declan Bree (Sligo) had also signed up.

Parties that did not sign up were the AAA, the Workers’ Party and the Social Democrats.

Fine Gael, the Labour Party, the Green Party, Renua and Fianna Fáil were not invited to join the electoral alliance as they favour water charges.

In its response to the invitation, the AAA said that while it “generally supports the reforms outlined in the policy principles”, it believed that realising them would “necessitate going much further than the projected spending increases” in the movement’s fiscal document.

[Please see our earlier post about their aspirational fiscal document – Fliuch]

It said the reforms went far beyond what the current political system would allow.

It also said that it disagreed with the movement’s support of the Good Friday Agreement, which had institutionalised sectarian divisions in the North.

However, People Before Profit said it would “support the formation of a left-first government that will incorporate fully the Right2Water principles.

[That probably should be Right2Change principles – Fliuch]

“Should the numbers allow we will enter discussions with others on forming such a government.”

Sympathetic candidates

At the briefing, Mr Ogle said he hoped three sympathetic candidates – one from Sinn Féin, one from another party and one Independent – would be identified in each constituency to provide voters who are “hungry for change with a choice of candidates”.

The movement said it would not tell voters to whom they should transfer votes.

Candidates aligned to the Right2Change platform would be advertised in each constituency and supported by the movement’s structures and activists .

Mr Ogle also indicated that he was a likely Independent candidate in the forthcoming general election.

When asked if he would run, Mr Ogle said: “It is clear that we need more Independent candidates in many constituencies.

“That will require more Independent candidates coming forward, who have never previously considered that that is something they might do.”

He identified his native Louth and Dublin West, where he lives, as constituencies in which he could run.

“I am giving consideration to requests I have received to be one of a number of people who will go forward as Independents-for-change candidates.

“If I believe there is a momentum for any of the communities where I think we have bases then I think it behoves myself and others to give that serious consideration.”

[This is despite Brendan stating early on quite categorically that he had no interest in running – Fliuch]

©http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/people-before-profit-splits-with-anti-austerity-alliance-on-pact-1.2413042

We should probably point out Right2Water is actually a European movement that was in existence long before Rightward Ireland came into being. When referring to the movement in Ireland the media should really differentiate between the two (by affixing Ireland to it) because the original Right2Water movement is nothing like Right2Water Ireland – Fliuch.

2 thoughts on “People Before Profit splits with Anti-Austerity Alliance on pact”

James Quigley 01/11/2015

Totally agree with Fliuch ‘Controlled Opposition’ and like Fliuch, there were many of us in Donegal who were not invited to any of their Right2Water conferences. We communicated our feelings to the the movement’s coordinators/leaders (or whatever they are), however, we have never received an adequate response. Our feelings or objections were never given the time of day. Then we noticed that if you attended and did a Unite course you could get invited to the national conferences. Controlled Opposition? Of course it was controlled.

Right2Water movement has not risen from the anti water charge campaign but rather it has been controlled, fine tuned from at least the time of the property tax campaign and maybe even before that. The Anti Water Charge movement was hijacked and it has now morphed into what was the objective ‘ Right2Change’. Sinn Fein and the Unions have been directing this from the start. In Donegal Sinn Fein controls R2W/R2C movement. I have it from a good source, who attended the conferences in Dublin, that the national Right2Water coordinators knew about Sinn Fein’s control but could either do nothing. I suspect they did not want to.

The Right2Water philosophy suited Sinn Fein and the unions down to the ground and both fed off each other. Their use of reverse psychology was and still is being used to great effect. We get words like ‘unity’, ‘strong opposition’, ‘community’, ‘pillars’ and ‘if you are not with us you are against us’, ‘democracy’. This Right2Water brand was a very clever public relations exercise. How did it come about? Just happened. Apparently it is a movement of the people, community. It is without leaders where no one takes responsibility where collective decisions are taken. On various occasion you will get someone speaking on behalf of R2W/R2C. In fact I could say I am speaking as R2W. In Donegal we have good experience reverse psychology. We tried to get an inclusive, representative strong committed going in Inishowen but this failed because it had to be within the R2W organisation and we were looking for an independent group. Instead of unity, strong representative opposition and democracy we got disunity and fragmentation.

The same reverse psychology is happening today with regard to this voting pact. Those who don’t agree are being ostracised, portrayed as the villains. Isn’t it strange that AAA who have been most vocal and who have spearheaded the boycott campaign, questioning the R2C policies are getting the most flac? It is no coincidence that they are the arch enemy of Sinn Fein.
Where are the Right2Change unions in all of this? They are not voicing any opposition. Does this not make them culpable? Has Right2Change taken sides with Sinn Fein and got rid of the thorn in their side? Has this unilateral decision by Sinn Fein, calling for a pact not created disunity and chaos. Who decided this policy and why?

Enda Craig 03/11/2015

The fundamentals are wrong and must not be forgotten.
Lets take Donegal as an example and see what it says.

When R2W decided to select “safe”, supposedly democratic, representatives from around the county they were hand-picked by Ogle.
This brazen undemocratic manoeuvre set the trend for a lot of what was to follow.

Having been plucked from obscurity and propelled to the front of things these so called representatives have spent their time and energies promoting and defending the gospel from the top.
As we have seen any attempt at critical analysis has been met with an onslaught of abuse by those willing and, in my opinion, brainwashed disciples who it would seem must repay their “upward” selection by demonstrating total and slavish loyalty to the leader and his line on things.

Because of this breathtaking selection move the edifice is left in a totally flawed position as it is relying on individuals without community credentials to slavishly promote and protect it without question.
They are in debt for their initial selection and feel compelled to support their new found lord and master who has bestowed meaning to their existence and, puffed up by their new found importance, they attempt to protect the edifice relentlessly without question and attack any and all criticism.

Those at the top who were the architects of this policy cannot be trusted.

This reeks of manipulation and the complete absence of integrity.