Irish Water payment figures confirm Government’s water policy is an abject failure

The Right2Water campaign said today (Thursday, 19th May 2016) that Irish Water’s payment figures further illustrate the failure of the government’s water policy. The campaign is now calling for a referendum to enshrine ownership of our water in public hands.

Today’s Irish Water figures illustrate the level of non-payment for the first full year of its existence and show:

  • Irish Water has collected just 53pc of its expected €271m in income, €144.2m.
  • Customer numbers fell by 8,000 in the 4th billing period.
  • Revenue collected by Irish Water fell by almost 25pc in the 4th billing period.
  • Only 49pc paid their last water bill.
  • These figures were collated before the Oireachtas decision to suspend charges.

Brendan Ogle, Right2Water spokesperson said: “This meager income should take account of the €80m spent on the so-called conservation grant, which was effectively a bribe to become a customer, leaving a net income of a mere €65m in a full year.”

He added, “When the massive expenditure on the installation of water meters, consultants, advertising, legal costs and the billing process is considered, more than €1bn has been spent on this failed project. This government now needs to stop throwing good money after bad and scrap the whole project, saving taxpayers from more wastage.

He continued, “What’s very encouraging is that despite all of the intimidation, despite all of the pressure put on people by an arrogant government, an out of touch Minister and the thousands of landlords who threatened tenants in an effort to make them pay their water bills, still the majority of people refused to pay in the last quarter of Irish Water’s billing cycle.”

Mr Ogle said that those advocating a move to ‘double taxation’ through the introduction of domestic water charges and a metered utility aimed at privatising our water and sanitation services have lost the argument financially, politically and with the public.

“What’s needed now is for all TD’s opposed to the privatization of our water services to vote in favour of Thomas Pringle’s Bill in the Dail which calls for a constitutional referendum on ownership of our water. If Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fail or any other party votes against this Bill, it will expose their real position on water. Only those in favour of privatisation of our human Right2Water would oppose such a bill,” concluded Mr Ogle.

Right2Water wants to acknowledge the people power that got the campaign this far and has called on all water activists to lobby their local TD’s in support of the Thirty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution (Water in Public Ownership Bill 2016) which will be debated and voted on next week. This Bill is essential in protecting our right to water.

You can also sign the petition to end the metering process and scrap Irish Water by clicking here.