Friday 28 October 2016

Has Irish Water gone from being a laughable quango to a sick joke?

Gran Mary Jane O'Brien
Gran Mary Jane O'Brien

From the outset Irish Water has been dogged by a never-ending series of mishaps and PR disasters.

Ever since we heard the news that the controversial quango spent €50m of taxpayer's money on consultants in a single year (2013) things have just gone from bad to worse.

The next PR disaster was when we learned of a bonus culture in place, which awarded Irish Water employees for mostly doing the job that they were paid to do - nice work if you can get it!

Then we learned that Irish Water will spend €500m installing water meters the length and breadth of the country which may all have to be dug up and replaced in the next 15 years.

Meanwhile, as Irish Water ads were trumpeting the merits and benefits of the company, people in places like Co Roscommon were still subject to boil notices to have safe drinking water.


So is it any surprise that over one third of those eligible to pay the new water charges are still refusing to hand over a cent of cash? Even now, at the 11th hour when bills are falling through our letter boxes, the company has still no definitive procedure to deal with these defaulters.

This week's Irish Water PR disaster is even more embarrassing. It's downright shocking, in fact, if not an offence to common decency.

The family of Navan grandmother Mary Jane O'Brien, who died six years ago, were shocked to receive a bill in her name from Irish Water. They were naturally upset and distraught at this thoughtless act.

This comes only days after a similar incident which saw a Co Wexford widow receive a bill with her late husband's name on it, with 'RIP' printed beside it. This is unacceptable. Has Irish Water gone from being a laughable quango to a sick joke?

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