Time to get real

TWO of our Fine Gael TDs are in public disagreement about where our future economic priorities should lie. John Deasy believes that we should be putting all our efforts into securing the Michael Street Shopping Centre while Paudie Coffey believes that a redevelopment of the North Quays should be top of the list.

The North Quays situation scares me to be honest. The first attempt at demolishing the buildings became quite farcical after it was subject to more false starts than a Grand National. There was a delay, and then there was another delay and then there was a finalised date. That date came and went. Then there was another delay and when they finally said that they were ready to go there was a big photo shoot and front page headlines praised the coming of Demolition Day. And then it was cancelled indefinitely and the powers that be sheepishly started the whole process again.

This is not what worries me though, what worries me is what we’ll be faced with once it’s demolished. I’m going on record now and saying that when those buildings eventually crumble to the ground everyone will say that they miss them. The rubble, which is going to be left on site in neat bundles, will be a far more horrible sight than the silos and old buildings ever where. Imagine having to stare at them across the river every day?

Let’s be straight about this now, we don’t have the money to develop the North Quays and we also don’t have the money for the Michael Street Shopping Centre. Everything that is even remotely ambitious in Waterford right now is “pending the successful acquisition of funding”. There is no guarantee that we will ever have the money but what is guaranteed is that in the meantime, the rubble on the North Quays will stare back at us in frustration, just like those empty buildings around Michael Street. Looking into my Crystal Ball now I can see people tearing strips off the Council for demolishing the Quays without having a proper plan in place to replace them.

This is not speculation by the way. When the Quays do come down, there is no concrete (excuse the pun) plan for what happens next. We WILL be forced to stare at the rubble for possibly many years to come and there will be uproar – and rightfully so.

Personally, I don’t think we should be demolishing anything until the funding has been secured for the next generation of the North Warf. Let’s give an artist a couple of grand to paint the silos into funny characters and rockets and things like that – give us something fun and colourful to look at. Make the buildings more attractive to the eye and then, when the cash is in the bank, knock seven shades of s**t out of them.

If, and it’s a big IF, the buildings come down in 2016, then we need to look at the idea of some kind of pop-up village. I don’t care what we put over there, but do something! And we clearly can’t afford a footbridge across the suir so what about a ferry leaving every half hour? I don’t think these are radical ideas….do you?

This is a very critical time for Waterford. In the last few years we have been bullied by the current government. This is not an exaggeration by the way – I genuinely believe that certain things that have happened to our county since Fine Gael and Labour came into power have been downright malicious. This has made it harder for our representatives – who have had to endure unparalleled levels of abuse – to fight for their home county. They could probably have done better for us but I, possibly foolishly, have always believed that their hearts were in the right place.

Now, more than ever, we need to look after ourselves. This will divide opinion, but does anyone else think that we are a bit precious about certain parts of our history? The Viking Triangle is lovely, as are all of our city walls and museums, but is there any justification for preserving every bit of wall and door that’s older than the hills? The lads in T&H’s have been given an awful time whilst trying to ready the pub for a new era. It’s been close to a year since they bought it and they are no closer to opening it because of all the delays that have been forced on them due to pedantic preciousness.

A local businessman, with backing from money men in America, had a big plan for the old John Hearn Hardware store on the Quay. They wanted to turn it into a bar/steakhouse, which I believed would have done a roaring trade on the quay and stretched the retail and hospitality offering of the city out a bit. They were put off by the amount of preservation protection on the building and the added money and work that it would cause and they subsequently took their bags of money elsewhere. I love our history as much as the next man but surely the future of our city is just as important – if not more important – than our past.

I have become a little bit obsessed with certain buildings in Waterford that are currently lying empty, and I want you to become obsessed with them too. The longer they remain empty, the more they become invisible to us and we just take it for granted that they will never live again. The Rugby Club on Parnell Street, the Ard Rí, all of the empty premises around the proposed Michael Street development that are waiting – depressed – to be put out of their misery. If, as I believe, the Michael Street Shopping Centre doesn’t happen for many, many years (if at all) does that mean we’re stuck with the empty and decomposing De La Salle Social Centre, the old WIT Arts building, and all the other buildings that will make way for our proposed economic saviour.

I’m not having a pop at our council for trying to do this by the way, in fact I think they should be applauded. However, I also think that they need a plan B, just in case their dreams do not become reality.

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A visit from a Jehovah Witness

LAST Friday, after a long week of work, I got an unusual knock upon my door. I say unusual because our house, although part of a housing estate, is a little bit off the beaten track. When someone is knocking on the door they’re usually looking to inspect my TV licence, collect some sponsorship money or help to reacquaint me with Jesus. On this particular day, it was the latter.

The man was friendly and softly spoken and I could accuse him of nothing more than being a gentleman. He was also a Jehovah Witness who had some literature that he wanted me to read. “Do you believe in God yourself?” he asked. “I don’t,” I replied. “I just don’t see the logic in him.”

The man, from south Dublin, nodded and said he understood, but I could sense that he wanted me to elaborate, which I did without hesitation. “If there is a God,” I said. “How can he allow young children to die of cancer? How can he let the most heinous creatures on the planet enjoy a long life but steal it from a young innocent child?” The man nodded in warm understanding but I wasn’t finished yet.

“If there is a God…and he allows these things to happen…then he is a nasty, horrible being that I would not like to be friends with,” I said. “I would prefer to just believe that he doesn’t exist.”

The man reached in his bag and took out a magazine called “Good news from God!” There was a chapter, which he drew my attention to, called “Why does God allow Evil and Suffering?” I let him read it. “For a limited time, Jehovah has allowed rebellion against his sovereignty. Why? To show that no effort to rule without him benefits people. After 6000 years of human history, the evidence is clear. Human rulers have failed to eliminate war, crime, injustice or disease. (Read Jeremiah 10:23; Romans 9:17.)”

For me, it felt like a moment I had been waiting for all my life, but that’s possibly overstating it a touch. I went and got one of my own books and did some reciting of my own. “Genesis 1:28: God encourages reproduction. Leviticus 12:1-8: “God requires purification rites following childbirth” which, in effect, makes childbirth a sin. Genesis 11:7-9: God sows discord. Proverbs 6:16-19: God hates anyone who sows discord.” And one more I said, (he was getting a little bit frustrated at this point) “Deuteronomy 23:1: A castrate may not enter the assembly of the Lord. Isaiah 56:4-5: Some castrates will receive special rewards.”

“Listen,” I said. “You seem like a really nice man, and I think that everyone is entitled to believe what they want, unless of course it leads to the harming or exasperating of others.” I told him that the bible was as reliable as The Sunday World and how can a religion be based upon so many inconsistencies.

He went on to tell me –in fairness to him- how he believed every word of the bible. “Even Noah’s Ark?” I asked in surprise. “Of course” he replied. Ah here. “So you believe that Noah led two of every creature onto an ark to escape a flood?” “I do” he said with absolute conviction. “Have you ever tried to get a cat, nevermind two cats, to do what they’re told,” I said. “They had the help of God he replied. It was a miracle.” And then he reminded me of something else I wanted to ask him.

“Why have the miracles suddenly dried up?” I asked. “What do you mean?” he replied. “Well,” I said. The bible is full of stories of Jesus and God doing miraculous things – there are burning bushes, parting seas, healed lepers and messiahs walking on water – why has it all just stopped?” “What do you mean?” he asked with a warm smile (he really was a lovely man). “Well,” I said again. “What’s the last miracle that you’ve witnessed?” “You and I standing here is a miracle, would you not agree?” “Well I wouldn’t to be honest, it’s not really going to make Sky News is it? What I’m asking you is why all the miracles just suddenly stopped, and of course why we only have evidence of them from a bible that seems to have been written by about 500 people, all with different ideas about who God was.” With all of his well-meaning and genuine niceness, he didn’t have an answer for me on that one.

When the lights go out at night and we are left in a room with only our thoughts to keep us company, I can understand how people need to feel that there is someone up there who is watching out for us and is concerned for our wellbeing. Human are vulnerable and fragile beings, and for many people, if they didn’t have a belief, they wouldn’t have anything. And I understand that. I also understand how the majority of people only turn to that belief when they are in trouble and strife. Is it possible that for many of us, our belief in a God is down to a fear of being alone and a very real fear of death?

I asked the Jehovah Witness if he thought that people took the time to really think about the existence of God. He told me that of course they do, to which I disagreed immediately. “They just accept that there’s a God because that’s what they have been brought up to do. It’s convenient and it’s beneficial. What’s not convenient is actually thinking about the logistics of God and Heaven and the Bible…and the Devil. When you really think about all that stuff…and then you think about the sick children, then I believe you will be face with a very real and inconvenient truth.

I left the Jehovah Witness with one final word. “According to the bible, Jesus said: Love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34 – I know the bible more than most believers!) – if we can all do that, then isn’t that all that matters?”

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The referendum that the whole country is talking about at the moment – the marriage equality one, not that ridiculous president/age one – is really annoying me. I genuinely feel uncomfortable that I’m being asked to vote on something that has absolutely nothing to do with me. Seriously, what business is it of mine, a politician or some pensioner living on a farm in Mayo, if two people want to marry or not? With such a monumental, and continual lack of common sense, this country really is an embarrassment at times.

Here’s a bunch of examples, starting with the Blasphemy Law. In Ireland right now, you can be thrown in jail for blaspheming – that’s saying or writing something rude about any one of the many religions that are ‘celebrated’ in this country.

After a show I took part in recently, part of which mentioned religion, a woman came up to me and said “I really enjoyed the show, but I have to admit to being a little offended about the religion part.” I looked at her and said, ‘okay, thanks for that – all the best.’ I think she was expecting an apology. You were offended…so what? You didn’t come out in a rash or have to take a course of anti-biotics. I have one opinion, and it’s different to yours, that’s life surely?

So often we are not allowed to do and say certain things in case we offend someone. ‘You can’t say that, people will be offended.’ As a great comedian called Steve Hughes once said, “when did ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ stop being relevant?” Yes, sometimes people can say things that are a little racy and close to the bone, but if they’re on the television we can just turn them off and choose to dismiss everything that they just said – that’s the power that we have.

Walking around the supermarket on Good Friday I shook my head, in what I can only describe as contempt, when I saw the barricades surrounding the alcohol. Tourists in Dublin shook their heads in disbelief when they say that pubs in Ireland were closed all day…on a Friday. The consecutive governments that ‘run’ this country are incapable of any kind of meaningful leadership. They are afraid to be the first to do something – “Oh I don’t want to be the first person to change a law that Eamon De Valera probably signed…let’s leave that to the next crowd that are in.”

This lack of common sense from the government stems from an old fashioned, parochial way of thinking – the church’s style of thinking. It’s consistent with the church’s style of thinking in its inconsistency. What I mean by that is, there was a time when no Irish God fearing Catholic could eat meat on a Friday. Then they relaxed that to Fridays during Lent and then it was just Good Friday and Ash Wednesday. They are clearly making it up as they go along, like their government buddies.

This old fashioned way of thinking is alive and well all over our little country. The people who will vote no in the equality referendum are trying to think up reasons to validate their thought process. The reality is, in their head they’re voting ‘no’ to the very idea of gay people. They’ll never admit that of course, but when you’re voting no to something that doesn’t affect you in any shape or form, then there’s clearly something else at play. That something else is homophobia ladies and gentleman – pure and simple.

The people that say that a child needs a father and a mother, even though that’s not the issue we are being asked to vote on, are clearly up their own arses. Firstly, this notion of a child needing a father and mother is only spoken about because that’s what the majority of people are used to. Just because something has always been done a certain way, doesn’t mean that it’s the only way. That mantra that’s being thrown around is particularly disgusting because it undermines the amazing work that is done by single mothers and fathers everywhere. A child needs a mother AND a father – yeah because the mother would like a night out for herself every now and then, but that’s about it. That statement should read “In an ideal world, a child will have two parents so they can share the responsibility”. Single parents in this country deserve medals and parades, instead they are continually victimised, and pick pocketed by the government.

It’s so strange to me that we currently live in a world where there are WIFI toasters…but certain human beings are still considered unequal to others. Denying gay people the same rights as everyone else is in the same ball park as slavery, although most people will be too afraid to acknowledge that.

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Fear Everything, get nothing done.

I HEAR people talking about ‘The Fear’ quite a bit. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s a ‘condition’ that people suffer from, usually after a night of drinking and debauchery. It can leave them shrivelled up on a Sunday with a debilitating fear of even opening the curtains. I would say that most of us probably know it better as paranoia, but ‘Fear’ sufferers will tell you that it goes way beyond that.

The following are the apparent symptoms of ‘Fear’ sufferers – ‘crippling textual related paranoia’, ‘sore hair’, ‘an inability to make even the smallest decisions’, ‘your skin feels like someone else’s’, ‘sense of impending doom’, ‘a feeling that everyone is out to get you’, ‘chronic sighing’, ‘extreme remorse over things you may or may not have said/done’, ‘regular flashbacks’ and an unreasonable need for salt and vinegar soaked chips, probably from Dooleys and Dooleys only.

I think The Fear is probably heightened among those with latent depressive tendencies so they could probably benefit from having a long, hard look at themselves, and maybe speaking to a professional.

I suffer from a form of ‘The Fear’ myself but it’s quite different and has absolutely nothing to do with alcohol. Let’s see if any of you share these tendencies. Let’s get them out in the open so we can all feel better about ourselves.

I fear happiness. I spent a large part of my life ducking and diving to prevent the consequences of a degenerate gambling addiction. It may not always have been as bad as that, in fact I’m certain it wasn’t, but that’s definitely how it felt at the time. A number of years on from that, if things start going right for me, I immediately feel that something disastrous is going to happen. For example, I spent a large portion of my life with no money, so if I have some now, then the belief is that I probably won’t have it for long. If I find myself smiling for no apparent reason as I walk down the street, it means that life is actually okay, and now I’m probably going to get a bang of a bus.

I don’t think I’m alone with this particular fear, and I know it’s incredibly irrational, but that’s not going to stop me feeling it. The fact is, I’m a constant worrier. My naïve belief is that if I worry about something, then the shock of it won’t be so great when it inevitably happens.

They say that some people are never happy, and even though I wouldn’t go to that extreme, I can understand the premise behind the feeling. I don’t get sick too often, as in I rarely get flus and I haven’t been admitted to hospital for any reason since I was a toddler. However, as a result of this, I regularly worry that there’s a big illness around the corner for me. I’m a relatively intelligent person so this is a ridiculous thing to be carrying around with me, but such is life – don’t they say we all have our crosses to bear.

New Year’s Eve, when people were celebrating and contemplating the potential of a brand new year, I worried about all the prospective heartache that 2015 could bring. Everyone in your life is going to die at some point…there will be funerals and there will be pain…but why am I worrying about them before they even happen? I have been quoted as saying “I can really understand why people choose to live on their own, without family or friends.” What I mean by that is, a person who lives on their own, without much companionship or support, only has to worry about their own wellbeing. The burden of bereavement is not on them, and I suppose that’s the only positive side to living the life of a hermit.

Back in December, the Irish Times ran a brilliant piece called “The anatomy of a car crash”, which told the story, from every possible angle, of the first fatal car crash of 2014. Everyone was interviewed, from witnesses to emergency responders and undertakers. It was a brilliant, raw piece of Journalism, and it scared the bejesus out of me. Whilst reading the account of the crash I could almost smell the crash site. Predictably enough, this sent me into a spiral of worry about those close to me and the potential of one of them ending up in one of these devastating scenarios.

Something tragic IS going to happen this year, there’s just no way to avoid it – and for some reason, that terrifies me. I, and I’m sure a hell of a lot of other people, need to learn to just enjoy every day as it is. Enjoy your health while you have it and all that jazz.

In an ideal world, I’d be able to take every day as it comes and just enjoy all the many good things that life has to offer. When the bad things come along, I will just have to deal with them as they happen. This isn’t an ideal world though is it?

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The world before that thing in your hand

I’VE touched on this before, but now it shall get it’s own column. Can you think of any other invention, since the wheel or the George Foreman grill, that has changed our lives so significantly. We, and me especially, cannot go anywhere or do anything with out our phones in our hands. Think about all the things that we do now, with the phone, that we never dreamed of doing before. And then think about the things that we don’t do anymore, because the phone has taken over.

I’ll deal with that first. I remember the days when I could watch an entire football match, on teletext. I would sit there staring at the screen, occasionally glancing down at a book, waiting for a score to change. Nowadays if the game isn’t on telly, we’ll have alerts set up on our phone, or we’ll be able to check the score whilst scooting around Tesco. And staying with Teletext for a minute, the only games we played with a remote control before the phone came along was bamboozle on Channel 4’s teletext.

We had to work a lot harder for our enjoyment before the smart phone came along. If we wanted to sing a song properly we had to painstakingly take down all the lyrics whilst risking breakage to the pause button on the cassette/CD player. If we heard a song that we loved on the radio we had to sing it to people to try and get the name of it and then we had to order it from KG Discs and wait ‘until Friday’ before it arrived. The lingerie section of a Kay’s catalogue was the closest thing we had to porn, but we made do! We were made to work for the pleasures in our life, and they were all the better for it.

We knew absolutely everything there was to know about shampoo, mouthwash and toothpaste, because that’s all we had to read when we were on the toilet. And speaking of having things to read, what about the poor Encyclopaedia? Those poor bastards never saw their redundancies coming!

We rang people’s houses, praying that their parent’s wouldn’t answer. We had conversations on the house phone and dragged the wire to almost snapping point so we could lock ourselves in a room for a bit of privacy. We didn’t take pictures of absolutely every bloody thing!

This is a big one actually. In addition to pictures of our food and cats, everyone is now taking pictures of their…how shall I say…’private places’. This wasn’t something that was attempted before the smart phone, unless you were willing to get the film developed in the local chemist.

We met people in a way that is totally frowned upon in the age of the smart phone – we talked to strangers. “Would you like to go for a drink sometime?” “Christ no…” Well at least I gave it a go. Today, the equivalent is swiping left and right on a demon app called “Tinder”. Online dating was downright laughed at before the smart phone arrived. Now it’s somehow acceptable, and dare I say, normal.

Life was more genuine before the internet and it’s buddy the smart phone came along. People faded in and out of your life because that’s just the way it was supposed to be. Now they’re your ‘friend’ on Facebook and you can never get rid of them. I put that in inverted commas because your friends are the people that come to your funeral, not post a candle to your page and say how much of a legend you are.

Phones are great and all, and I know I’d feel like I had lost a limb if I had to go without mine, but it really has changed us all hasn’t it? Before, if you were having a blast of pints and were feeling worse for wear, there wasn’t a whole lot – outside of drunkenly breaking the law – that you could do to make your situation any worse. Now, with the smart phone in your hand, you can let out all those feelings that were never meant to see the light of day. That EX that you can’t seem to get over -I think she’d really love to hear from you at 3am. Send her an epic essay of a text about how there will never be another like her and how you should, five years later, maybe give it another go. Ya see, before the smartphone…before text messages, whatsapp and viber, there was no way that you were going to drunkenly stumble over to her front door and say this to her in person. And if you were to do that, maybe the relationship was worth another shot after all.

I love the phone – to say otherwise would be to tell lies. However, I hate the fact that my thousands of CDs are upstairs gathering dust now. I hate that my DVDs are in the process of suffering the same fate. I embrace advancement, but not at the risk of losing personal connections and the thrill that we derive from embarking on a real life adventure…even if that just involves talking to a stranger or writing a letter.

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The Confession Box

mars bars
CONFESSION…they say…is good for the soul. Honesty…they say…is the best policy. A few weeks ago I asked aloud who “they” were, and I’m afraid to say I still don’t have the answer. In this case though, “they” are absolutely correct – honesty is indeed the best policy.
It’s time to “fess” up. What little crimes and misdemeanours are you guilty of but wouldn’t be so forthcoming in telling the world? Do you steal the occasional sweet from the pick ‘n’ mix? Do you wash only one hand after going to the toilet because you only used one hand to wipe? (Dirty) Do you pee in the shower? Actually don’t even attempt to deny that one – everyone does it and with the introduction of water charges, it now makes economic sense.
I had to make a confession to my dentist recently. I was having some problems with a tooth that needed filling so in a desperate attempt to avoid him at all costs I filled the tooth myself with some kind of pharmacy-approved Polyfilla. That was never going to work so I inevitably ended up on my back in the dentist’s chair – possibly the most vulnerable position there is. “You tried to fill this yourself didn’t you?” Mr Dentist asked. He knew damn well I tried to fill it myself. I would have taken it out with a black and decker drill and some whiskey if the pain got any worse. He made me confess. And then he made me confess to not brushing three times a day and eating the occasional Kinder Bueno. And the intermittent sip of coke. I left a broken man.
For my next confession, I have to revisit my teens, and a time in my life, which seemed pretty dark back then but frankly, when I look back now, it’s bloody hilarious. But first, some background.
My very first job, that I can remember anyway, was travelling around in the back of van renting videos to people. I’d go up and knock on a door, ask if you wanted to rent a video, and out they’d come to look at the selection in the back of the van. A few nights later we’d come back and collect the video before giving them the chance to rent another. If you were a trusted customer you might even rent two. My next job is where the confession comes in. I was about 15 or 16 and I started working in a fairly high profile supermarket in the town. I was a self-titled trolley technician – in other words, I collected all the trollies from the car park and arranged them in a nice convenient line. The pay was chronic – something like 1.76 an hour, which was crap, even for the mid 90s. I remember buying some kind of double album with my first pay packet – the best driving anthems in the world ever, or some rubbish like that. Anyway, a few months into the job I discovered that there was quite a culture of theft taking place in the supermarket. CCTV wasn’t as prevalent as it is nowadays and apparently “everyone was at it”. One Friday night the chap I worked most closely with – my trolley technician superior if you will – decided that he fancied a box of Mars Bars. “It’ll be easy,” he said. “Just fling them over the gate to me and we’ll collect them in the bin after work.” I haven’t a notion why I went along for the ride, I mean who really needs a box of Mars Bars, but hey, I was 15 and impressionable. Anyway, just as I was flinging the box over the gate, the manager just happened to be walking past the entrance to the stock room – I can still remember his ugly face catching me rotten. We were both flung into the office and I was accused of being the ring leader, just because the other chap was quiet and I was a mouthacán. So, we were sacked and it was all anyone could talk about in school on Monday. For about three weeks I had the nickname “Skelly Mars Bars”, mainly by the other people in my class who also worked in that supermarket. They called me that constantly, until they were sacked a few weeks later themselves for stealing a box of baileys. They became “The Baileys Six” and the Mars Bars were forgotten about forever.
I haven’t stolen anything since that incident, but I have to admit, until the day I die, I’ll always be tempted to throw a bag of sticks and a bale of briquettes into the boot of the car. I mean come on, they leave them sitting outside of the shop! I will of course never do such a thing because that would be theft and highly immoral – I’m just confessing to the temptation. Okay I lied there. I’ve stolen a bit more since the Mars bars – mainly tiny segments of butter in cafés and the occasional raspberry jam. Sorry about that.
Here’s another one for ya. Did you know that supermarkets are trying to clamp down on people who open up their groceries along the way and then scan the empty bags at the til? This is particularly common with parents who give their child a bag from the multi-pack crisps to keep them quiet on the spin around the aisles. Apparently there has been an increase in people just dumping half eaten doughnuts and biscuits before they get to the til. Down with that sort of thing.
Confession is good for the soul

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Why Irish Water can F**k off.

WATER Meters are on their way to Waterford. Last week we saw them TRY to make their way into Ferrybank (Waterford/Kilkenny/on the ground somewhere between two stools), but the strong-willed residents were having none of it. Let’s get one thing clear right now, these people are not protesting about just another bill, they are protesting about a company that is anything but as transparent as the water that they will be charging us for. Here are some reasons why we need to be halting Irish Water in their tracks.
Why pay for bad water?
This is what the people of Ferrybank are especially angry about. A number of years ago, Kilkenny County Council changed the water supply that enters homes all over Ferrybank and Slieverue, without asking anyone’s permission. They made a decision, that would ultimately cost homeowners a fortune, and there was nothing that anyone could do or say about it. Lime in the water is causing a build-up of limescale in kettles, shower heads, washing machines, dishwashers and also the pipes that run throughout the house. The lime dramatically reduces the life span of the pipes and the appliances and they all need constant replacing. And for the privilege of receiving water that is ruining your home, you must now pay Irish Water. You can see why one would protest.
Dangerous Water Meters?
So-called ‘Smart Meters’ have been withdrawn from countries such as Australia and America because of potentially dangerous radiation that they emit on a regular basis. Irish Water are on record as saying, “Our meters are not smart meters. We use analogue meters with AMR technology for meter readings.” Irish Water have also said “The meters will provide automated meter readings which will emit signals, which the reader will be able to collect digitally.” I always thought that digital was the opposite of analogue but sure I might be wrong. The disadvantages of AMR meter readings are “Loss of privacy – details of use reveal information about user activities“ “Greater potential for monitoring by other/unauthorized third parties” “Reduced reliability (more complicated meters, more potential for interference by third parties)” and “Increased security risks from network or remote access”.
A company built on lies
It has cost €180 million to set up Irish Water. €86million of that was spent on consultants, which included €32million on IT, €13 million on economic advice, €12million on billing and registration and €8million on support services. Phil Hogan, the man whose department oversaw this spending claimed that he wasn’t aware of how much money was being spent by Irish Water, until it was revealed that he actually signed off on it all. After his lie was exposed, Mr. Hogan commented “You can’t make and omelette without breaking eggs.”
Additionally, after being told that Irish Water staff wouldn’t be paid exorbitant wages, we have learned that 42 staff will earn between €70K and €80K, 35 will earn between €80K and €90K, 21 will earn between €90K and €100K, 19 will earn between €100K and €125K, 9 will earn between €125K and €150K and 1 person will earn over €150K. Most staff members are also entitled to performance related bonuses. Nice work if you can get it.
PPS Numbers
Irish Water’s will be the first ever utility bill that will ask for your PPS number. The reason for this, they say, is so they can “assign allowances per household so each household is to receive 30,000 litres for free and every child in the state is to have free water.” That’s all well and good but for me, that’s the equivalent of handing someone your wallet on a promise that they’re only going to use your library card. According to Irish Water’s Data Protection Page, they say the following “The Data that we collect from you may be transferred to, and stored at, a destination outside the European Economic Area (EEA). It may also be processed by staff operating outside of the EEA, who works for us or one of our suppliers.” That doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence.
Don’t forget Siemens
There seems to be so much controversy around Irish Water that each time a new one rears its ugly head we seem to forget about the others. Personally, I can’t seem to forget that German infrastructure and energy giant Siemens offered to foot the €810m-plus cost of installing meters in 1.3 million Irish homes back in 2010, but Phil Hogan decided not to pursue the option. Instead, the Irish people had to foot the bill. And we will continue to foot the bill for many years to come. If, for example, people start to become frugal with their water consumption, then Irish Water will have the right to increase their bills. All this set up money has to be recouped somehow you know. The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), which already decides on price increases for electricity and gas, confirmed that under its plans, Irish Water will be given the flexibility to raise water charges annually if revenue from households is less than expected. Doesn’t that just piss you off? How is it different to a restaurant charging you more for your steak because you didn’t get a starter and a bottle of wine to go with it?
More than anything else, I hate the fact that people who are protesting about Irish Water are being made to look like radicals by our Government. You only have to look at how our state-owned broadcaster refused to cover an anti-water charges march on the capital that was attended by thousands. What are they afraid of?
I strongly believe that the carry-on of the government and Irish Water wouldn’t be accepted in another country, so we shouldn’t accept it here.

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