Ordinary householders to pick up bill for consultants, high salaries and ultimate privatisation

water billIn a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, for the People Before Profit Alliance has responded to comments made today by John Tierney, the head of Irish Water, that it paid out €50 million to consultants last year, describing the extent of the payments as an “utter scandal.” Deputy Boyd Barrett said also that Mr Tierney’s reassurances that Irish Water would not be privatised were “meaningless.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett said the revelation about such high payments were early evidence that Irish Water was yet “another trough for the pigs to feed from” and that “once again struggling families and households will be asked to pick up the bill for this greed and for the theft of a public resource.”

“Hundreds of thousands of families will have another intolerable burden placed on them in the autumn of this year when water charges are introduced. Now we discover that money they are being forced to fork out in property taxes and will be forced to pay in water charges, are not going to provide local services or to fix our decrepit water infrastructure, but instead will be lining the pockets of consultants and high-paid executives – let’s not forget Mr Tierney will also be getting €200,000 per year and god knows who else will getting big pay-outs in Irish Water. ”

“We were lied to about the property tax and told the money would go into better local services. Yet not a single extra sent has gone to local authorities. Instead, that money has been used to pay consultants who have organised a massive hand-over of public assets and infrastructure to this new “business”, as Mr Tierney described it.”

“The use of the term “business” by Mr Tierney to describe Irish Water, and these big pay-outs to consultants, gives the lie to his meaningless assurances that Irish Water will not be privatized. The fact that Irish water is to be insulated from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and any proper oversight is further proof that Irish water is being prepared for ultimate privatization. Once money starts to change hands for a public resource, it becomes a business and all the rules of business apply – both EU competition rules but also the laws of profit first.”

“It is a heist which the mafia could be proud of to arrange the handover of €2 billion worth of public assets and resources, in the case of Dublin city alone and billions more nation-wide, to this company, where there will be no public oversight whatsoever. Householders will be squeezed for hundreds of millions every year to enrich this business and the various consultant and contractor hanger’s on that will benefit from the money the public are forced to pay out.”

“The revelation last year that one of the contracts for putting down water meters went to a Company, Sierra, owned by Denis O Brien, who received a write-down of €110 million of its debts to Anglo-Irish bank, was another indication of the massive rip-off of the public that is entailed in the setting up of Irish water and the planned introduction of water charges.”

“One of our most precious and natural resources and vital pieces of infrastructure is being stolen from under our noses and, as if that isn’t bad enough, we are being asked to pay the thieves for organizing the robbery. Really, you couldn’t make this stuff up.”