Despite spending €50m on consultants and €20,000 on a logo bearing the Gaelic translation — Uisce Éireann — of its name, Irish Water failed to safeguard options on an internet domain.
Eight months ago Kieran McCarthy, from Youghal, found that uisceeireann.com remained unregistered. He promptly bought the domain for €12.95.
The 43 year-old says he registered the name “mostly for devilment”.
“It’s basic stuff to safeguard a trade name or domain as quickly as possible but these agencies tend to make big announcements and ignore the obvious.”
Compounding the oversight, Environment Minister Phil Hogan had indicated in the Dáil in 2011 that Irish Water would acquire a Gaelic name after Uisce Éireann had been proposed in a report by the Joint Committee on Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht.
The designer has flooded the uisceeireann.com with Irish Water-related feed, automatically uploaded from Twitter, You Tube and newspaper reports. However, most of the commentary is not what the ‘real’ Uisce Éireann would want floating about.
The Corkman is not the only one to pull the plug on domain options. Borduisce.com was appropriated after early suggestions it would be the company’s identity. Irishwater.com carries bottled water advertisements, Irishwater.ie belongs to Spring Water and uisce-eireann.ie is also a water products site.
Perhaps having run dry on options, Irish Water is registered as water.ie, “which is fairly ridiculous,” observes Mr McCarthy.
Meanwhile, Irish Water as a trade mark application is still pending, which further dilutes the company’s legal standing.
Mr McCarthy recalls a similar situation when the ‘Bertie Bowl’ was first mooted as Stadium Ireland. “Immediately someone registered stadiumireland.com and I believe it cost the government about €30,000 to buy it back!”
The designer does not expect a buyout from Irish Water — or even from Uisce Éireann — but says he would go with the flow if one were to surface.