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The latest article by Juno McEnroe, ‘Irish Water: Utility a persistent unmitigated disaster’ (Irish Examiner, July 29) has stimulated reflection.
The government plan to provide the country with an efficient and affordable water system is based on the wrong idea: ie, that Irish citizens would be the major investors in this initiative.
Various Irish governments waited too long t o develop a water service adequate for a modern and advanced country. Calling in a semi-private corporation to tackle this problem has proven to be wrong. This plan has failed at a national level and at a European level: only 46% of households have paid their bills. Imagine that happening with electricity or gas bills! And look at Eurostat’s reaction! As a result, Irish citizens have the same, or a worse, water system.
There are three reasons for this failure:
a. Irish politicians woke up to the needs of the water system too recently.
b. The subsequent approach was too lighthanded. It isn’t realistic to upgrade the national water system quickly.
c. It was not realistic to expect people to pay their bills before the service was even implemented.
All of this reveals, once again, short-sightedness and lack of vision. There is no shortcut to solving these kinds of problems.
Upgrading water services should be a long-term objective and it requires a vision and strategy that will be followed up by several governments.
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