Public Meeting with Cllr Brid Smith & Nicky Coules on “Water: Privatisation or Conservation”

The People Before Profit Alliance held a public meeting in the Maldron Hotel, Tallaght on Thursday last, Feb. 6th at 8.00p.m. The meeting was addressed by Brid Smith, People Before Profit candidate for the Dublin constituency in next May’s European elections.

Nicky Coules, PBP local election candidate for Tallaght South also spoke. He said that the Labour Party faced a hammering in May’s elections because of its failure to act as a brake on Fine Gael as they forced austerity on ordinary people. This, he said, gives an opportunity to People Before Profit to have candidates elected across the country. He called on people to join PBP and work for victory.

Brid Smith spoke on the issue of water charges, on the theme of Water: Conservation or Privatisation. She said that government policy on water has little to do with conservation and everything to do with privatisation. In the area of waste collection, for instance, privatisation has led to fly tipping and the trucks of various waste disposal companies going up and down roads in estates duplicating each others work. Regarding water, metering doesn’t save water it just monitors its use. In the U.S., for example, where nearly all homes are metered, the usage is twice to three times that of Ireland. If this government was serious about conservation they would initiate a scheme of retro fitting of dual flush toilets in existing buildings. Rainfall harvesting should be promoted. Up to 300 litres could be stored in houses and be used for non drinking use. There are many such areas that haven’t even been discussed.

Phil Hogan’s strategy, in setting up Irish Water, has been to create a gravy train. She instanced John Tierney, the new company’s main man, on 200,000 euro a year. Tierney in his previous job as Dublin City manager over saw the spending of 90 million euro of public money in building a waste incinerator at Poolbeg that may never see the light of day.29 lucky executives are each getting over 100,000 euro a year. The consulting companies are doing nicely out of it, with IBM getting a cool 44 millions. Another outfit, Accenture, got 17 million. Ernst & Young, the accountants who signed off on Anglo Irish’s dodgy accounts have been rewarded with 4.6 millions. She concluded by calling for the local and Euro elections to be turned into a referendum on austerity and the water charge. What we need, she said “is a campaign of mass protest and civil disobedience.”

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