Water Torture Coup de Grace

July 29, 2015

FG/LB shambles re Irish Water continues. In 2013/14 investment in Irish Water dropped from €600m+ to €300m+. To balance this drop in funding FG/LB touted the notion that Irish Water would be able to massively invest in off balance funding of Irish Water with the costs of this to be borne by the new Irish Water entity. They went ahead and proceeded to fund Irish water with loans obtained on a commercial basis from Irish banks.

'Whoa! Half empty! Definitely half empty!'

‘Whoa! Half empty! Definitely half empty!’

““The ability to access private sector financing in order to invest in improving Ireland’s water infrastructure was a key reason for the establishment of Irish Water. The funds we are borrowing will be used to address decades of underinvestment. The signing of this facility demonstrates confidence in the Irish Water strategy and its ability to borrow competitively from commercial banks. Lenders understand the long-term and sustainable utility model that we have adopted,” said Michael O’Sullivan, group finance director of Ervia, Irish Water’s parent company.”

http://www.irishtimes.com/business/energy-and-resources/irish-water-signs-100m-loan-facility-with-ulster-bank-1.2101187

Phil Coulter “Cool Clear Water”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDuWhUpOqJs

In November 2014, I blogged:

“Irish Water mess deepens. Apparently the cost of installing meters was understated by €100ml or 25% over the original guesstimate. https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/irish-water-parent-company-defends-100m-extra-for-meters-1.2012959 This came by the usual route. Once taxpayers are on the hook, another 25-30% can be leached from them with no one to say BOO. Don’t ask to what extent consultants costing extra €86 ml were involved in that decision.

Then it was decided we would not use the meters!

There was a time in this democracy when an increase in vat imposed on children’s shoes would bring down a government. Hardly an eyebrow is raised at the billions shovelled to bondholders, millions to consultants, with the prospect of further billions to be leached from taxpayers by Irish Water.

Have a look at this and look fondly back at the time we had democracy and not Endocracy a la Enda Kenny.

http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1997/en/act/pub/0029/

“LOCAL GOVERNMENT (FINANCIAL PROVISIONS) ACT, 1997

AN ACT TO ENABLE LOCAL AUTHORITIES TO ENJOY THE REVENUES FROM DUTIES CHARGED UNDER THE FINANCE (EXCISE DUTIES) (VEHICLES) ACT, 1952 , AND FROM DUTIES AND FEES CHARGED UNDER CERTAIN OTHER ENACTMENTS, TO REMOVE THE POWER OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES TO MAKE CHARGES FOR THE SUPPLY OF WATER FOR DOMESTIC PURPOSES OR FOR THE DISPOSAL OF DOMESTIC SEWAGE, TO ENABLE STEPS TO BE TAKEN FOR THE PURPOSE OF SECURING THE PROVISION BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES OF SERVICES IN A MORE ECONOMICAL AND EFFICIENT MANNER, TO OTHERWISE MAKE PROVISION IN RELATION TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT (IN PARTICULAR FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENSURING THAT THE REVENUES FROM DUTIES AND FEES AFORESAID ARE APPORTIONED AMONG LOCAL AUTHORITIES ON AN EQUITABLE AND FAIR BASIS) AND TO PROVIDE FOR RELATED MATTERS. [20th May, 1997]”

Is Irish Water illegal and can it be challenged in court under the above provision.

On December 10 we need 10 out of ten people in Ireland to come out and object to the scandalous mess of Irish Water. Its reckoned the cost of setting up Irish Water will take 10 years of charges without one penny spent of the required billions to fund infrastructural development, that’s just to pay for the quango and the cost of keeping the mess tipping over.

http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/Environment/Water/FileDownLoad,38716,en.pdf

The funding model of Irish Water makes an interesting read. Irish Water will be funded not only by the water tax charges levied on taxpayers by regressive taxation forcing Joe Soap, unemployed, to pay the same charge on his home without a swimming pool, as that payable by Bono, a tax exile. But it will be funded by government taxpayers money.

” Government decided that it would provide annual operating funding to
Irish Water in 2015 and 2016 (“Operating Funding”)”

“The Minister for Finance has sought the approval
of the Government to provide such moneys to Irish Water and the Government decided that
it would provide an amount of equity in 2014 to Irish Water (“Capital Funding”)”

In order to borrow the billions required to develop the water infrastructure currently envisaged by Irish Water it must satisfy certain European requirements:

“In addition, the Government decision in relation to Capital Funding has been framed on the basis that the Capital Funding provided to Irish Water will be classified in Government accounts as an acquisition of equity (which would not impact on GGDeficit) as opposed to a capital transfer (which would impact on GGDeficit). This classification is only likely to be accepted by Eurostat if Irish Water is a market producer and the Government can show it is acting as a rational investor in providing the Capital Funding. If reasonable investment returns are not expected to be made then the investment will be considered as a capital transfer not an acquisition of equity.”

In today’s financial world where black is often termed to be white it’s not at all certain that Irish Water will fail the test to prove it a viable concern for European investment funding.

It’s transparently obvious to this writer that given the back-end funding of Irish Water by way of both Capital Funding and Operating Funding and the cap on increases in water levy charges into 2015/16/17, that Irish Water by no means can deliver a ‘reasonable investment return’ without Enron accounting practices.

Neither this state nor Europe should invest in this awful mess. Europeans pay water charges and do not pay through the nose for water with their taxes. We pay for both through taxes and quangos….

Enda Kenny has holed Fine Gael under the water line with this Irish Water debacle.”

At this point it is crucial to assess the damage to Irish taxpayer liabilities provided by this debacle.

“It is likely, therefore, that the interest rate to be applied on Irish Water’s €550m borrowings this year will be in excess of the 1pc applied to Government borrowings and also more than the 2.5pc rate applied to Irish Water loans from the National Pension Reserve Fund under the old financial model.”

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/water/irish-water-crisis/total-debt-at-underpressure-irish-water-now-tops-850m-31387172.html

It’s clear the establishment of Irish Water was designed by FG/LB to follow the road of privatisation with self-sustaining commercial borrowing as a foundation for future selling off of this state asset. The true extra cost of ‘commercial borrowing’ is not being released on grounds of ‘commercial sensitivity’. The Orwellian and dictatorial anti democratic nature of the Irish Water debacle has now come home to roost.

Eurostat decision to refuse to grant Irish Water take Irish Water into off-balance accounting must surely be the coup de grace for Irish Water.

It’s a pity Eurostat had not similar powers to refuse the Irish government’s guarantee taking over €440bn of contingent liabilities in the banking sector onto the shoulders of Irish taxpayers.

Even NAMA succeeded in passing the Eurostat tests and having its €67bn paid for matched by assets in bank property securities getting approval from Eurostat.

The extent of incompetence represented by Irish Water at the political level is rivalled only with the programme of Universal health care for under sixes blocking doctor’s surgeries with rich kids availing of free medical care while those with real medical need, the old, sick and disabled, lie on hospital trollies, or waiting lists awaiting important surgery or urgent medical reports/tests.

But Irish Water wins out as an Enda Kenny vanity project the scrapping of which would be a very smart move for FG/LB, little risk of that here so far.

The Irish people who’ve already rejected Irish Water will give their verdict on FG/LB and supporters of Irish Water at the next election.

 

 

Till again

 

 

http://www.independent.ie/business/world/government-accounting-hides-scale-of-offbalance-sheet-debts-26647973.html

http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/opinion-eurostat-decision-on-irish-water-fuels-political-storm-1.2299965

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