Monday 23 October 2017

There will be even further waste if Irish Water is abandoned now

The incapacity of political system to make practical decisions is highlighted again in the utility shambles

'Curious political phenomenon': Protestors take their anti-water charge campaign to Dublin's streets in a bid to have the controversial charge dropped
'Curious political phenomenon': Protestors take their anti-water charge campaign to Dublin's streets in a bid to have the controversial charge dropped
Colm McCarthy

Colm McCarthy

The latest stand-off over Irish Water is lamentable. If the supply of electricity in Ireland was in the hands of local authorities, with no national grid and no centralised planning, some bright spark would suggest that a single state monopoly be established, led by engineers rather than politicians, to bring order to the mess. And this is precisely what happened, all of 90 years ago.

When the ESB was established under an act of the Oireachtas in 1927, it took over from hundreds of small electricity companies, including 16 county and city councils. It acquired power stations, including, would you believe, a coal-fired unit on Dublin's Fleet Street belonging to Dublin Corporation.

The coal station was just behind the Bank of Ireland's College Green branch and is now a supermarket. The electricity industry was fragmented and inefficient. Outside the main cities supply was simply unavailable and it took the ESB 30 years to bring electric power to rural Ireland on any scale.

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