SIR –I have to wonder why Fine Gael sticks by an unpopular water policy, one which caused them great damage in the general election. It may be that a reviled quango answers to four demands or requirements, which the Government is bound to satisfy.
The first two of these four are tied for first place:
1a: EU law and the contract with the Troika both limit the amount of borrowing the Irish State can do, which in turn limits the amount of deficit spending it can do. The Irish State can only borrow so much and no more, with the result that the State can’t borrow the money to finance the upgrade of water and wastes treatment facilities in the country to a standard satisfying EU directives. By privatising the treatment and delivery of water, the law creates a corporation which can borrow (issue bonds) on its own account quite separately from the state in order to improve the water system in Ireland.
1b: A quango is jobs for the boys and salaries are not tied in any way to efficiency or performance.
2: A handy way for a debtor State to raise money to pay off its debts is to sell off the nation’s patrimony. If water treatment and delivery are privatised, this service is disentangled from the state and can be sold to satisfy debts incurred by the State when, for example, relieving the country’s banks of their debts.
3: The penalty for failing to act in timely fashion on an EU directive is a fine.