Reports abound that Irish Water is to die. Fianna Fáil has made Irish Water’s scrapping a pre-condition of any coalition, and sources around Fine Gael are fairly happy to see this toxic object redeveloped, at least in some way. The strategic interaction of the party blocs, the media, and the electorate has cast paying water charges into a mire of uncertainty, forcing the Taoiseach to plead with people to continue to pay their water bills.
All of a sudden, even that slight majority of people who were paying water charges have good reason to doubt whether paying for water services is worth it anymore. Surely if Irish Water is redesigned in some way, water charges of some type will have to keep being made to households and businesses?
There is no point debating how Irish Water should have been set up, or could have been set up. The fact is that it exists today, doing its work at some level of efficiency, what level that might be is anyone’s guess.
What is worth debating is what the likely effects of turning a long run infrastructural investment vehicle, however poorly designed and implemented, into a short term political football, might be.