Only 47% register with Irish water

Press Statement: Anti-Austerity Alliance (2nd February 2015)

CSO & EPA studies show Irish Water understating by 260,000 the number of houses which need to register

· Irish Water refuse to reply to information supplied to them by AAA despite give assurances they would by last Friday

· Registration figures if taken at face value are a disaster for Irish Water.

The Anti-Austerity Alliance has today posed serious questions of Irish Water’s registration figures which they claim underestimate the number of houses which need to register by 15%, and have said that Irish Water have so far refused to reply to them when they presented this information to them despite saying that they would by last Friday.

Irish water confirmed at a briefing in the Dail on Wed 21st of January that they sent out 2.1m packs which corresponds with ESB Networks who have 2.12m domestic connections. From that Irish Water have a target customer base of 1.52m or 72% of the total.

Yet the CSO in the report “Roof Over Our Heads” published following the 2011 Census shows that 84.4% of the 2 million homes they surveyed at the time were connected to either a Mains Water Supply or a Local Authority Group Water Scheme and all are now liable to become Irish Water Customers. The EPA put the figure at 87.4% in a 2012 report. Irish Water have accepted at the Dail briefing that Local Authority owned Group Water Schemes customers are also liable to register with them.

Working off the more conservative CSO figure of 84.4% then the Irish Water Customer base is 1.78 million (out of the 2.1m) of which 1.52 million is only 85%.

Paul Murphy TD said: “”Irish Water are understating their potential customer base by 260,000 houses or 15% in order that they can claim that over 50% of households have registered. As with all wars the first casualty is truth and unfortunately despite Irish Waters best attempts to show otherwise these figures prove that they are not telling the truth about their registration rate.

Paul Murphy went on to say “Irish Water indicate they now have 837,000 houses registered which at 47% is clearly still well below the psychologically important 50% and this is after two deadlines have passed”.

“The one thing which is clear is that even if you took Irish Water’s figures at face value then the registration process has still been a failure and there is a massive boycott underway. The real boycott will take place in April. Our message to people who have registered is that they can still be part of this campaign by boycotting the bills in April and May.”

AAA Councillor Michael O’Brien said: “Irish Water are deliberately understating the number of houses which have to register with them so that they can increase the registration figure before today’s deadline. On Wednesday 21st of January, I presented to John Tierney and Elizabeth Arnett the information which was collated by my colleague Councillor Mick Murphy from the CSO/EPA etc on the number of houses which are connected to the public system and would need to register. They assured us that they would get back to us. Then on Wednesday last week they called to say they would respond to us by Friday but we heard nothing back. It seems that they are giving us the run around so that we could not contradict their numbers in the days leading up to the deadline.

“Today you have had a full on media offensive from them, along with government figures like Senator Lorraine Higgins who makes false claims that people would lose the Children’s Water Allowance if they didn’t register despite the fact that the allowance was done away with last December.

“Our message to people is to stand firm and refuse to register or pay and we can defeat Irish Water.”