November 1: O’Dea lambasts Irish Water’s ‘pure balderdash’

Limerick Fianna Fáil Deputy Willie O’Dea told the Dáil he will not submit his PPS No. when he registers his home with Irish Water.

Limerick Fianna Fáil Deputy Willie O’Dea told the Dáil he will not submit his PPS No. when he registers his home with Irish Water.

Speaking during a debate on a Fianna Fáil motion, he said he had received no coherent explanation from Irish Water as to why he, as a citizen, should submit his PPS number and he had absolutely no intention of doing so.

“At the end of the day, when I get my water bill I will pay it, but I will deduct the allowance to which I am legally entitled,” he said.

“At that point Irish Water with its serried armies of consultants laden down with taxpayers’ largesse, employees laden down with bonuses and directors, who regard their responsibility as of such importance that it is only secondary to driving the Minister’s car, can all come after me if they wish.”

Deputy O’Dea said he was lucky enough to own a second house in Limerick and he has had it converted to use as a constituency office.

“I wanted an answer to the simple question as to how that is treated for water tax purposes,” he said.

“Is it in the same category as a holiday home? Is it an unoccupied building? What is it exactly? The gentleman who answered said, ‘Well, Deputy, that’s a very interesting question, but I can’t answer it. I’ll have to put you on to somebody higher up’.

“He duly put me on to somebody higher up and the reply I got from the somebody higher up was, ‘Well, Deputy, that is a most interesting question, but we don’t have the answer to it. I’ll have to put you further up again’.

“So I went up and up; I almost finished on the roof. Eventually when I got to the key man he told me - guess what – ‘That’s a very interesting question. I don’t have the answer, but give me your mobile phone number and I’ll ring you back within the hour’.

“That was five weeks ago and I have not heard a word back from that man since.”

Undeterred by his failure in that regard, because of countless constituents who have queried why they need to submit their PPS numbers, Deputy O’Dea contacted Irish Water again with a simple question: Why do people, for example, those who are being assessed and who know what their liability will be, have to submit their PPS numbers?

“I got straight through to the top on this occasion, I am glad to say,” he said.

“The gentleman’s first response was shameless blackmail.

“He said, ‘You go and tell your constituents that if they don’t give their PPS numbers, they won’t get their allowances’.

“I reminded him that was not the question I asked him at all; I wanted a clear rationale for why people had to submit their PPS numbers.

“He went into an explanation and to my amazement I could not understand the language he was speaking. After a while I figured it out; it was a variant of the English language, called incoherent gibberish.

“I would have been better off if the man had been talking Swahili because then I would know why I did not understand what he was saying.

“George Orwell said the function of political language is often ‘to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind’. If that is the case, the function of the language of Irish Water is to give the appearance of pure balderdash to - well - pure balderdash.”

O’Donovan calls for removal of third level qualification from Seanad elections

It is grossly undemocratic that a person can get a vote in the Seanad on the basis of an academic qualification, Limerick Fine Gael Deputy Patrick O’Donovan toll the Dáil.

Speaking during a debate on a Sinn Fein motion on Seanad reform, he said it harks back to a measure of which the apartheid regime in South Africa would have been proud, or the Ulster Unionists in the old Stormont Assembly.

Seanad elections should take place on the same day as the general election, he said. “Some members are of the opinion that allowing councillors only to vote is a bad development. I draw their attention to the Belgian and German Senates, which are elected by regional assemblies. What is wrong with people being indirectly elected by people who are themselves directly elected? In fact, it is probably a truer representation of what happened on the day of the local elections than what happened on the day of the general election.”

“Suggesting we need to give the Seanad something to do is demeaning the work that many good Seanad Members have done in the past and do now,” he added. The Sinn Fein motion was defeated by 57 votes to 41.