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Irish Water boss John Tierney during his previous post as Dublin city manager
Irish Water boss John Tierney during his previous post as Dublin city manager
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

The Briefcase: Everyone hates Irish Water, Nama dramas and R.I.P. Nokia

This was the week in business.
Oct 25th 2014, 9:11 PM 30,801 26

AS A LAND than almost boasts more quangos than citizens, you would think that the people of Ireland might take a philosophical approach when dealing with the quirks of the semi-state bodies.

Not so, it would seem, when it comes to probably the most-hated of all quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations (try saying that three times fast).

The mere mention of the words Irish Water has been enough to send people into a fit of rage with the multiple whammies of the despised water charges, staff bonuses and data-protection concerns.

But after all those teething problems, things couldn’t get much worse right? Well, read on to see how things for Irish Water managed to slide even further downhill as we recap the week that was in business:

Need to know

How not to make friends and influence people, Irish Water style

From millions in consultants’ fees to bonuses for staff who “needed improvement”, there were already many (well at least 14) reasons why the public might be angry about Irish Water – aside, of course, from being hit with yet another charge after years of tax increases and austerity.

But, after already raising concerns by asking people for their PPS numbers as part of their applications, Irish Water hit a new low when TheJournal.ie revealed the utility had sent the bank details of 10 customers to their landlords in error.

Not exactly confidence-inspiring stuff. And to make matters worse, one of the affected customers said he had tried to take the problem up with the organisation, but hit a brick wall over the phone, email and Twitter.

tumblr_mir0puPMG81rjvyh0o1_r1_250 Source: district9andthreequarters

The breach followed Irish Water’s apology last month to over 6,000 customers who received letters intended for other people.

Since then there have been renewed calls for the head of Irish Water CEO John Tierney, including from the now-sacked minister who had a major hand in setting up the quango.

There was also a two-man “kitchenware revolution” outside Leinster House, banging pots and pans to protest against Irish Water. As you do.

Meanwhile, Environment Minister Alan Kelly said Irish Water would simply need to deal with customers “in a fantastic way” after all the controversies.

New Taxi Signs Environment Minister Alan Kelly Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Far be it for us to offer suggestions on how a quango with a €50 million consultancy budget should go about its business, but a good start could be to answer the phone when a customer whose details you have just leaked to their landlord decides to call.

Nice to know

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Now you know

  • Tesco released its latest financial results and they made for some very ugly reading. The once all-powerful UK supermarket giant has taken a 92% haircut to its profits over the last six months – a period which has included a management shakeup, a €334 million accounting blunder and its chairman announcing plans to step down
  • Uber raised some eyebrows and blood pressures with its short-lived promotion in the French city of Lyon. The plan was to get “incredibly hot chicks” to drive around customers for a few days under the slogan “who said women don’t know how to drive?”. But the idea was quickly pulled after the ride-sharing company was accused of sexism

Avions Avions de Chasse girls were to feature in the Uber promotion before it was pulled Source: Avions de chasse/YouTube

One for the road

In loving memory of Nokias past, here’s a video that puts forward a compelling case for why people should buy a 3310 (release date circa 2000), the “Chuck Norris of mobile phone”, over those overrated iPhone 6 things.

A couple of good reasons: the battery lasts for three weeks and all the games come free. Snake anyone?

Source: MaximBady/YouTube

READ: Big pharma, the price of power and a little thing called the Budget >

READ: Budget busters, more budget babble and startups as far as the eye can see >

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Peter Bodkin

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