I HAD reason to use an ATM at the Bank of Ireland recently and it suddenly dawned on me what the dots on the various option keys were for … braille. That got me thinking about all the effort it took to develop this unique code, which makes reading possible for people with impaired sight.
Add to that the ingenious thinking which went into the development of the Pass machine, BankLink or whatever brand name you wish to call those inventions, and you see how this allows various institutions to work 24 hours a day. The introduction of ATMs revolutionised the way we live. Those and thousands of other gadgets, such as the iPhone or smartphone, just go to show that mankind does have a brain and can come up with simple solutions to complex problems.
But can we come up with a solution to the problems surrounding Irish Water? It would appear not. What we seem capable of doing, though, is digging a deeper and deeper hole for ourselves. I suppose that shouldn’t surprise too many people, bearing in mind how Irish Water came into being in the first place.
I know that some people will take exception to what I am going to say, especially those in the public sector, but the truth of the matter is that if we wanted to build a first-class utility company, we should have sought assistance from private enterprise. And we should not have recruited from an organisation that does not have the business acumen to make such an organisation work in an efficient manner.
There are excellent, caring and conscientious people working within the civil service or public sector, whatever you want to call it, but we all know there are many, many more who just coast along, don’t take responsibility for their actions – or inaction – and are not very productive, to say the least.
When the cash you’re spending is not your own, are you really that interested in value for money? You may indulge in a lot of window dressing to show otherwise, but we all know the truth.
The same applies to Irish Water. A complete mess has been made of establishing that organisation from the get-go. But will anyone take responsibility? Unlikely. What we will see is a series of tweaks in an attempt to rectify a problem that can only be fixed if we scrap what we have and start again before it’s too late.
But unfortunately that will never happen. That would actually mean someone standing up and publicly expressing that someone, somewhere actually got it wrong.
So until such time as the best can be made of a bad situation, what we should all keep doing is fighting to get the best possible deal. And if that means more and more demonstrations, then all the better.
Remember: a general election is not too far away and there is no better combination than demonstrations and elections to get some people to focus their minds on a particular problem.