Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, recently ran a market corporation test, with the aim of deciding whether Irish Water is an independent company or one that is actually a government entity. The results are in and the news isn’t good – Eurostat has determined that because more than half of Irish Water’s income comes from the Government, it qualifies as a State branch. As a result, money spent on the utility will be added to the national debt.
The Irish Independent‘s Paul Melia examines the possible fallout of this decision and what, if any, impact will be felt by the average consumer.
In other news, writing in the Irish Times, Conor Pope argues that although we have plenty of regulators in Ireland, consumers are too often let down.
Noting that while companies like Vodafone, Eircom and Three were recently brought before the courts in relation to practices like ripping off their customers and employing debt collectors to chase debts that weren’t actually owed to them, Pope argues that a number of factors, such as the time it took to bring these companies to court, relatively small fines, and the lengthy process of complaining through official channels.
Free GP care
Elsewhere, the over 70s are signing up to the free GP healthcare scheme in their hundreds. Representing the next step in the Government’s plans to provide universal healthcare, everyone over the age of 70 will be provided with free access to their GP. The scheme is estimated to benefit around 40,000 people.