Dear Emma and Derek,
Thank you for your letter.
This release was a simple response to the discussion of waste in Irish Water – particularly how it seems that waste is systematic in the whole creation of the new body. The handling of all sorts of contracts in Irish Water appear to have been done strangely and this has been the subject of intense media scrutiny. We wanted to highlight:
- The fact that this contract had not been through any public tender process
- The generally very high level of spending in the whole Irish Water set-up
In the past, USI has highlighted waste in the construction industry, waste in the academic community and elsewhere in our society, particularly in this era of unprecedented hardship. At USI Congress last year we passed policy to highlight waste in public spending.
We hope you can see that our intentions in highlighting the waste in this case were good. We can see that the way we actually carried it out was, on reflection, not so good.
Our release has given the impression that USI was underselling the skill and flair of Irish designers and the value of design, when what we really sought to highlight was the apparent abandon with which Irish Water was being constituted. We missed the tone we were seeking to set, and now, correctly, you’ve pointed that out.
We never intended to demean the work involved in the design, or the profession of design, which we know is valuable and vital to our work. We work closely with Irish graduate designers and design agencies throughout the year, who never fail to impress us with their ability and creativity.
We’d be keen to meet with you, if you would like, to discuss our intentions in making the release we did, and to discuss with you some of the issues facing design students and graduates. If you’d like to, please contact email@example.com to arrange a time and a place to suit you.