irish indepdendent

Question: Has Ireland’s biggest newspaper lost its goddamn mind?


Alright, so let me set the scene for you. I’m on Facebook, minding my own business, wondering what the hell “twerk” and “Miley Cyrus” are, when I see that a friend of mine has linked this article called “Wave Goodbye to Global Warming, GM and pesticides.”

Now, the first rule of any news story you come across on the internet is of course, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Some fourteen year old kid in Tanzania has discovered a cure for cancer in his garage? Yeah, I’ll believe it when he’s up on the podium accepting the Nobel prize. But this story actually gave me pause because it was on the Irish Independent’s website. See, the Irish Independent isn’t some fringe blog or rag like the Daily Mail that will publish literally anything because, fuck it.


 The Indo is a Big Serious Paper, actually the second Biggest Seriousest Paper after the Irish Times. For an Irishman, seeing this headline would be like seeing it in the Washington Post or USA Today for an American. It’s not the NY Times, but still. This is a paper with some not inconsiderable prestige. So I think, okay, maybe the headline is a little hyperbolic but what if it’s true? What if they actually have discovered some new technology that will solve the problem of climate change, the single greatest challenge facing the human race? Hell, it’s in the Indo, it’s got to be true! So I clicked on the link…and entered a world of MADNESS.

I’m going to quote the article pretty extensively here, because I have a feeling once whatever drugs have worked their way through the systems of the Indo’s editorial board this thing’s going to get taken down right sharpish. I’ll take you through the article piece by piece and as I go I’ll leave footnotes as to what Google has been able to tell me about the various persons, institutions and “scientific”…no, wait, that needs another set of quotation marks “”scientific”” concepts mentioned. The article is written by “Tom Prendeville”(1) and is in the Business section. Not the Science section. Not the environment section. Not the “Hey hey I saved the world today” section. The business section.

“A GROUNDBREAKING new Irish technology which could be the greatest breakthrough in agriculture since the plough is set to change the face of modern farming forever.”

Holy shit! Really? Wow! I mean, I may not be a farmer, but I am WELL aware of the importance of ploughs. Without ploughs, what have we got, farming wise? Jack shit is what! Also, this technology is Irish?! We just revolutionised agriculture as we know it?! Excuse me for a moment.

Please, continue.

“The technology – radio wave energised water(2)– massively increases the output of vegetables and fruits by up to 30 per cent.”

Radio wave energised water? Tell me more! Also, nice choice of “30%”. It’s big, but not crazy big.

Not only are the plants much bigger but they are largely disease-resistant, meaning huge savings in expensive fertilisers and harmful pesticides.”

Um…you do know pesticides don’t just protect crops from disease? That they also kill “pests”? As in, bugs and shit? And the only way they could be pest-resistant would be if the pests couldn’t eat them. Maybe the radio wave energised water renders them invulnerable like Superman?

Extensively tested in Ireland and several other countries, the inexpensive water treatment technology is now being rolled out across the world.”

Several other countries, sure. But Ireland did all of the important work, don’t you dare hone in on our glory, Several Other Countries. Lookin’ at you Djibouti!

Fuck did I do?

Fuck did I do?

“The technology makes GM obsolete and also addresses the whole global warming fear that there is too much carbon dioxide in the air, by simply converting excess CO2 into edible plant mass.

GM’s obsolete?! But they’d just gotten back on their feet after the Obama administration bailed them out and now they’re one of the top car manufacturers in America….oh wait, you mean “Genetically Modified”. And not “Genetically Modified Food”. Just “Genetically Modified”. Anything genetically modified is now obsolete.(3). Also, I love how it addresses “the whole global warming fear”. That’s such an Irish way of putting it. “You know, that whole global warming thing. You know that thing?” Also notable that it “simply” converts excess CO2 into edible plant mass. That’s not simple. That’s fucking black magic, dark and eldritch. But who cares? Not only are we solving Global Warming, we’re getting a meal out of it!

“Developed by Professor Austin Darragh (4) and Dr JJ Leahy (5) of Limerick University’s Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science, the hardy eco-friendly technology uses nothing but the natural elements of sunlight, water, carbon dioxide in the air and the minerals in the soil.”

It’s not even a technology, man. The earth just,like,…provides.

“The compact biscuit-tin-sized technology, which is called Vi-Aqua – meaning ‘life water’ – “

Wow. That is the smallest technology I have ever heard of. I mean, digital technology is so big they have to keep it in a barn, and it’s one of the smaller technologies! Also, while I don’t doubt that “Vi-Aqua” means “life water”, is that in a real language or one you made up?

 “…converts 24 volts of electricity into a radio signal, which charges up the water via an antennae. Once the device is attached to a hose, thousands of gallons of water can be charged up in less than 10 minutes at a cost of pennies.(6)”

If you have the antenna, why do you  need the hose? To spray the water at the antenna? Or, is the hose used to transfer the now magically imbued water away to where it is most needed? Because then, why does it have to be a hose? Seems like a large pipe might do the job better.

“Speaking about the new technology, Professor Austin Darragh says: “Vi-Aqua makes water wetter.””

Again please.

“Speaking about the new technology, Professor Austin Darragh says: “Vi-Aqua makes water wetter.””

Last part.

“Vi-Aqua makes water wetter.””

I…I…I…I…have I gone mad?

“…and introduces atmospheric nitrogen into the water in the form of nitrates – so it is free fertiliser. It also produces the miracle of rejuvenating the soil by invigorating soil-based micro-organisms.”

It produces miracles. There you have it.

The Messiah


“We can also make water savings of at least 30 per cent. When the water is treated it becomes a better solvent, which means it can carry more nutrients to the leaves and stem and percolate better down into the soil to nourish the roots, which in turn produces a better root system. Hence the reason you need less water and why you end up with larger and hardier crops,” explains Professor Austin Darragh.”

30 per cent again. Marks for consistency. Fuck it, after the miracle of “wetter water” this paragraph feels like a beacon of rationality and cold scientific objectivity.

Extensively tested in Warrenstown Agricultural College (7), the technology is being hailed as a modern day miracle.

For I tell you most solemnly, the compact biscuit-tin-sized technology has given up the blind to see and the lame to walk. It has cleansed the leper and led the faithful to rejoice in the sight of Radio Wave Energised Water.

Harold Lawler is Ireland’s foremost Agricultural Specialist (8). As Director of the National Botanical Gardens (9) and former Master of Agricultural Science at Warrenstown Agricultural College (10), he has carried out more research on Vi-Aqua growth-enhancing technology than perhaps anyone else in the world.(11): “In the bedding plants we really saw a difference in the results; they were much hardier and tougher. You could drop a tray of these plants on the ground and they would not shatter, like ordinary plants.”

Does…does Ireland’s foremost Agricultural Specialist think that plants shatter when dropped? Has he confused vegetables with fine bone china? Well, with Agricultural Specialists of this caliber, that must explain why Ireland has never had a famine.

The iceberg lettuces were far superior with faster germination, and with carrots for example, the crops were on average 46 per cent heavier,” explains Harold Lawler.

46%!? What are you doing?! The bullshit cannot exceed 30%! Dammit, there are rules!

“During recent successful tomato crop field trials in Italy, three of the country’s largest Agricultural Co-op’s were so impressed with the results that they have now decided to recommend the technology to the country’s farming community.”

Hey Italy! We’re watching you! Don’t go stealing our biscuit sized technology. They’re always doing that. Fucking Italy.

“Elsewhere, the Indian government have now concluded their own tests, which confirm that they are able to boost tea (plant) production by over a third while using far less water.”

Elsewhere. Maybe…in India?  Also, I’m so glad they were able to boost tea(plant) production as tea(plant) is my favorite drink(beverage).

In recognition of the groundbreaking technology, the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, London, recently took the hitherto unheard-of step of granting Professor Austin Darragh and his team the right to use their official centuries-old coat of arms on the new technology – the first time ever that Kew Gardens has afforded anyone such an honour.”


Excuse me.

The Kew Gardens botanists were not just impressed with the research; they used the technology to restore to life a very rare orchid which had been lying dormant and practically dead in a greenhouse bell jar since 1942. Amazingly, the orchid is now flourishing once again.

Flourishing and hungry for brains! THE DEAD GROW AMONGST THE LIVING!

Intriguingly, chickens and sheep fed the energised water turned into giants. . . but that’s another story!

Giant farm animals, huh? May have buried the lede there just a bit.

"Whoops, outta time. We'll tell you about this next week."

“Whoops, outta time. We’ll tell you about this next week.”

Limerick University off- campus company ZPM Europe Ltd (12), who are based in the National Technology Park, Limerick, is now manufacturing the Vi-Aqua technology.”


This is a joke right?

No, I’m actually leaning more in the direction of “con”. See, the ZPM Europe Limited site leads to  a Vi-Aqua site where you can actually pay for a water radio energizer. With money. That you presumably earned. Oddly enough, on the Vi-Aqua site it simply markets the biscuit sized technology as a way to improve your garden, which seems kinda small potatoes for something that’s GOING TO SAVE EVERY ONE OF US FROM GLOBAL WARMING.

Okay, I’m cracking jokes here but I am actually, no lie, really freaked out. As I said before, the Irish Independent is not the Daily Mail. It’s not World Net Daily. It is a real, serious newspaper that people trust. This article has been shared over 20,000 times. Somehow, an obvious con artist has managed to get a clearly ridiculous scam and cloak it in the reputation and respectability of Ireland’s largest selling daily newspaper. That is fucking terrifying. In the modern era, with the internet drowning us non-stop in a sea of never ending half truth, cons and sheer bullshit we need, more than ever, legitimate, trustworthy news sources. If I see “Asteroid Headed For Earth” on I won’t give it a second glance. If I see “Asteroid Headed for Earth” on the front page of the The Times I’m running for my wife and daughter to hug them goodbye. We need the grownups. We need to know who we can trust, and who we cannot.

The Irish Independent has incredibly, spectacularly failed that test.

Thanks for reading,


(1) For a journalist, he seems to have a very humble web profile. I did find some articles he wrote for Hotpress magazine with titles such as “September 11. Terrorist Outrage or sinister conspiracy ?” and “The World’s Secret Rulers are Coming to Town”. And yes, ladies, I hear he’s single.

(2)  Searching “Radio Wave Energised Water” gets you plenty of results. All either this article, or people talking about this article.

(3) Side note. Number of people who have been saved from famine by Genetically Modified Food: Over 200 Million. Number of people who have been saved by “Radio wave energised water”: -52. I’m assuming some people killed themselves after reading this idiocy.

(4) Real guy, apparently. Seems to have a connection to the University of Limerick. Five year old CV on their site where he does claim to be researching “The development of technologies to increase the productive recycling of CO2 to enhance the availability of edible and energy crops through amplifications of photosynthesis by Electro Magnetic stimulation of water. The effects produced are visible, tangible, and quantifiable, and water supplies are conserved in the processes.

(5) Again, google takes you to what seems to be a University of Limerick site, listing details for a Dr JJ Leahy. But the more I look at it the more I think this is a dummy site that links to the real University of Limerick site. The main UL site seems to be a lot snazzier. And if this site is fake, who the hell is going to all this trouble?!

(6) That could be a problem. Ireland hasn’t used pennies since 2002.

(7) That was quite a coup for Warrenstown, considering it’s been closed since 2009.

(8) I don’t think he is, but I’ll bet he knows a lot about manure.

(9) The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland is a real place. Near my parents. Really nice, you should see it if you’re ever in Dublin. Free entry. Free of Harold Lawlers too. Harold Lawlor is a lecturer there though.

(10) Did teach there, apparently. “Rate My Teacher” opines that “This man takes all criticism personally and never listens to what really is being said” and “hmmm interesting fellow but has the personality of a pencil.” It’s not all bad. One past pupil says that Harold Lawler is “a true OG when it comes to planting.” Word.

(11) Undoubtedly true.

(12) This is their website. Which leads to this website for Vi Aqua. Behold the GeoCities hosted glory of our saviours.