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Independent.ie

Saturday 21 January 2017

Opposition to septic tank reform stinks

Published 29/02/2012 | 06:00

We are living in dangerous times. The financial crisis lurches from one disaster to another. There is an energy crisis looming and governments are rushing to find alternatives to oil before it ends.

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Our national health service, the gardai and our civil service seem to be in disarray while many of their best employees take early retirement and enjoy pensions that the nation cannot afford.

Murders and suicides are so common they are almost no longer considered newsworthy.

Some of our county councils are running out of cash and may go bankrupt. Even the mighty US has unsustainable debts and if history has taught us anything, it is situations such as these that often lead to war.

We are living through a crisis of global proportions, yet it appears that the most pressing topics being discussed recently by our leaders were toilet issues.

For months now, a debate has raged in the Dáil on the subject of the proposed septic tank charges as rural TDs guarded their asses and quaked at the prospect of losing their seats (pardon the puns) while items of real national importance awaited discussion.

It is the right of opposition TDs to oppose. However, sometimes it all gets a bit much when they repeatedly stir up a storm of protest against proposals that are clearly in the public interest.

Take water charges. Why should anyone have water delivered through a tap for free?

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Water charges are essential, but too many of our overpaid representatives are wasting time trying to gain political advantage by spouting idiotic but populist jargon regarding any new charge or tax. It is time we all grew up and started taking responsibility for how we manage our increasingly scarce natural resources.

Water pollution is a huge problem and the ground water in Meath is mildly polluted, as is the case in many other counties. Animal manures and high levels of phosphates seeping into watercourses are partially responsible, but with far stricter laws concerning the management of slurry and artificial fertilisers, that situation is now showing some improvement.

However, a major source of pollution that still affects our lakes, rivers and water courses is the mismanagement of waste by local authorities and faulty household septic tanks. In the face of this evidence, the actions of some left-wing TDs on the issue have been reprehensible.

One spoke of "fear and terror stalking the land", while another stated that the Government was "terrorising people in rural Ireland". Their irresponsible scaremongering ignores the fact that nobody has the right to pollute a watercourse on which people and wildlife depend.

And now for some useless information. Thomas Crapper was a sanitary engineer who founded a company in London in 1861 supplying lavatories and bathrooms fittings. He became famous for the quality of his wares, which were installed in the best houses in Britain and Ireland. But, contrary to the popular misconception, Crapper did not invent the flush toilet.

He did, however, do much to increase its popularity and developed the ballcock.

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