Saturday 24 June 2017

Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin have left us all high and dry with water charges U-turn

Mary Lou McDonald (left) and Sinn Féin get their message about Irish Water across ahead of the 2016 General Election. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Mary Lou McDonald (left) and Sinn Féin get their message about Irish Water across ahead of the 2016 General Election. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Eddie Molloy

Fianna Fáil is at it again. It bought the election of 1977 by promising to eliminate household rates and car tax. Its infamous decentralisation programme, which involved the appropriation and vandalisation of the civil service and State agencies, ensured the party romped home in the local elections of 2003. For a decade up to the crash of 2007-8, in order to secure the votes of "breakfast roll man", Fianna Fáil recklessly spent public money like there was no tomorrow; remember Charlie McCreevy's: "While I have it I spend it"?

Then, in the General Election of 2016, having just expressed deep regret for the pain it had caused the people of Ireland, sincere repentance and commitment to new politics, Fianna Fáil DNA asserted itself again and the 'Soldiers of Destiny' jumped on the anti-water charges bandwagon, once it saw which way the electoral winds were blowing. Today it is all over the media with "alternative facts" and spurious arguments, trying to persuade the public that it never did a U-turn on water and that there is no need to charge for squandering clean water.

Common threads run through this narrative, which apply in varying degrees to all parties and most politicians, including opportunistic short-termism, with an eye to an impending election and disregard for longer-term damage to the economy and society; total disregard for the use of taxpayers' money; and shameless adoption of populism as a strategy to win votes.

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