Sunday 30 April 2017

Charges debacle is a slap in the face for rural Ireland, small business and those who pay their bills

Demonstrators march along Parliament Street during an anti-water charges protest in Dublin in September 2016 Photo: Tony Gavin
Demonstrators march along Parliament Street during an anti-water charges protest in Dublin in September 2016 Photo: Tony Gavin
John Downing

John Downing

Yes, water is free: here's a bucket, there's the river, pull away. No, cleaning and piping water is not, and never will be, free. Dealing safely and efficiently with sewage and other waste water very definitely costs a good deal of money.

Ireland still has 44 centres where raw sewage flows into our rivers, lakes or seashore. We need some €3.5bn over the coming five years to deal with that and reduce an astonishing 50pc leakage rate from our Edwardian water piping. Few people in our political system - and across our extended public life - emerge with much credit from the depressing debacle that is the water charges saga.

To quicken up, let's first cite those who emerge with some dignity.

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