Wednesday 7 December 2016

It's political déjà-vu - and no lessons have been learned

Published 02/12/2016 | 02:30

Anti-water charges protesters assemble on Dublin's O'Connell Street in March 2015 Photo: Tony Gavin
Anti-water charges protesters assemble on Dublin's O'Connell Street in March 2015 Photo: Tony Gavin

In the carousel that is Irish politics, things are never quite finished. They go round and round.

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This week it made for an overwhelming feeling of déjà-vu. And not just when it comes to the long-running policy shambles over water. No matter how many marches, protests, debates and commissions there are on the topic, the rhetoric over water charges to me always feels phoney. The amounts are minuscule compared to other utility charges.

I want clean healthy water for my daily use; and I want assurance that people don't have to boil water in rural areas to avoid infections. I demand an absolute end to raw sewage going into beaches and rivers and for everybody to enjoy a plentiful supply of clean water for their basic needs, including gardening. And I am happy to pay a reasonable charge for it as an environmental measure and would agree to exemptions for those who cannot afford it. Neither do I want a rebate. But given the current desire by the two big parties to "get this off the agenda before we're back on the doors" I might be in for one.

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