Let's scrap property tax and pay the water charges
Former FG, Labour and FF voters need a lot more than tinkering with the Budget to return, writes Willie Kealy
There are some people out there who cannot afford to pay water rates - not just the notional rate we are all being billed, but the much higher charges that it will be politically safe to introduce after the General Election. There are more people out there who just don't want to pay. Both these groups want water charges abolished.
This desire, whether based on need or greed, is being exploited by Sinn Fein and some Independent groupings to try and get extra votes. They are telling the people that if they can get into government, then they will abolish water charges. Leaving aside what their chances are of getting into government, you have to bear in mind that in government they would undoubtedly find an excuse not to deliver on this commitment - most likely by saying they didn't realise how badly this money was needed or what a state of disrepair the national water supply system was in.
Of course, the Government and Irish Water have made it easy for those who seek to exploit water as a political issue. It has been a cock-up from day one, and we have been lied to at just about every turn. And even now nobody has clarified exactly what will happen when a person of very limited means finds themselves unable - not unwilling - to pay the charge. And we still don't have an acceptable guarantee that Irish Water will not be privatised.