News Editorial

Sunday 21 September 2014

Editorial: Water torture offsets gains that were made by families

Editorial

Published 04/08/2014 | 02:30

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Water meters have been installed at homes across the country
Water meters have been installed at homes across the country

TODAY we reveal that the Government is considering a five-year freeze on Local Property Tax evaluations in an attempt to off-set the rising cost to householders, particularly in the greater Dublin area, where house prices have surged.

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If the Government think this will diminish the growing anger at the level of water charges which will start to affect families by the end of the year, it is mistaken.

Not only will water cost a lot more than was originally expected but there is a real danger that this will pour cold water on the return of optimism brought about by job creation, the return to profitability of the banks and a general desire on the part of most of the population to move on from the austerity years.

There is no getting away from water charges; as with the  Local Property Tax (LPT), they are here to stay. But what a majority of home owners find difficult is the unfairness inherent in the water charges.

While the Government is moving to alleviate the unfairness that may arise from the surging property market, it seems less willing to face up to the fact that many families, especially those with adult children, are going to face far greater charges for water than originally indictated.

People who were beginning to feel that they might be better off next year have now realised that paying up to €600 a year for water is going to put them back where they were, or in many cases make wage earners who have not seen any pay rises for the last six years, worse off than before.

A century on and we have grown up about World War One

THERE are various interpretations of when World War I began, but the first week of August marks the centenary of German's declaration of war against Russia and Germany, which quickly led to the invasion of Belgium and, inevitably, the entry of Britain into  this cataclysmic conflict which led to the deaths of millions, the fall of empires and a redrawing of the map of Europe.

As Ireland was part of the United Kingdom at the time, thousands of Irishmen went off to the war, some believing that it would all be over before Christmas. Many went for ideological reasons, others for adventure and still more for economic freedom. But four years later, when they returned to Ireland, they found a very different landscape from the one they left. The 1916 Rising had happened and changed the course of Irish history - as the poet WB Yeats said in a reference to another event, "all changed, changed utterly."

For the officer class, with their deep connections to Britain and the Empire, it may not have been so bad, but for the ordinary foot soldier the hostility and lack of empathy for their sacrifice and suffering must have been hard to take. Thankfully all has changed and we are the first generation who can now commemorate these brave men, many of whom sacrificed their lives in the conflict, inclusively.

For previous generations, the commemorations were confined to one tradition and indeed the part played by 'southern' Ireland was forgotten.

It is fitting that a commemoration was held in the Pro Cathedral in Dublin and that President Higgins is in France, the scene of some of the worst and most brutal battles of the war, to represent those who fought and, in so many cases died, for the freedom of small nations.

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