Tuesday 28 March 2017

Kicking the 'watering canard' down the road

No other issue has caused more division and protest than the question of having to pay for the one substance on which all life depends. (stock photo)
No other issue has caused more division and protest than the question of having to pay for the one substance on which all life depends. (stock photo)
Editorial

Editorial

A little drop of water allowed to freeze in a fissure is enough to shatter the hardest rock. And it was a little drop of water that has so reshaped the political topography of the country.

No other issue has caused more division and protest than the question of having to pay for the one substance on which all life depends. It sundered and forged alliances and brought hundreds and thousands of people onto the streets all over Ireland.

And then, after all that sound and fury, out of the blue comes an expert commission which produces the one recommendation that everybody could agree on. The vast majority of people will not have to pay for water. So elegant, so simple a solution had hitherto proved way beyond the finest minds in the land. Guess what else? The State will foot the bill in the form of general taxation. There is a 'but', of course, and it is this: taxes will pay for all "normal" household usage; but it may very well require another "expert" commission to ascertain what exactly is a normal household. Will this be enough to get us off the hook on the EU directive that demands a charge? Well, the "experts" have thought of this too: It's not really free because "a free allowance" would be paid for by the State.

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