Sunday 11 December 2016

Main parties will pay for populism on water

Published 09/03/2016 | 02:30

Given the many far more pressing concerns facing the country, such as homelessness, a chronic housing shortage and a hopelessly over-stretched health system, fixating on water – a significant stumbling block – for purely populist purposes was disingenuous. Stock Image
Given the many far more pressing concerns facing the country, such as homelessness, a chronic housing shortage and a hopelessly over-stretched health system, fixating on water – a significant stumbling block – for purely populist purposes was disingenuous. Stock Image

In the tense aftermath of the election, when a tip-toeing and tentative feeling of the shaky ground beneath one's feet might have been wise, Fianna Fáil's environment spokesman Barry Cowen, and Fine Gael's Simon Coveney, both managed to put their feet in it.

  • Go To

Subsequently, they were forced to do embarrassing flip-flops. Given what has gone before, it would seem almost impossible to add even more confusion, more annoyance and more acrimony to the vexed issue of Irish Water, yet it is a feat which both men have achieved with aplomb.

Bombast is not something that serves a politician well, but Mr Cowen often slips into it, as if forceful language could add credibility to what many merely see as naked political opportunism. Yesterday, Mr Cowen rowed back on his claim that the future of water charges was a "red-line" issue for his party.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Read More

Don't Miss

Editor's Choice