Taxpayers will pick up tab for this climbdown
When it looks like a climbdown and it sounds like a climbdown, there's a very good chance it's a climbdown. Environment Minister Phil Hogan is a famously smooth and skilful political operator, but all his skill could not disguise his climbdown yesterday.
It was a climbdown waiting to happen, because the Government is under pressure on so many fronts -- most notably from restive Fine Gael backbenchers, who have angry constituents to appease.
These constituents took particular umbrage at the proposal to impose a €50 charge for inspections of septic tanks. The need for inspections can hardly be denied, but large numbers of rural dwellers believed they would never take place. Representatives of the Fianna Fail-Green coalition allegedly encouraged them in this belief. Can that be true?