Letters: Water facts please
Published 10/08/2014 | 02:30
Madam - It's almost here. In October the water charges will begin, so who will raise their hands to show that they fully understand the billing system and in turn are content to pay when the water authorities tell you how much you've used and how much you must pay for it.
If you happen to be one of those who fully understands all of the above then I congratulate you. I must admit that I am one of the people who do not understand any of it at all.
What I do know however is that when I stop at any garage to buy fuel, I insert the nozzle, press the lever and it immediately shows me the amount I am getting and the cost per litre. I do not have to ask or enquire from the assistant behind the counter how much I owe because I already know.
The same should apply when I turn on my tap or have a shower or use the toilet.
Surely every household is entitled to have a similar meter installed inside of their home to show what water is being used and the cost per litre.
The water charges will sweep over us like a tsunami but unlike that freak happening which quickly disappears, the water charges will remain with us forever just like the bin charge, the household charge and the property tax.
Once a charge comes in it will never be removed, but it will change - it will increase. The only things likely to go in the other direction are pensions, social welfare benefits, and medical cards.
The water board do have an advisory section on line dealing with many of the questions that may be asked. There are some 40 headings, each heading having several pages. To understand any of it you will probably need the help and advice of a Senior Counsel and a team of reputable accountants. You will also need some time off work if you are one of the few who have a job.
For far too long we citizens have been fobbed off by our elected representatives with jargon that most of us do not understand until we are finally told "well that's the law! You have to pay it."
Now is the time to stand up and demand that we are made fully aware of the total cost of what I consider to be a human right. And I want to be told in plain English exactly what is the position.
Let them collect levies
Madam - In your Letters Page (Sunday Independent, August 3) A Leavy disagrees with your previous editorial in which you stated bureaucrats were responsible for the austerity forced on us today and he suggests that it was just a few powerful people.
Can I mediate by suggesting you are both wrong - and that our downfall was caused by having inept fools, bureaucrats and powerful people (all rolled into one), in jobs they sometimes had no qualifications to hold.
Last year there was an outstanding €750m in uncollected planning levies. Developers built these costs into the purchase price of homes. We are now paying Local Property Tax to fund the services that these planning levies should have provided.
Of the €750m outstanding in planning levies, most of it is now owed by banks or their receivers as attached liability to businesses they took possession of. Planning permission under which a lot of hotels and pubs are being operated by receivers is subject to the planning levies being paid and if they are not paid the premises should be closed down by the local authorities. If they are not, then why should we pay LPT to fund services for them?
Firhouse, Dublin 24
First World War was a just cause
Madam - I disagree with Anthony Cronin's article on the first World War (Sunday Independent, August 3).
In August 1916 Germany was de facto under the control of General Ludendorff when the Third Supreme Command took over. Sultanate Turkey was a pyramid power and it carried out the first holocaust by the massacre of one and half million Armenian Catholics.
We should remember that Roger Casement recruited Irish prisoners of our "gallant allies" - Turkey, Germany and Austria-Hungary. Both Germany and Austria-Hungary had used poison gas by this stage.
President Woodrow Wilson stated his war aims: "we do not want territory or sovereignty but the world must be made safe for democracy… we are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind".
After the war the Allies set up the League of Nations to promote democracy and preserve peace. Most right thinking people now consider the use of force in defence of human rights as a "just war".
South Circular Road
Bruton was right about Home Rule
Madam - I would like to respond to Mr. Gerry Adams and his inane and predictably drone-like attack upon ex-Taoiseach Mr. John Bruton, and his courageous, and wholly justified analytical and ethical critique of the 1916 insurrection - and by implication its myriad apologists for those six days of blood sacrifice instigated by its chief ideologue Patrick Pearse.
The year 1916 saw the sequel to the 1867 insurrection which within a year had degenerated into outright terrorism. This represented the first wave of a nightmare of murderous Fenian insurgency directed against liberal democracy in Ireland, and in what was then mainland Britain.
This relentless fanatical campaign lasted for 19 years ending in 1886. Had the Irish Constabulary been as well trained, and as well equipped as they had been from 1867 to 1886, the 1916 terrroists would have been crushed, and deposited into the proverbial dust-bin of history - a place incidentally where Mr Adams together with his Sinn Fein-IRA comrades belong.
Mr Bruton believes in political evolution (an alien concept to Mr Adams ) and in respect for civilized political institutions inside a liberal State, and in real politics of which 1916 was an arrogant and contemptuous denial as was all of the insurgent violence that followed up to 1921-23 - a denial of the option of politics.
It might be salutary to reflect that Pearse's Fenian Programme which he announced in 1915, over the grave of O'Donovan Rossa was on the verge of extinction before the great blood-bath propaganda of the event of 1916. Home Rule secured by John Redmond on September 18 1914 for most of Ireland (placed in abeyance until after the war) was a stepping stone to any future narrative course including that of independence - if so wished by the people for most of the island.
The six counties of Ulster would always be problematic and quite understandably so, owing to - among many other rational reasons - the power of the Catholic Church in the South.
Spirit of 1916 is needed today
Madam - Mr John Bruton is incorrect and lacking in empathetic understanding when he disparages the fundamental importance of the 1916 Easter Rising in our country's history.
Tom Clarke,Pearse, Connolly, MacDiarmada, MacDonagh, Eamonn Ceannt, Plunkett -these men were not thugs. They were to a man high-minded idealists, whose desire to see Ireland free of British rule was fostered from their youth by a resurgence of pride in our language, culture, games and ancient history which kicked in from the late 19th century.
At their mothers' knees their mental development was shaped in reactionary mode, by stories of the woeful annihilation of the recent Great Famine. They were men who embodied the old Fenian belief - that England's crisis was Ireland's opportunity to strike for independence.
They lost their gambit, they lost their lives, but their republican spirit electrified the Irish people, very evident in the ecstatic welcome for the surviving freed Irish prisoners by hundreds of thousands in Dublin on June 1917.
We need that spirit now and ever, to fight for justice, truth, fairness, honour and safety in Irish, European and World societies.
Author, 'Diarmuid Lynch a Forgotten Irish Patriot'
Better chance for more female TDs
Madam - In your paper on Sunday last (August 3) both Roger Jupp and John Drennan highlight the fact that women are dissatisfied that too few women were promoted in the recent government reshuffle.
Women are more than 50 per cent of the electorate but only 15 per cent of TDs are women.
The Government has imposed a quota which penalises the public funding of political parties with less than 30 per cent female candidates - a great opportunity to increase in the next election.
Governments will then not have the excuse of having too few women available for high office when choosing ministers and junior ministers..
Sutton, Dublin 13
Antonia's heroin article worthwhile
Madam - Antonia Leslie's article about heroin, (Sunday Independent, 27 July ) was the best I have ever read explaining the mind-set of those unfortunate people who get trapped using heroin.
This article should be read out to students in every school in Ireland, to show the terrible consequences of this killer drug.
Antonia, if your superb article stops just one person from using heroin, it will have been worthwhile. Well done.
Letter writers should keep at it
Madam - Brian Mc Devitt praises the Letters page (Sunday Independent, 27 July, 2014).
Since I began to speak publicly three years ago, mostly about depression, through the letters pages, I receive regular contacts from people in distress or their relatives. Letter writers keep doing your thing and papers keep publishing them.
Good wishes to the journeying swifts
Madam - What an appropriate piece on swifts by Joe Kennedy (Sunday Independent, August 3). Swifts come to Ireland to breed in late April and leave to head back for the African continent in late July and early August. So basically they are here for the creme-de-lá-creme of our insect hatch.
They spend all their life on the wing and only touch down to breed. They are amazing to watch as they glide, twist, bank, and fly like an aerial acrobatic show.
However they are decreasing in number due to modern building methods where all cracks and crevices are sealed. Thankfully this summer of fantastic weather has been good to them. Long may we enjoy their skyfest. We wish them well on their challenging journey southwards and look forward to their return next spring.
Ennis, Co Clare
These screamers are no devil birds
Madam - The title "Scythe-shaped screamers" caught my eye in last week's paper and, with it, came another enlightening article from Joe Kennedy's Country Matters.
The screamers, of course, are our welcome summer visitor, the swift - the bird equivalent of a Japanese bullet train. The screaming, although shrill and piercing, does not cause alarm or fear. Rather it denotes all is well with nature.
Like Joe I have had the good fortune to rescue a bird which had temporally become grounded and I hope it brought me good luck!. 'Devil Birds' they most certainly are not.
Cry of despair over Gaza war
Madam - I despair. I despair at the absence of courage among our World leaders. I despair reading the accounts by Norwegian Dr. Mads Gilbertof, who is battling to save innocent civilians in Gaza's crumbling hospital. I despair looking at the countless pictures of lifeless children. They could be my children. I despair seeing the destruction of a people, by machines paid for by a great nation, one that values liberty and equality.
How can the Western World champion universal human rights and the rule of law while standing by watching the brutal deaths of civilians in Palestine? That I voice this opinion does not make me anti-Semitic. I do not condone the actions of Hamas.
Contae na Mí
The hypocrisy of calls for boycott
Madam - I am becoming more and more annoyed, frustrated and saddened by the daily clamour for boycotts of Israeli goods by every little organisation, disaffected person and trade union as a result of the war in Gaza.
I am not an apologist for Israel but the stench of hypocrisy from all the "anti-Israeli" voices in becoming rank and pitiful.
A friend just posted on Facebook that he is proud to be working for SuperValu/Musgraves as they had announced a boycott of Israeli goods, but he and Musgraves are not calling for a boycott of Syrian, Iranian or ISIS area goods and they are killing far more innocent people and kids in those areas than in Gaza.
There are as many reasons for what is happening in Gaza as there are proponents for each side. Israelis (Jews) grabbed the land after the Second World War (after being nearly exterminated in Europe), but not all of it Palestine - Palestine used also contain parts of what is now Egypt, Jordan and Syria, but nobody is calling for those areas to be returned.
The Israelis have maintained a blockade of Gaza for the last few years, to reduce the amount of weaponry reaching Hamas, who have sworn to annihilate each and every Jew - kids too.
I for one won't be bullied by the loudest screamer demanding a boycott but I will be boycotting any retail outlet who announces their own boycott of Israeli goods and denying me my rightful choice - and that starts today with SuperValu.
Condemnation from here is easy
Madam - The Palestinian people are oppressed.No right thinking person can think otherwise. However they are as much if not more oppressed by Hamas as Israel.
Like so many peoples and nations their rulers are to blame for so much of their troubles. Like it or not, Israel was created as a state by the United Nations in 1948. Within hours it was invaded by all its neighbouring Arab countries with one intent - to wipe it off the map.
Israel is the only truly democratic country in the Middle East that gives all its citizens protected equal rights under its basic laws whether they be Jew, Muslim, Christian or Dissenter. It must be protected.
As time moves on people naturally tend to forget the horrendous murderous suffering the Jewish people endured as a race all through history. That hatred and murderous intent is still with us. Its easy from a distance to condemn Israel.
Thankfully Israel has a defence system that can and has destroyed most of the thousands of rockets that have been fired indiscriminately into Israel with one aim - to kill as many Israei citzens as possible.
Do not fight in the name of God
Madam - We watched Simon Scharma on Charles I last evening and then we watched the news. Israelis, Muslims, all fighting in the name of God.
Oh, merciful God, save us from those who think they are inspired.
Cal Hyland, West Cork