Saturday 22 October 2016

Paying for water utility was simply the rational thing to do

Published 16/05/2016 | 02:30

Attorney General Máire Whelan gave advice on water charges issue. Photo:
Attorney General Máire Whelan gave advice on water charges issue. Photo:

The issue of charging for our water/sewage service continues to make headlines. The more remarkable recent headlines referred to politicians disowning water charges which they themselves initiated when they were members of a previous government.

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They actually made the discontinuance of water charges a condition of forming the present Government.

The most recent headlines refer to a member of the present Cabinet who asked the Attorney General if he should pay.

Most of the rest of us paid because the water/sewage infrastructure has not been adequately maintained for decades.

We also paid because when the country was bankrupt by the decisions of its own most powerful citizens, they themselves proposed water charges as one of the means of raising money to plug the glaring gap in the Government coffers.

We also paid because water charges were included in budgets, national plans and agreements with the representatives of those foreign taxpayers who funded our multi-billion bailout in 2010.

We also paid because water charges were passed by the Dail which is the decision-making body we elect to pass laws for the citizens of this democratic republic.

We also paid because of the fact that most developed countries fund their water/sewage systems by direct charges.

In summary, we paid because we support the equity, efficiency and sustainability of a perfectly rational, economically and environmentally justified, lawful and necessary direct charge for a metered water supply that applies in most of the developed world.

A Leavy
Sutton, Dublin 13

All talk, no action from ministers

Ireland may not be used to the kind of minority government which is now in office, the fact is that the vibes we are all getting from both the old and new political representatives involved are those of instability and utter confusion, with plenty of rhetoric and very little action.

Bills for water charges are still being sent to people who do not know any more where they stand with regard to the mooted or promised abolition or regulation of same, thus being caught in the unfair, undemocratic inequality between those who are paying for the charges and those who are not.

The very grave Luas dispute is gaining momentum but the new Minister for Transport has declared that he is not willing to get involved, as it is a private dispute, forgetting the principle that, be it private or public, any dispute affecting the daily living of citizens should be any government's business.

Apart from empty promises, silence and inaction reign with regard to the other priority issues such as homelessness, housing and rent. Rent control or even a rent freeze are still being resisted, while unbridled rent levels are crippling an ever-increasing section of the population.

In this connection, the most absurd comment heard recently on TV was that freezing rents would be counterproductive as it would bring rents to far too low a level. It beggars belief! Imagine the joy of landlords if they introduced rent freeze at the level they are right now.

Concetto La Malfa
Dublin 4

Sabina is a real breath of fresh air

David Quinn (Irish Independent, May 13), berates Sabina Higgins for commenting on social issues, latterly abortion, because she is the President's wife. Allow me to dissuade you from the view that she is an appendage of an elected official.

Sabina has never been afraid to say what she believes; and why would she now?

Michael and Sabina are each a breath of fresh air blowing through the morass of Irish politics. A Leavey (May 13) is correct, except for one point, and that is, no matter who was in Government at the time, and like every other country, we would most likely have ended up with the same result, or worse. Why on earth would anyone try to silence them?

Sammy Harrington
Castletown, Berehaven, Cork

Brexit woes just a fantasy

The debate about Britain's membership in Europe is morphing into a scaremongering campaign. The American president, his former defence, state secretaries, and national security advisors, general secretaries of Nato, foreign dignitaries, the IMF have all joined the chorus warning about the potential dangers lurking in the horizon once Britain decides to leave the European Union.

All seem to be living in their ivory towers, away from the issues that affect the daily lives of the British people.

None of those preaching the virtues of immigration and remaining in the EU, needs to worry about a very real housing crisis, severe rent burdens, unemployment, waiting too long for an appointment with the GP, grieving for a relative or a friend dying while waiting for an organ on NHS lists, and the list goes on. They are financially secure for generations to come.

Why not come down from their ivory tower, interact with people and live their real lives far from their fantasies?

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob

Bono for Eurovision

Nicky Byrne's 'Sunlight' offering to the Eurovision was every bit as good if not better than many of the other songs staged during the semi-final heats.

Nicky gave a joyful and seasoned performance which I thoroughly enjoyed. Given that it still got the old heave-ho, the only option left to us is a final try, with Bono and Bob Geldof forming a boy (aul fella) band singing a posthumous song written by Percy French, a floor show by Flatley et al and a light show sponsored by the many Irish-based FDI tech giants.

It seems to tick all the boxes, including the PPP model.

If this fails our only option is 'Eurovisexit'. The funds that pay for the 10-or-so-second Bord Fáilte commercial that Eurovision offers could be put into a cross-border initiative - a 24-hour satellite channel showcasing all of the wonderful landscape, music, art, sport, food and adventure that our little island paradise has to offer.

Programming could include existing archives from RTÉ, TG4 and UTV and BBC's coast programme. Updated additions could be included to showcase new holiday opportunities.

Eileen O'Sullivan
Bray, Co Wicklow

History repeating itself

Clearly we have learned nothing from history regarding the Eurovision.

The lesson is if you can't beat them, join them, so I suggest that our next song be in Ukrainian.

Ed Toal
Galway City

Irish Independent

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