Monday 24 October 2016

Solving water issue

Published 12/06/2016 | 02:30

'This would mean a payment of €50 for a quarterly billing for the treatment and delivery of 10,000 litres of top-quality drinking water to your home.'
'This would mean a payment of €50 for a quarterly billing for the treatment and delivery of 10,000 litres of top-quality drinking water to your home.'

Sir — Water problem solved.

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It is possible to accede to people’s wishes to have free water.

The Government should scrap its plans immediately to charge for water and instead charge only for the treatment and transportation of water.

All water bills should show a breakdown as follows: for example, 10,000 litres of water = no charge; the treatment of 10,000 @ 0.3 cent per litre = €30; transportation and maintenance costs for 10,000 @ 0.2 cent per litre = €20.

This would mean a payment of €50 for a quarterly billing for the treatment and delivery of 10,000 litres of top-quality drinking water to your home.

I believe that this system meets everybody’s requirements and desires. The right-to-water brigades can exit stage left as the charge is no longer for the raw material water but rather a service which is necessary and worth paying for.

Now please raise your pint (glass of treated water poured from your tap at a cost of 0.25 cent) and say slainte.

Gerry O’Kelly,

Co Cork

Real change for the health service

Sir - Eoin O'Malley misses the point when he argued (Sunday Independent, June 5) that the new Minister for Health should avoid radical change. The problem is not the Irish health system (and entire public sector) but the fact there is no will to reform among those who have the power to reform. Mr Harris has a taxpayer funded private healthcare policy, as did each of his predecessors - as do all of the people who get past his gate keepers and can meet him face to face.

The UK has a free at the point of use health system and it costs £136.7bn for a population of 64.1 million. We have a patchwork that costs €13bn for a population of 4.6 million. On current exchange rates, the UK cost is £2,132 or €2,709 per person, while for Ireland the equivalent is £2,223.50 or €2,826 per person.

So the Irish system as it is currently funded could easily provide a free at the point of use. Accepting that principle and placing it on a legal basis, via a constitutional change, should be the first step.

For those who claim it can't be done or it can't be paid for, I would point out that World War 2 ended in Europe on May 8, 1945. A general election was held in the UK on July 5, 1945 and the new Labour government took office on July 26, 1945 with a country that was financially and physically wrecked. Yet it still managed to start the NHS on July 5, 1948, three years into its term.

If a country could deal with the end of a world war, the planning for reconstruction, the planning to turn a war economy into a peacetime consumer economy, the dismantling of an empire and the creation of a modern welfare state, and still find the money and time to set up a free at the point of use national health service, then there is no excuse for our pampered political and civil service class to be so unimaginative and lazy now. The fact we take it for granted that our establishment will fail to meet our expectations, no matter how low we set them, might be something Mr Harris wants to change. But he can only do that by implementing radical change and standing up to the vested interests of the professional class who profit so much from the current system.

There is no evidence Mr Harris is willing or able to do that. Fine Gael certainly isn't going to stand up to any vested interests given its financial conflict of interest in choosing to make itself reliant on the financial support of those vested interests.

Desmond FitzGerald,

Canary Wharf,


Meddling in other country's affairs

Sir - Patrick Doggett makes a very valid point in his letter, ('Brexit scare stories,' Sunday Independent, June 5), in which he states "it's staggeringly insensitive to now expect people to vote not in their own interests...", regarding Irish citizens in the UK voting in the upcoming referendum.

If the Irish government really cares for Irish citizens living in the UK, they should be encouraging them to vote based on the best interests of the UK which after all is where they live and pay their taxes. The effect of a Brexit on Ireland should not enter the equation.

All Irish citizens living in the UK are entitled to vote in the Brexit referendum. Interestingly UK citizens living in Ireland cannot vote in referenda. The Irish government should not abuse its position and influence in a foreign country for selfish Irish national interests. We do not like other countries meddling in our affairs so let's keep out of the internal affairs of another sovereign state.

Tommy Roddy


Don't look in vain for Green cards

Sir - Clinton or Trump, either one is to be elected as the next president of The United States of America.

Whichever one is finally chosen, will it make one iota of difference who the bowl of shamrock is handed over to come next St Patrick's Day at the White House?

Are we still in the belief that the USA or any other country does business here because they love us, because we're Irish? That it has nothing at all to do with profit for Uncle Sam or any other amigos?

I believe the bigger the business corporations, the more likely they are to crawl across the road for an extra cent, dollar, or euro.

It has nothing to do with shamrock, Irish dancing, or how we play the harp, in short, there is no free lunch!

Whether Hillary or Donald get the job, I doubt if anytime soon that Green cards will be given to all who are working there illegally, most likely being paid peanuts, so take advice Jose and Miguel, Patrick and Sean.

Don't keep looking up towards the sky for those cards, you're likely to get knocked down.

Sadly our greatest exports are our fine young educated men and women who are unlikely to return any day soon.

Fred Molloy,

Dublin 15

What we owe to the liberal arts

Sir - To build upon Dr Kevin McCarthy's letter (Sunday Independent, June 5) relating to the saturation of STEM courses among CAO applications. The letter gave me a resurgence of hope and most certainly a renewed sense of worth in my own achievement as I recently finished my final year examinations and am awaiting my results and my masters acceptance position. I am a student of the liberal arts.

In the present economic climate, my achievement is a folly to many of my peers. For centuries, the humanities were the foundation of the university, the cornerstone of all scholarly pursuits, while the sciences were an integral part of the original liberal arts education; recognising man as the most deserving object of study, but also with the appellation most challenging. I do not wish to besmirch any area pertaining to the hard sciences, engineering or mathematics.

I am an advocate of progress and am fascinated and overcome by the advances of man. However, I do not believe it is the only system necessary for advancement. We owe a wealth to the liberal arts. The discipline has gifted our world ideas and concepts that have altered our social outlook. The humanities look at things as they are and in doing propose things as they could be potentially. It is a framework of thinking which grants an individual a critical, alternative and infinite understanding.

It will be to our own detriment that we neglect the arts. Take for example, the way in which people today view gender. In scientific terms gender was always fixed, male or female, it was only with the thinking of activists and theorists we now can propound gender as a fluid entity. The humanities have become most conspicuously liberating in recent years for challenging the legitimacy of scientific enterprise.

We can now look upon gender as a social construct and in that sense we can denote it as mutable. This is but one example of the vast conceptual inaugurations the liberal arts has brought to society. I choose this example as it is of present importance.

By questioning the limits of masculinity and femininity, we have forged ideas and made actions that were unprecedented to minds prior to discussions on the essence of gender. "Natural" conditions, such as those inescapably linked to biological facts of human sexuality, have now been perceived as socially constructed. This critical and inquisitive way of looking at things as they are is the benefit of the liberal arts. It does not simply give you knowledge, it gives a perspective.

To forget the liberal arts we must first relinquish history, philosophy, art and more. The one dimensionality of our capitalist economy erodes morally and culturally. I hope that students would rethink the arts and resist ill-informed misconceptions.

Contemporary society adheres to the capitalist manifesto - it is not wholly bad - but there are inflictions of this system influencing the minds of young students and this is wholly negative.

Do not let the point system incentivise you. Think freely and think differently. Today, anyone with a pensive disposition or a striving to question the context they are in should reconsider the liberal arts. The liberal arts is ineliminable, it cannot be overlooked due to its very nature. Let's not leave the labour market reflect the entirety of its values upon our quotidian exists.

Rebecca Murray

Language and a political world

Sir - I will say anything I wish regarding vocabulary which is not libellous or slanderous. I heard a geezer the other day on Newstalk quoting Muhammad Ali who once said: "Those brown people never called me nigger so why should I go and shoot them?"

But the silly man on the wireless said " ...never called me n-word..." I laughed out loud...nothing else to do when slapped with such nuttiness.

How can one quote someone verbatim when stupid self-censorship is applied?

What a ridiculous state of affairs when someone (Martin O'Neill) has to apologise for saying 'queer' in this politically correct world we live in, even when no harm is meant. Say it as you want to -never mind the bollocks.

If it is alright to support war and destruction on a daily basis, where is the comparison when law-abiding citizens speak in a way not approved of by a media-brigade which has nothing else to do but wait in the long grass for something innocuous to be pounced upon.

There is none - language which is not deliberately profound is just conversation.

Robert Sullivan,

Co Cork

Dublin dining

Sir - I refer to the article "20 best spots for outdoor eating" by Lucinda O'Sullivan (Sunday Independent, June 5). All the Dublin eating spots are in a nice line in south Dublin. Has Lucinda ever visited west or north Dublin? Please, a little more attempt at balance.

John Murphy,

Dublin 9

Pregnant women

Sir - I was amazed to read Carol Hunt's article (Sunday Independent, June 5) where she said pregnant women in this country were being treated like children, insinuating I presume that they can only act accordingly.

She cites the foundation of the State as her starting point for this 'despicable' treatment, but I can go back further, to the death of my grandmother in 1918. In those days, women gave birth at home without little or any medical help, except that of a local 'handy woman'. This situation still exists in many parts of the developing world today where women give birth alone with little or no medical help. Is this the comparison being made? If so, it is an insult to our medical schools, teaching hospitals and professionals.

It is a fact that sometimes women and babies die in childbirth despite the best of professional care, and every hospital, whether it is under the ethos of the Catholic Church [or some other], does its utmost to prevent this happening.

I have no doubt that a referendum on the repeal of the Eighth Amendment is imminent and we will all have the chance to exercise that right which was given to us, not by any government or law but by God - our own free will.

All new parents are now given a picture of their scans. When I looked at the one given to me, I didn't see a 'zygote', I saw my beautiful granddaughter.

B Ward,

Co Donegal

Working mothers

Sir - I am writing in reply to Niamh Horan's article on working mothers (Sunday Independent, May 27).

I am one of those mothers who availed of back-to-back maternity leave, 16 weeks' unpaid leave and parental leave. This allowed me to be at home with our daughters until they each turned one.

I returned to work in January to my full-time position as my employer no longer offers part-time positions. I would love to be at home more but unfortunately I don't have a choice.

Our children were loved and wanted before they were even born. We know how precious they are - sadly, our son died when he was almost four days old. He lives in our hearts instead of our home. We treasure our daughters and every minute with them. We wish things were different, but they aren't; we make the most of what we have. And what we have more than anything is love and it is a great love. Sadly, some people don't see the world with such love.

Joanne McGrath,


Sunday Independent

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