Unprecedented display of abject spinelessness
Flip-flopping, short-termist politicians are making a great national shambles by not facing up to the reality of water costs
All the main political parties in Ireland were, until quite recently, in favour of a State-owned national utility to run the water industry, financed mainly through user charges.
This was clearly understood by all three of them to imply charges on domestic users in urban areas who have never paid for water or wastewater disposal. The three biggest parties - Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein - have now executed a full 180-degree somersault on the issue. This has been a sequential, rather than a synchronised, pirouette, and has not been pretty to watch.
Sinn Fein was first out of the blocks following its surprise defeat at the Dublin South-West by-election in October 2014. The winner was the AAA candidate and Right2Water activist Paul Murphy, who won slightly fewer first-preference votes than the Sinn Fein favourite but eventually took the seat on the distribution of lower preferences.