Sunday 22 September 2019

All those committed to democracy mourn today

Our country joins with our neighbours across the Irish Sea in mourning the loss of Ms Cox. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire
Our country joins with our neighbours across the Irish Sea in mourning the loss of Ms Cox. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire


'A dedicated campaigner for social justice and peace."

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn endeavoured to capture the shock and grief of his party and country as a whole after the horrific murder of Jo Cox.

A mother of two children, she was only elected as an MP last year yet had already established a reputation as a strong advocate for refugees fleeing conflict.

The 41-year-old was shot and stabbed repeatedly near Birstall Library, West Yorkshire, just before she was due to hold an advice surgery there at 1pm.

The perpetrator of this heinous crime appeared to have extremist views, but there can be no excuse for his actions.

The attack was against everyone who believes in a free society. The death of this brave parliamentarian has sent shock waves across the world.

During the Troubles, the Provisional IRA targeted British government ministers and MPs. The last MP to be murdered while serving in office was Ian Gow, a Conservative MP and former army officer who was opposed to the Anglo-Irish Agreement, who was killed outside his East Sussex home in July 1990 when the IRA placed a Semtex car bomb under his Austin Montego. The IRA claimed responsibility for the cowardly murder, stating that the MP for Eastbourne had been targeted because he was a "close personal associate" of the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Again, nothing can excuse that cowardly act, equally carried out by misguided individuals.

Our country joins with our neighbours across the Irish Sea in mourning the loss of Ms Cox. As President Michael D Higgins said: "As all of us sympathise with her family, including her young children, all of us who are committed to democratic politics must also acknowledge our being shocked, appalled and outraged at the attack on her."

Her death puts the partisan row over Brexit in context.

Another fine mess on an environmental issue

You'd think the water charges experience would have ensured the Government understood the importance of getting matters in order before launching a new charge on an unsuspecting public.

Instead, a fortnight away from the switch to a pay-by-weight bin charge system, confusion reigns - not just among householders, but seemingly among ministers too.

The bin charges are now set to become a new 'Irish Water'-style fiasco as the Government scrambles for a way to cap the charges or ensure companies don't gouge their customers.

The principle makes sense: rather than a flat fee, householders would only pay for the waste they produce. The change would encourage a reduction in waste and an increase in recycling, making the polluter more aware of the environmental impact of their consumption.

But now, Opposition parties and backbench TDs are calling for the regime to be postponed beyond July 1.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney is "calling in" waste companies for a crisis meeting today.

To alleviate the concerns of householders, clarification on this matter is required from the minister - rapidly.

Irish Independent

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