Wednesday 22 November 2017

Leadership and clarity needed on bin charges

Foundering: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Picture: Fergal Phillips
Foundering: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Picture: Fergal Phillips


The 32nd Dáil has been widely slated for its inability to get things done, so when the Coalition did crank its rusty gears into action there was always going to be a bit of a din. Yet the Government should not have been caught on the hop over bin charges.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was foundering, trying to kick the problem as far as he could into the long grass. He was on the shakiest of ground as he said the Government would press on with changes to the charges - but over a long period of time. The battle lines for the last election were drawn on the non-issue of water charges. Crass populism carried the day. Far more pressing concerns on health, housing and the economy were drowned out in the political auction, pledging new lamps for old.

Last time out, the government was beaten into submission by opposing forces. This time, it may have chosen the switch with which to beat its own back. There is confusion and doubt on how charges will hit. This can easily be exploited to create anxiety and fear.

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