Water charges are not the issue
The dust had hardly settled on the General Election when two of the most experienced politicians in the country conspired between them to stir the hornet's nest that is Irish Water and the contentious issue of water charges in general. If the intervention of Simon Coveney and Barry Cowen on national television last week is an example of how a putative new government comprising some arrangement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail will work, then the heart sinks.
Opinion polls have informed us that the water charges issue, while still a running sore for a large section of society, was not central to the outcome of the election, and was certainly not as important to voters as an array of other, far more pressing matters which the new administration will have to face in short order.
Whatever their intentions, the intervention of Coveney and Cowen is likely to cause further harm to what is an already badly damaged utility company and the prospect now exists that the conflicting positions of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail will lead to mass non-payment of water bills at least until a new government eventually contends with the issue. This is a matter of some regret and a source of understandable anger, not least for those who have dutifully paid the charge.