Daniel O'Connell was being rowed across the River Liffey. O'Connell was soon to embark for London, where he had important business to attend to. The elderly boatman - trying to make conversation in the hope of getting an extra penny for the fare - wished O'Connell good luck in the upcoming important vote.
O'Connell smiled and said: "No matter which way the vote goes this evening, you'll still be rowing this boat tomorrow!"
Great man as he is remembered by many, yet some of our patriots of the 1916 Rising thought him arrogant.
So a warning to our present leaders in Leinster House.
You may well let them march, you may well let them have their say.
In the end you may well be the victor and make them pay.
But remember: "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still!
You may win this battle, and lose the war!
You may force Irish Water down our necks.
But we will remember when we are asked to place our X.
Clonsilla, Dublin 15
So Taoiseach Enda Kenny is promising us "clarity" and Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly is promising "changes" to the water-charging regime and that charges will be "modest". All we have to do is give the government a week or so to work things out and all will be OK. We'll see what transpires, but if I was a government TD I would be very worried indeed for my job.
If the Government doesn't get it right this time it'll be hello Mary Lou, goodbye Coalition at the next general election. And, going on their performance to date, the Coalition is quite likely to mess the whole thing up again.
The Coalition claims that the formation of Irish Water is the best way to keep the €800m or so cost of renewing the water system "off balance sheet" - and the water charges are required to ensure an income stream to keep Irish Water going.
No such worries about income steams for Mr Phil Hogan, architect of Irish Water as well as the property charge system. He is happily ensconced in Brussels as EU Commissioner for Agriculture for a five-year term at a salary of €250,000 a year plus more than adequate expenses.
I bet a lot of people in the Coalition are wishing they were in Big Phil's happy position right now. Some of them must feel like the Egyptians following the Israelites across the Red Sea - very, very afraid of water.
Coolock , Dublin 17
Why the reluctance to hold a referendum on the ownership and control of our water supply?
Promises to legislate in the Oireachtas simply will not cut it, as legislation can be - and frequently is - overturned. In addition, leading politicians have made a plethora of promises to desist from doing all manner of things - from no house taxes, to 'not another cent' to toxic banks, no water charges, etc.
Unfortunately, we know what has happened in the real world on these issues. I have phoned several politicians regarding a referendum on our water supply and have been told "no chance".
These same people are very exercised about a referendum on, for example, same-sex marriage.
I have no problem with such a referendum, but why the ducking and diving on the control and ownership of our water supply? Aligned with escalating water charges it threatens all manner of upset, civil disorder and potentially worse in our country.
Rathmines, Dublin 6
I welcome the letter from Diarmuid O'Flynn in the rural depths of North Cork (November 4).
The comments from our political leaders continue to baffle the intelligence. Suddenly, we all seem to want clarity and modest prices for water, now a commodity but hitherto something not lacking in the Emerald Isle. Living in Dublin since 1968 has taught me never to venture forth without an umbrella.
Clarity is always desirable, but we do not expect to find it on the lips of politicians anxious - above all - to please party leaders. The salient points have remained constant since 2008. They are:
1. Irish taxpayers ought not to be expected to pay for the self-inflicted debts of foreign bankers.
2. The Irish political class has placed the demands and threats of foreign bankers above the needs of Irish citizens, and in this respect the issue of water is appropriate. What can be more precious for us all than water?
3. Having protected foreign bankers in the accumulation of reckless debts, the political class has sought to protect itself against the Irish working class, that is, the plain people in every village, town and city of Ireland. For the rulers there are pensions and bonuses; for the working poor, yet more taxes.
The day of reckoning was bound to come. And it has arrived. The issue now is whether Fine Gael and Labour can survive in any condition as governing parties. It appears quite unlikely in both cases.
Dr Gerald Morgan
The Chaucer Hub, Trinity College
The duplicity of the government knows no bounds. Enda Kenny has ruled out a referendum on the issue of Irish Water. Instead, he promises to enact further tough legislation to ensure it can never be privatised. Isn't there meant to be double-lock legislation already in place to accomplish this?
If further legislation is required, isn't that an admission that the double-lock legislation actually isn't fit for purpose to begin with? Kenny is effectively admitting the double-lock legislation isn't worth the paper it's written on - and was probably never intended to be in the first place. Instead he offers a sop - further worthless scribblings on more headed paper in order to assuage the concerns of the 150,000 people who protested last weekend.
Don't be fooled - nothing short of a referendum will guarantee that our water system will never be privatized for as long as this State remains sovereign. Any "tough legislation" enacted by today's government can be as easily undone by any future government, should they wish to do so.
Kenny has had no problem setting up a commission to actively suggest referenda on a number of issues, and could easily run an Irish Water referendum alongside any of these. If he won't accede to the demands of democracy, he himself is not fit for purpose, and needs to be given the heave-ho in the next election - or sooner if possible.
Carrigaline, Co Cork
As a regular contributor to your letters page, I had withdrawal symptoms last Monday.
After checking my Irish Independent a few times, I realized it was true. To my shock and horror, no Letters page (November 3).
So please, please, Mr Editor, do not let this happen again - or I may have to book into rehab!
Glenties, Co Donegal