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The cost of key utilities will be beyond the reach of most people unless drastic action is taken

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Households are already overstretched by the cost of utility bills and more rate rises are expected. Photo: Albert Shakirov

Households are already overstretched by the cost of utility bills and more rate rises are expected. Photo: Albert Shakirov

couple struggles to pay bills

couple struggles to pay bills

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Households are already overstretched by the cost of utility bills and more rate rises are expected. Photo: Albert Shakirov

When I read your front page report about Eir’s price hikes (‘Eir to hit millions of customers with raft of new price increases’, Irish Independent, June 9), I doubted the news.

I dismissed the idea that Eir could announce automatic yearly increases comprising the inflation rate plus 3pc. Lo and behold, I have just received a letter from Eir confirming that this is indeed the plan.

Given that nobody can expect their income to rise yearly at the same pace, it is clear that over a short number of years, many will simply not be able to afford these services.

Has anyone asked Eir to explain the rationale behind its plan and what the level of increase is based on? Has the company undertaken projections to see where its charges might be in five years?

One would think a company involved in the supply of a vital utility must clearly show how it justifies increases – and that it has studied the impact of such increases.

It is very worrying that, so far, not a single consumer agency has indicated any concern. This is lending much credence to the view that the regulatory quangos are focused on the interests of the supplier rather than the customer.

Since the wholesale privatisation of utilities here, the cost to Irish citizens quickly moved to the top of the list. Ireland has the dearest electricity, gas, telecommunications and bin-disposal costs in Europe.

It seems the situation is out of our control and faceless individuals are running these utilities with little or no regard for the capacity of citizens to access them.

Is it time we gave consid- eration to the renationalisation of these utilities? If we do not, it is clear that many citizens will very soon not be able to access them.

Jim O’Sullivan, Rathedmond, Co Sligo

Ireland must offer gesture of solidarity with Lebanon

Two years on from the devastating explosion at Beirut port, nobody has been brought to justice. The investigation has been deliberately stalled by key political parties at every opportunity.

The grain silos at the port continue to smoulder, highlighting the total dysfunction of the Lebanese state. Lebanon’s collapse is a result of corruption, mismanagement and gross negligence across the political system over 30 years.

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On a recent visit, the country’s continued descent into the unknown was evident – bread queues are now the norm.

In April, up to 40 people drowned off the northern coast as they attempted to make the short sea crossing to Cyprus. The bulk of these were Lebanese citizens escaping hunger and poverty. Human traffickers sense an opportunity as the state security system disintegrates.

Despite promises, the EU has let the political elite off the hook. As a result, any significant reform remains unlikely.

Ireland’s proud history with Lebanon goes back many years. It is time Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney injected significant pressure through the UN Security Council to support Lebanon.

The consequences of not acting will negatively impact on the lives of ordinary Lebanese and provide the wasteland that certain armed groups crave.

Colin Lee, Ballinteer, Dublin 16

It would be wrong not to remember Arthur Griffith

On August 18, 1922, the Irish Independent reported that Seán T O’Kelly had written from Kilmainham Gaol to Arthur Griffith’s widow (Griffith died on August 12, 1922) to say “his name deserves, and must receive, an honourable page in Ireland’s history”.

It is worth recalling that O’Kelly was involved with Griffith in Sinn Féin but opposed the Treaty and was later a Fianna Fáil founder and President of Ireland from 1945 to 1959.

Why did Culture Minister Catherine Martin, who is responsible for the Decade of Centenaries programme, make only a passing reference to Griffith in a written answer to a Dáil question about him on July 7?

It is very odd that he has not been deemed worthy of any state commemoration in this, the centenary year of his death.

Griffith was President of the Dáil when he collapsed and died. Before that, he led the Dáil-appointed plenipotentiaries who negotiated the agreement for an Anglo-Irish Treaty from October to December of 1921.

Having founded Sinn Féin in 1905, he advocated abstention from Westminster for those who were elected from Irish constituencies, which happened when the first Dáil met in 1919.

“The father of us all,” was Michael Collins’s summary of Griffith’s key role in the nationalist movements that led to independence. Others opposed to the Treaty also respected him.

It is not too late for the Ceann Comhairle, the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and TDs to redress the erasure of Griffith from the State’s Decade of Centenaries programme.

The State has scheduled the issuing of stamps to mark the deaths of Collins and Erskine Childers in, respectively, August and November of 1922.

I suggest that Arthur Griffith’s fellow nationalists on all sides would expect us to mark his work by at least convening the Dáil for a short session on Friday, August 12 – the centenary of his death.

Our elected representatives could use the occasion to reflect on the printer/journalist/editor/political prisoner/internee who did more than most to promote Irish independence.

Donal O’Brolcháin, Drumcondra, Dublin

Brexit is a success, but let’s have a second vote on it

I read, with great interest, David Ryan’s letter (‘Negatives associated with Brexit just keep piling up’, Letters, July 29). In his view, Brexit has been a failure.

I, for one, voted for Brexit in 2016 and am delighted with it. However, I would have no complaint if a second referendum were held, provided it was binding, whatever the result.

I voted Brexit as I hated the constant interference by the EU in Britain’s affairs. I remember when the UK joined the then-EEC in 1973, which was a great idea, but it evolved into something entirely different to what Britain joined.

Being English, I think it’s important that Scotland and Northern Ireland hold independence and reunification referendums as they both voted Remain in 2016.

I like miles, yards, feet, inches, pounds, ounces and stones. I miss Fahrenheit weather forecasts. Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, however, will say anything to become prime minister.

Dominic Shelmerdine, London

We’ve heard of a grand stretch, but a grand drop?

Overheard in west Wicklow: “That’s a grand drop of rain and it’s coming in at the right time. A day of that would do more good in a fortnight than a week of it would do in a month later on in the year.”

Mattie Lennon, Blessington, Co Wicklow

How can drivers process a payment without internet?

In September, the National Transport Authority (NTA) will introduce a regulation making it mandatory that taxi drivers accept card payment.

If drivers do not accept card payment, they face the prospect of being fined. This regulation is based on the false assumption that there is always-working mobile internet access nationwide to process these payments. There is not. Not even in Dublin.

Many factors hinder mobile internet access. Bad weather and tall buildings are but two. The NTA was informed of this problem but chose to ignore it. Why?

Rory McCloskey, Lusk, Co Dublin

This is not the time to put climate on the long finger

Congratulations to the Government for agreeing the sectoral emissions targets, which include setting the much-fraught agriculture target at 25pc.

Hopefully, the plan and the transformative action it can bring about won’t be hoofed down the line. Alas, I suspect the climate will be left waiting for a little longer.

Aidan Roddy, Cabinteely, Dublin 18


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