Sunday 8 December 2019

Where are core values in Labour's water plan?

WHAT happens to Labourites when they get into power? They seem to completely lose their core values, particularly regarding wealth distribution.

Following on from one suggestion that welfare applicants should have their fingerprints taken -- no such suggestion for anyone joining the myriad quangos and boards that abound still -- another comes out of the woodwork robustly attacking all and sundry who disagree with its 'poll tax' proposal to introduce individual water charges.

John Whelan makes the startling claim that "there is no running from the fact that we have to pay for water" in support of his proposals. Of course we do, John, but not necessarily by way of an individual charge.

His proposal might be fine if at the same time he was advocating and fighting for a fairer distribution of wealth.

Under his proposal, those with little will be condemned to "reuse bath water" when bathing their children, while those at the other end of the socio-economic scale will be allowed to fill swimming pools as they wish, simply because they can afford to pay whatever charge is levied.

Applying individual charges for essentials will always result in those with little experiencing difficulty with access -- just look at former Health Minister Mary Harney's multi-tier healthcare shambles.

The best and fairest way to meet the costs of delivering a clean water supply, which ensures that all citizens have equal access, is to deliver it paid for from central funds.

Water is a vital commodity that must be conserved, but all the introduction of individual charges will do is ration water for the less well-off.

As with all these PD-inspired "let them eat cake" ideas, when scarcity arrives it is the least well-off who are forced to do without.

Jim O'Sullivan
Rathedmond, Sligo

Irish Independent

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