Refunding the water charges

 

Sir, – I enjoy my power-shower and my garden and am happy to continue to pay my water charges without a refund. This option should be available for anyone who can afford it, preferably with a tax break. If for no other reason than it would be interesting to see how many other people feel the same way. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL FOLEY,

Rathmines,

Dublin 6.

Sir, – Your editorial (July 18th July )) quite rightly takes the parties and politicians (with the exception of the Green Party ) in the Dáil to task for their failure to introduce a successful water charging policy. We lay claim to being a modern democracy offering a high standard of living. Yet this is the same country which continues to issue boil-water notices, and where a number of our urban areas pump raw sewage into our waterways.

The populist bandwagon has been allowed to gather momentum, because our main political parties (Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil) don’t have the backbone to take on the Trotskyist left.

So, in this crazy world of non-accountability, some 60 per cent of our households are to have their water charges refunded. This ill-befits a wonderful country like Ireland. – Yours, etc,

MIKE CORMACK,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – As I recall, we were obliged to establish a system of charging citizens for water usage before we could get across the line to exit the bailout. It was a rushed job, and we cobbled together a structure that would pass muster for the troika.

We got out of jail and everyone lauded us as for our fiscal management. After celebrating, we probably should have “suspended”, but not “cancelled” that defective law relating to water charges. We should have given ourselves five years to consult and research the optimal structure to achieve efficiency, equity and transparency. We didn’t. We just tried to slam it through too quickly.

Now, the Government is going to give me back the legitimate charges which I paid. God knows where it is going to get it from. Please, keep it. I don’t want that money back in my pocket.

I want it to pay for clean water out of the taps of every person in the country. I want it to pay for essential repair to pipes so that my fellow citizens don’t have to leave their homes because predictable disaster hit. I want the management and control of water and sewage to be handled by experts who know how to construct a 10-year strategy and who are capable of setting key performance indicators and transparently getting on with the job.

I will pay a fair price for that, and I will undertake to be careful with my water consumption. I don’t want the management of this critical utility to go into the general government budget which is determined annually.

We have a mess. We should admit it without trying to allocate blame.

We should then announce a pause to allow the economists, hydrologists, accountants and engineers some clear blue water and a blank page to devise a long term plan, considering what happens elsewhere in the world and linking the necessary catch-up budget and the ongoing recurring budget with a suitable system of charging every one of us (with appropriate basic allowances) for our use of water.

Please keep my money and use it for that. – Yours, etc,

PATRICIA BARKER,

Malahide,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – So those of us who paid our water bills are to be refunded. It will cost the State €170 million (News, July 17th). For me, the money has gone. I can live a comfortable life without it. I have plenty of beautiful, clean water. I have plenty of food. If I get the refund, I will probably spend it on more stuff I don’t need.

In the same issue, I read in your leader that 24 million people are starving to death in East Africa, due to drought and conflict. They have no water, no food, no hope.The UN made a special appeal for $6 billion. They have been pledged a third of that.

Here’s a suggestion for you. Pay the €170 million directly to the UN appeal. Who among us would object? – Yours, etc,

JOHN QUINN,

Clarinbridge,

Co Galway.