Water charges and politics

 

Sir, – If you want to use water, then you need to pay for it. That’s a basic rule for a utility. It’s a service and needs to be paid for by those who use it, just like any other.

But maybe I should smile, and just be happy? If water charges is the most contentious matter around, then Ireland is indeed a blessed land.

Look at the world around us and the serious issues that abound, yet all Ireland seems to worry about is whether we need to pay for the water that comes out of our taps! Oh happy land! – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL BURTON,

Virginia,

Co Cavan.

Sir, – The debate in relation to the funding of the water service and sewage infrastructure is open to criticism on the basis that it seems to concentrate on the “who pays” argument and also seems to want to trivialise the issue as just an argument between politicians.

Despite all the hoo-ha over the years, the provision of water and sewage infrastructure is not a trivial matter.

That is highlighted by the fact that the water service and sewage infrastructure has been leaking nearly 50 per cent of its water and polluting Irish lakes, rivers and seas for decades, and without any reference to the not so trivial cost of this to the Irish taxpayer or the environment.

That seems to be ignored in the who pays argument that has been going on for years now.

The debate also ignores the fact that the then government proposed introducing water charges and installing water meters as far back as the budget of 2009 as part of a national recovery plan made necessary by the much more than trivial financial collapse.

Water charges were also included in the agreement signed by the then government with the troika as part of the also seriously more than trivial €85 billion bailout in 2010.

It is appropriate, therefore, that the debate widens from the narrow who pays argument to a serious national debate on the importance to all of us of the provision of an adequate water service and sewage infrastructure.

The fact that those who formerly proposed water charges as a means of funding the service have changed their minds and are now opposing them means it is even more necessary to have a serious national debate on the subject. – Yours, etc,

A LEAVY,

Sutton,

Dublin 13.

Sir, – In 1977 Fianna Fáil won the general election by abolishing, among other things, rates on houses, a loss of indirect taxation that has had repercussions to this day.

Now 40 years later Fianna Fáil, having led governments that drowned the country in debt, wants to abolish water charges. Troika, please come back – all is forgiven!

SEÁN MURRAY,

Barna,

Co Galway.