Water charges and the common good


Sir, – It is surprising that, in an otherwise solid piece, Maureen Gaffney made no reference to what lies at the core of our current unease – the gross unfairness that has developed in the process used to gather “contributions” from individuals to bolster the common good. (“Why we must collect unpaid water charges”, Opinion & Analysis, Online, December 21st).

In the case of water charges, we know that the proposed process would have resulted in many engaging in water rationing and other means to pay a charge that bore no relationship whatever to their ability to pay.

We also know that the lurking objective to privatise, and thus permit profit-taking from this vital utility, would run contrary to any ambition to create a fair and decent place. In the UK, for example, it is estimated that up 20 per cent now live in water poverty as a result of the imposition of charges there that carry no protections.

It is very obvious that all our interests are served by a collective effort. It is also understood that each contribution will be different because we all differ.

The key to a successful society is understanding the difference, demanding contributions that are well within the capacity of the individual to make and to ensure that those who have difficulties keeping up are protected and given whatever help they need. The homelessness crisis must, surely, give us all cause to pause and think. – Yours, etc,