Wednesday, 25th April 2012
When someone deliberately goes out to find a big stick to beat themselves with you have to wonder what the motivation is. But when the Government goes out and do it you really do have to sit down and wonder what exactly they are up to. When it comes to the blame game there is no better species than politicians to stick to the line of 'it wasn't me'. Now however we have a situation where the Government has come out and said that we will have to pay for our water supply. Not everyone, but some. Not until 2014. And you'll have to pay for the pleasure of having a water meter installed so that the amount of water you use is measured. This won't be a once off payment. How many years will you have to pay this charge? 1,2,3,4? No, 20 years. If the Government thought of a more shambolic way of introducing this new charge they wouldn't have been able. Effectively they have given the Opposition a stick to beat it with for years to come. And this is on top of the Household Tax. Water taxes have a very long and very complicated history. We here in Waterford are no strangers to that. There is a long history of opposition to water charges here and few people will forget the time that a car containing people that were cutting off people's water supply was surrounded by a huge crowd of people and that the Guards had to be called out to rescue them. The thing is that Irish people have a complicated relationship with water. It is said that the Innuit have 50 words for snow. Irish people, in the same vein, have over 50 ways of describing rain. English people think they talk a lot about the weather. They should hear what its like when Irish people get together. So the idea that we should have to pay, and very highly at that, for something that we seem to have a natural abundance of strikes us as being very unfair. And that it sounds like another tax when almost everyone's income has fallen and so many people have been made unemployed and emigration is sky rocketing just really feels like someone is twisting the knife. But it has been pointed out that Ireland is the only country in the OECD where people don't pay for their water supply. Also it is pointed out that it isn't just a manner of collecting water and pumping it into people's houses. There is a lot that has to be done to the water supply, a lot of purification and so on to make sure that our water supply is of a good enough quality. Of course these are all valid arguments. But only up to a point. The fact is that the vast majority of people pay their fair share, and then some, in taxes already. Why should they have to pay to effectively pay another tax for a water supply? Also isn't this just the first step on the road to privatisation of this industry? Something that will see the loss of hundreds of jobs and much higher bill for customers? The privatisation of the water supply industry in Ireland is something that the Troika would probably whole heartedly support. But what the Troika thinks is good for the country and what the people of this country think are not necessarily the same thing. There maybe many things that we have to put up with but surely we don't have to roll over on everything? What is interesting is that this Government which came in on a huge wave of popular support is now finding that that its much harder to be in power than it originally thought. Also it looks as if its support is dropping. While its hands might be tied on a lot of things there are a host of issues on which it has independence. The fact that Sinn Fein seems to be on Labour's heels in terms of popularity is a sure indication that the Government really has to have a think and just be more creative about things. It can't just simply tax its way out of trouble.
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Google AlertWhen a company which has it's European Headquarters here in Ireland is called 'evil' and 'immoral' by M.P.s in The House of Commons you tend to sit up and take notice. The particular company that was being referred to was Google and the reason it had enraged M.P.s in London was because even though it has a big operation there and conducts a lot of business there it pays no corporate tax. It does this by having all of its financial transactions finished here in Ireland. And the company here is …
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