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Irish Water

It finally happened. On the 11th of October 2014, the Irish people finally rose up and after six years of gazing jealously at displays of resistance in other states around Europe, I can honestly say I am proud to be Irish again. After six years of being lied to, financially obliterated, bullied, patronised and having our bones picked by vultures who feel we should thank them for gorging on our flesh, Ireland has decided she can’t take anymore. Her troops mobilised and descended on Dublin, passing the GPO in their tens of thousands, in a scene that reminded so many people of the day of our Independence a century ago, and just what Ireland can achieve when she puts her mind to it. And what was it that caused this sudden mobilisation? Irish Water, a quango with nothing but our “best interests” at heart of course.

I must point out at this juncture, that I am not actually against the concept of water charges, in fact, I am very much in favour of them. I must be clear though, I am totally against the water charges as they stand right now, for a number of reasons. I look at water charges from an ecological perspective. Water is a finite, yet critical resource. Without a clean supply, no life can exist. So charging for it, to those that can afford it, is a good idea. It will promote better use and raise revenue to ensure better, cleaner supply into the future. But, let’s be straight here, the blueshirts, and consequently the current administration, are no more worried about conservation and clean supply, than I am about the health of their party. Citizens are being charged water rates, to pay off an erroneous private bank debt, a debt which we never as a nation actually accrued, all on the dictation of foreign forces. They are the facts. 

A move that gave a vividly clear insight into this reasoning, and the Fine Gael way of thinking too of course, came a number of weeks ago. Irish Water, which uses taglines like “Improving Water Conservation”, was moved from the remit of the department of the environment into the department of finance. If ever you needed proof of the logic of the water charge and the charlatan nature of Fine Gael politics, this move was the evidence to crack the case. Water, and it’s sale to “consumers”, is nothing other than a way of making a few bucks to them, and sher if you line a few supporters pockets simultaneously, it’s a win-win, as they say.

It’s a cruel irony then, that just as the Irish psyche begins to forget the last tribunal which involved Fine Gael and allegedly corrupt businessmen, the same party and even the same businessman are now subject to some raised eyebrows regarding a company take-over. It seems Denis O’Brien either has an awaiting career as a psychic, if his fortunes ever change, or has once again got some political influence and insight into what government plans were in relation to Irish Water. How else can his takeover of the company which now supplies all the water meters be explained? Bearing in mind, part of the deal involved with his takeover was the obliteration of €110 million worth of debt, or almost 75% of it’s debt portfolio, by IBRC, the bank we as citizens, are on the hook for, a bank that was headed by, wait for it, a former Fine Gael leader. What a fortunate man Denis is indeed. 

But what’s just as troubling as all this, is it seems the blueshirt way of thinking is now even taking hold of the “left” party in government. Speaking in the Dail just a few days ago, Joan Burton, the leader of the so-called Labour party, spoke of how Irish Water was going to be a “consumer focused” entity. I must admit to experiencing deep concern, on hearing the leader of a left-wing party speak about “water” and “consumers” in the same breath. Charging for such a crucial resource should never be about making consumers out of current day citizens, it should only be about ensuring clean supply for the citizens of tomorrow. But that is the Fine Gael way, the way of the free-market; privatise everything and make consumers out of everyone, for even the most basic of needs. The cash pile for the wealthy few is endless. Privatise health care, water, hell, if you can figure out a way of privatising air, go do it, that’s the entrepreneurial spirit Ireland needs now!

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