The Grumpy Old Man

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....Oh Dear, Those Water Charges Again....

Yet more woes for an inept set of TDs as they struggle to form a government, hampered again by the Water Charges issue!

We all wish for something new with a freshly elected government, but wishing for that, seems to be like wishing for leprechauns to appear! The new set of recently elected TDs, here in Ireland, have again excelled themselves in showing their complete and utter idiocy, lack of common sense or clear thinking and exhibiting a real propensity for wasting yet more of The Taxpayer's hard earned money. All they seem to want to do is satisfy their own inflated egos and implement some form of party policy that strangely enough, they all claim they have a mandate to implement!

But let's get away from all the cant and rhetoric, and look at the foolishness, which is against the interests of Joe public, that has been proposed.

Like it or not, in Ireland, we have Irish Water charged with the job of sorting out the bloody water system. Don't forget, work was started on the task well over a year ago, so why not just let them get on with it and finish the job?

What is now being proposed, and I admit that the fate of Irish Water and their current work programme is totally unclear, seems to be, that we should establish a new committee and sit down and talk about the subject, for what is suggested in some quarters, to be another two years or so. (The cynics have said, going on past committees, there could well be another two general elections before a decision is taken) While that goes on, nobody pays their bills. The stupidity of this scenario is that according to recent reports; 70% (and rising) of consumers have paid their bills. Whether they should carry on or not is unclear, and if the charges are to be abandoned completely, what happens to the money that has already been collected from law-abiding citizens?

At the end of the day, the water system needs an absolute shed load of money spent on it now, not in two years time, but now. While these discussions go on, small communities don't get their waste disposal systems built and must therefore continue to dispatch raw untreated sewage into the sea right next to our bathing beaches. I'm sure this would do wonders for the tourist figures if the Irish Tourist Board published the names of resorts that have no or at best inadequate wastewater disposal systems. The current system of Irish Water and their water charges may not be ideal, but at least the funds raised are ring fenced and used solely for this task and not lining the pockets of politicians and other professional committee sitters. . One is tempted to ask, how many sewage systems for small communities could be built for the cost of this new talking shop?

I know the Irish love their craic, but sooner or later somebody is going to have to do something. Whatever gets done is not going to be acceptable to everybody. The government are supposed to be there to implement decisions for the benefit of the country as a whole. They should never kowtow to pressures exerted by minorities or pressure groups with vested interests.

This petty politicking is based on the antics of a few misguided individuals who do not want to pay their bills (or to put it differently, pay their way). I continually ask these people who is going to pay? (See Grumpy's "money, para 4"). I cannot understand their basic logic, if the government is going to pay, where are they going to get the money from? It comes from taxes, and who pays taxes? You do, The Taxpayer, so, one way or the other, you the public, The Taxpayer are going to pay to have the water system put right. At the end of the day, isn't it better to see how our money is being spent on this crucial life commodity rather than having it buried in some other far bigger megabudget. At least with a single utility like Irish Water handling the matter, it is clear which ass to kick when the system is at fault.

The alternative that may be proposed is that the money could be found by more State borrowing, after all, The State has just issued a bond maturing in 100 years time. Perhaps we ought to have a few more of those and then the money we've squandered (sorry borrowed) can be paid back by our grandchildren's grandchildren! I ask, is that really fair? The other option is to do nothing and just carry on drinking water from lead pipes, putting up with a lifetime of boil notices and when we go surfing or sea bathing accepting that we can only go through the motions.

On a slightly different, but philosophically related matter, I am appalled to hear that a similar approach has taken place regarding the new National Children's Hospital. Huge sums of money were spent in designing a new hospital, some three or four years ago, only to have the proposals shot down in flames at planning. I now read that, some years and no doubt a few million more Euros later, a completely new design has secured planning permission on a completely new site. It is fantastic news that the project will at last go ahead. What disgusts me, is I see yet more "gain sayers" are now claiming that it is still in the wrong place etc etc. Let's just hope the "powers that be" rapidly get things in gear and build the blessed thing this time. At the end of the day, no solution will satisfy everybody, even doing nothing and sitting round the table to talk about it yet again will waste even more money and delay this urgently needed project for another few years.

So, the time for talking is long gone so cut the crap, bite the bullet and get on with both jobs!

For an update on this most sorry saga, see the latest (mid-June 2016) grump which looks at the intervention of the EU and a couple of responses received via Twitter on the topic. To do so, click this link to more...... I make no apologies for the length of this particular grump!