Ireland – as famous for its freshwater lakes and rivers as it is for the soft rain which replenishes them and nourishes the verdant green hills.
Surrounded by some of the best water in the world – and they are up in arms! On the point of revolution, no less. The Irish government are threatening to charge Irish citizens for delivering it to their door…
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has threatened to refuse to take his seat in parliament (haven’t we been here before? Will he be taking his salary again?) unless the government drop their intention to install water meters.
The Irish government have said: “We cannot go on paying €1.2 billion per year for the production of water, with 40 per cent of it leaking away, thousands of people on boil water notices, dozens of treatment works not up to standard, and kilometres by the thousand of inferior pipework,’’ he said. The money has to come from somewhere.
50,000 people, if you believe Russia Today, or 100,000, if you subscribe to the views of the Trade Union organised ‘Right2Water Campaign’, took to the streets of Dublin on Saturday, wearing taps wrapped in tin foil on their head.
‘Water is a human right – without it, we die’. Indeed. Emotive soundbites. Is it also a human right to have it delivered to the tap in your kitchen though?
Curiously, Ireland is one of the few places in the world where you really do have a right to free water – and no less a body than ‘Irish Water’, the hated organisation that is installing the meters, will help you get a grant to pay for the drilling of a well in your back garden – and then not charge you for water any longer. True, if you don’t want the laborious work of pumping a handle on a frosty morning, you will have to pay for the cost of an electric pump to deliver the water to your tap.
Anti-austerity campaigners were out in force, noisily encouraging citizens not to pay the water bills that will arrive in January. ‘Can’t pay, won’t pay’ was the cry as they lined up unemployed citizens, living on the bread-line, for the perusal of television interviewers from Australia, Russia and all points in between.
A glance at the web site of ‘Irish Water’ – and you will see that ‘Can’t Pay’ doesn’t have to pay – everyone gets 30,000 litres of water entirely free of charge, with an extra 21,000 litres per child that requires the occasional scrub down. Beyond that, you pay €2.44 (just under two pounds) per 1,000 litres of extra water. Those who are on benefits are given €100 a year to pay for this. Those who have medical needs, such as dialysis patients are exempt.
But 40% of the water is leaking away through antiquated piping – why should we pay for that, goes the cry? You don’t have to – by installing a water meter, you will be able to see if any of the water going through your meter is leaking away, and if it is – guess what? ‘Irish Water’ will come and repair your pipes for free.
If you don’t pay the water bill, they won’t cut you off – they will (or are threatening to, though I don’t see how this will work in blocks of flats) cut your water supply down to a ‘trickle’ – there won’t be enough pressure to power the dishwasher, washing machine, or jacuzzi that every self-respecting austerity hit household has these days. There will just be enough water to drink, cook and wash with – that you won’t be paying for.
At the moment, water delivery is paid for by taxation – meaning that only those with jobs or businesses are paying for it. Water meters mean that everybody pays for what they use – shades of the Poll Tax and the ill named ‘Bedroom Tax’ here.
Even the BBC coverage of this charge started off with ‘Tap water in the Republic of Ireland until now has been free’. It has never been ‘free’. Other people were paying for it – it didn’t get into your tap by dint of a leprechaun. Now that organisation so beloved of the left – the EU and the IMF – have insisted that the charge be equally apportioned.
Why is it that the left wing who are so vociferously in favour of ‘equality’ have a nervous breakdown and organise mass demonstrations against any government that tries to treat its citizens equally?