This means that, as in the past, water will have to join the queue behind health, social welfare, education and Ministerial favoured constituency sweet spots. Neither will Irish Water be able to borrow for critically required investment funds. Good luck with that.
To be fair to much maligned Labour, Brendan Howlin appears to have taken a more responsible attitude expressing the need for some form of charging. This despite the pressure it faces on water charges from the spend and soak “the rich” far left. The rich in this country, based on the level at which they reach the top level of tax, is defined astonishingly at those earning €33,800.
As The Irish Times recently pointed out: “A high personal tax take has adverse consequences. High marginal rates reduce the incentive for individuals to work and, for the State, they undermine competitiveness. They make it harder to retain Irish employees with portable skills or to attract workers from abroad. Someone on a €75,000 salary in Ireland pays 21 per cent more in tax than his or her counterpart in the UK.”
The Irish Independent reported this week that Irish Water will need almost €300m in additional State funding to make up the cost of suspending water charges. “Additional State funding” translates as those already clobbered by high taxes paying even more.
Fianna Fail is hoping that its record of recklessly steering the economy onto the rocks will be forgiven (or forgotten) by the electorate. Martin has implemented classic PR tactics by apologising and implying that it won’t happen again. The danger is that its U-Turn on water may well act as a reminder and warning to a doubtful public that the leopard can’t or won’t change its spots.
If Fianna Fail leads the next Government (not inevitable if a straight talking Leo can drag Fine Gael out of the 19th into the 21st century) then it looks as if:
- We face further increases in taxation to pay for water or
- Our water and sewage system deteriorates to the extent that more citizens, as in a third world country, have to queue with buckets and basins at water tankers.
It really is high time that some politicians stopped using water as a political football. Those that fail to do so may find that water turns into the ultimate own goal.