Current Affairs Politics

The Irish Neo-Ascendancy: You Pay So We Don’t Have To

Enda "Oirish" Kenny
As the prime minister of Ireland this man gets paid more than the prime ministers of Britain, France, Spain and Italy. Sound fair or reasonable to you?

Just when you believe that resigned familiarity has made one desensitized to the arrogance of Ireland’s Neo-Ascendancy class along comes a revelation that reminds one of the truly iniquitous divisions that define modern Irish society. The privileges of the 10% “haves” versus the servility of the 90% “have-nots” via the “Irish” Mirror:

“Pampered politicians will not have to pay water charges on their second homes.

Ministers, Junior Ministers and the Attorney General will be exempt from the €125 payment on their second residence thanks to a law dating back to 1997.

The laws entitles Ministers to claim a €3,500 tax deduction on top of the cost of their second homes.

Rural-based ministers are entitled to write off the cost of mortgage interest on the Dublin properties they stay in while attending the Dail – as well as laundry, electricity bills, gas bills, repairs and maintenance.

The taxman has now confirmed that the €125 charge for second homes can be claimed for also.

The crippling levies come into effect with the first bill landing in the letter boxes of two million people in January.

  • The average charge for two adults will be €278 a year, €35 more than Enda Kenny promised
  • Children up to the age of 18 will only get a 21,000 litre allowance up but the average young adult uses 30,000 more
  • The assessed charge will be frozen for nine months but 80% of houses won’t be metered until 2016 meaning it could rise for them
  • Homes with boil-water notices for 24 hours before the levies come in will get 50% off their bill
  • The cost per 1,000 litres is €4.88 meaning a five-minute shower will cost you 17c or 39c for a bath.
  • The levies mean the average charge for an adult will be €176, for two €278, for three €381, for four €483 and for five €583.

Fianna Fail Environment spokesman Barry Cowen said the figures show the Government was dishonest from the beginning.”

When a member of Fianna Fáil can accuse someone else of political dishonesty – and get away with it – then you know that things are bad. Cunning Hired Knaves has more on this.

17 comments on “The Irish Neo-Ascendancy: You Pay So We Don’t Have To

  1. €278 a year is not much for Ireland.
    My monthly rent is ~2x of that.


    • Two parents plus two adult children (a typical situation here) averages €483 p.a. which is not inconsiderable when you factor in additional annual charges like the property tax, broadcasting charge, refuse collection, etc. And remember that these are being deducted from a substantially lower take-home base in most households than was the case six years ago.

      Many existing families will now find it necessary to pay up to a €1000 a year in household taxes of one sort or another while many new families will see their potential saving/spending power reduced by a €1000.

      These are taxes that all but incentivize families to encourage emigration amongst younger post-school members. It is generational-cleansing through taxation.

      Politics and political planning of the very worse type.

      I despair…


      • the property tax, broadcasting charge, refuse collection, etc
        These have nothing to do with the water charges.
        Broadcasting charge is not mandatory and it’s not that high – don’t want to pay? – just get rid of the TV.
        And what’s the problem with refuse collection?
        Do you think that it should be free?

        It is generational-cleansing through taxation.
        Over the top exaggerated statements like this is why I sometimes just can’t take you seriously.


        • Jānis, a series of iniquitous taxes are of a one, water charges included.

          You do know that many nations include the lack of a TV in a household as one of the classifiers of living below the official poverty line? 90%+ of Irish homes contain one or more TVs and 80%+ of all Irish households watch terrestrial TV channels. Getting “rid” of the TV is simply not practical or desirable for most people/families. In fact higher rates of poverty and less disposable income has increased TV viewing. People don’t go out, they stay at home and watch TV. Young families who can’t afford child-care, after-school care use TVs as substitute minders. Senior citizens would be lost without TVs. The general public would be less informed on news or current affairs minus the possession of a TV. The “always connected” age is not upon us yet. Not for the majority of people.

          Public services are not free, they are paid for through general taxation. The cost of water supply to Irish homes is already accounted for and has been for many years (re. local authority rates then through tax system). This is an additional penalising tax that has profound implications for public health amongst other things. For many families or individual citizens on the poverty line 500 euros is the difference between make or break. You are far too blasé about these things. Water taxation will have a ripple effect in many communities (as it did during the 1980s in Dublin). As a society one must ask if the positives outweigh the negatives. I believe that they don’t as do many others.

          As for the effects of a broken socio-economic system made worse by the imposition of ill-thought-out taxes let me ask some of my contemporary family or friends what they think… Ooops, sorry I can’t. They are all living in Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, etc.

          Perhaps my younger brother or sister could ask their peers…? Nope, they are gone too.

          My mother believes she won’t be able to cope with the new taxes, not on her income. Perhaps she should just get up and leave too? After all it is just “lifestyle emigration“…


          • And yet thousands of people from the rest of the EU are immigrating into Ireland.
            And not just from Eastern Europe.
            Why are they here? Why are they immigrating into this, as you said, “GUBU republic”.


            • Because it has become a squalid neo-liberal Anglo-American wannabe state characterised by an eat-or-be-eaten ideology encouraged by greed-driven political and media classes. Most immigrants are not here for the indigenous language or culture, for the society or sense of community. They are here to make money, consume goods and generally ignore that beyond their immediate purview. Hopefully that will change in time. We could do with some of the better sensibilities of our new communities. Not for them to follow our mini-cloned version of the fallacious American dream.


              • characterised by an eat-or-be-eaten ideology
                What does that actually mean?

                That it has a market economy and not communism?

                They are here to make money, consume goods
                Isn’t that what everyone in the world are doing?

                Most immigrants are not here for the indigenous language or culture
                From what I have seen here – most locals do not care about the Irish language themselves either – so why should immigrants?
                And living in Ireland has definitely helped me to improve my English skills.

                So what are you trying to say – that we – immigrants – are here because the country is bad – or what? 😀


              • Why don’t you immigrants fuck off to whence you came and stop getting your dirty snouts in the trough you anti irish wanker


              • Hope Mother Russia invades you in return sorry I wouldn’t give my support to you baltic squealers


              • Mark, that is uncalled for. I don’t agree with Janis on many things but he is entitled to express his views and be met with a fair response.

                More temperate language, please.


  2. While its inevitable that we pay for water whether that be through direct taxation or metered billing.
    The price of €4.88 ($7.01) for a 1,000 litres seems very high. I currently live in Melbourne the price of water varies over the year but not by much,on my most recent bill I paid $2.52 (€1.93) for a 1,000 litres.
    The water bills in the state of Victoria take into account the cost of building a desalination plant because water is not as plentiful in Australia as Ireland, yet it appears its far cheaper.


    • While death is inevitable taxes are not 😉

      In some contexts, such as parts of Australia, charging for the provision of water may make some sense due to the scarcity of the resource and the need to encourage conservation, etc. as well as paying for its supply (I’m dubious on the latter).

      In the Irish context it makes very little sense indeed, even from a conservation viewpoint. It is simply the case of a necessary resource for all citizens being taxed because the citizenry can ill-afford to live without it. Jokes about taxing oxygen or sunlight next are not entirely without a point. Why not tax births (since we tax deaths, albeit in a roundabout way)?

      For taxation to be bearable it must be seen to be fair or logical. Water taxation is neither. Especially when in many cases people will pay tax for water that is unfit for human consumption.

      There are no environmental or health concerns here whatsoever.

      It is state-extortion through punitive taxation.

      Revolutions have started over matters as small as this…


      • In the Irish context it makes very little sense indeed, even from a conservation viewpoint.
        Water treatment definitely is not free. You have to pay for it everywhere else in Europe.

        Don’t like paying for water – there’s always an option to drill your own well – just like my parents and grandparents did.

        Especially when in many cases people will pay tax for water that is unfit for human consumption.
        Soo the current model fails to deliver an acceptable water quality in some places and you still want to keep it?


        • Water treatment was paid for and is paid for through general taxation since the ’70s. It is a public health measure, like free vaccinations, maternity provisions, etc. To say it again: WE ARE ALREADY PAYING FOR OUR WATER. IT IS NOT FREE. IT HAS NEVER BEEN FREE.

          This is the big lie of the whole water charges farrago as pushed by those who hope to profit from it.

          Yes, I’m sure people all over suburban Dublin can simply sink wells into their back gardens.

          The current model should be fixed not replaced by a model that has no guarantees of being any better. A model that is a cosmetic exercise to cover a major business opportunity to exploit consumers who have no option but to pay up. It is extortion and a re-run of the 1980s.


          • I think that it’s fair that those who consume more water also pay more for its treatment.
            That’s the case everywhere else in the EU.
            + in some countries like Latvia there are no free allowances either – you have to pay for every single m3 you consume.


            • Unless you view water as one of the essential services the state should provide in a safe and regulated manner because that is simply one of the purposes of the state itself.

              If it is argued that certain services by the state should be charged for, not out of general taxation but through personalised charges, then why not apply it to policing, the criminal justice system, etc.? Take the thing to the logical next step? Prisoners paying for their own cells?

              The point is that certain things fall into categories that cannot be quantified in the manner those supporting the water charges believe.

              Fair enough, some may think it utopian, socialist or whatever. I take that criticism on-board. However there are certain red lines in society, and between a state and its citizens, that should not be crossed. This is one of them, not just because of what it is but because of what it represents.

              It is wrong and in their bones a sizeable proportion of the Irish people instinctively know it is wrong. This is the 1980s’ all over again.


              • Prisoners paying for their own cells?
                That’s a good idea actually.

                Access to enough water not to die from thirst should be a human right.
                Access to enough water to water a lawn and wash a car should not be a right.
                Everyone who consumes more than a bare minimum required for survival must pay.
                Just like we pay for electricity, food, housing and everything else.


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