Water charges. The political Sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of Labour Party TDanna in constituencies across the country, whose blade may be long enough to cast a shadow over a number of Fine Gael deputies too. Judging by the current polling trends FG will survive the electoral purge of 2016 (or 2015 if bullish Kenny forces timorous Burton into jumping early) with the loss of 20-25 seats. Labour on the other hand will probably retain less than a third of its representatives in Dáil Éireann from its present score of 34 (predictions that they it will emerge from the next general election with 1 or 2 TDanna seems very unlikely). However the thread above the heads of Labour and its allies grows evermore tenuous with each passing announcement of government arrogance and high-handedness:
From a report published on The Journal:
“PROPOSED PLANS TO deduct water charges from people’s income have been heavily criticised this morning.
It’s emerged that the government is considering taking unpaid water bills from people’s wages or social welfare payments if they refuse to pay.
Speaking on Claire Byrne Live last night, Alan Kelly [minister for the environment] would not rule out the idea that water charges would be taken from people’s income.
“I’m not going to pour cold water on it for the simple reason that is this, from an equity and a fairness point of view, you know we’ve 66-67 per cent of people who have signed up and that needs to be respected,” he told the programme.”
So the supply of water that citizens already pay for through general taxation, including their salaries, is now to be doubled with increased, direct deductions from the wages or welfare payments of the 40% who refused to be bullied or intimidated into financing the iniquitous farce of Uisce Éireann. In other words the government will be doing what it is already doing – just more so. The political acumen of the Fine Oibre coalition never ceases to amaze.