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In defending water charges, a Fine Gael politician in Kilkenny declared last month: Water cannot be free.
His quote was from Coleridge’s The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. If the erudite politician had read a bit further, five verses on to be exact, he’d have learned the Mariner ended up with an albatross wrapped around his neck, a predicament Fine Gael and Labour could find themselves in at the next election.
I can already see the billboards in the run-up to the poll — proclamations in block capitals about the big wages in Irish Water, the gold-plated bonuses, the company’s achievement in bringing arrogance to a dubious art form in its failure to communicate clearly with the public.
Irish Water is a study in faceless bureaucracy. Queries to its hotline have either gone unanswered in many instances or drawn responses that added to confusion and bewilderment. And staff at the Department of Social Protection have expressed concern on the legality of requesting PPS numbers from customers. So what are citizens to think of this intrusive proposal?
Before the last election, both FG and Labour promised a break with the past but their handling of the fiasco has been as transparent as ditchwater on a dark winter’s evening.
By the next election this Government could find itself like the Ancient Mariner: all washed up and shipwrecked ... on a sea of broken promises.
Lower Coyne Street
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