Archive for the ‘Communications Energy and Natural Resources’ Category
By Jacob Richards
Today marks the first steps towards water charges in Ireland with installation of water meters beginning across the country. As things stand water meters are expected to be in place across the country in time for the introduction of water charges in 2015. The sight of water meters being installed will no doubt provoke uncertainty for many people and families across the country. This uncertainty will rest on the notion that once introduced there is no telling how high water charges may reach, further squeezing those already stretched to the limit by crippling property taxes and other levies. Yet if any positive can be taken right now it is that there is still time to act out against the introduction of water charges.
by Jacob Richards
Many of us will have noticed the ever-increasing use of the term “fracking” that is coming up for debate in various media locally and nationally. It seems that “fracking” is now a hot topic that inspires controversy wherever it is said. “Fracking” in very simple terms is a process whereby highly pressurised fluid often containing hundreds of chemicals, is pumped until it bores into the layers of rock thousands of feet under the earth’s surface. By doing this the rock becomes fractured releasing pockets of gas which are then pumped back to the surface to be used as a means of fuel. The process has taken off particularly in the United States over the last ten years. This sounds well and good but in reality the process has caused great damage to local environments and also posed health risks to local communities.
A European Citizen’s Initiative has raised over one million signatures petitioning the EU to make commitments in the area of access to water and sanitation. The petition also calls on the EU to protect water services across Europe from ‘internal market rules’ and privatisation. Essentially the campaign seeks to keep water services in the public’s hands.
The TV licence fee funds public service broadcasts and insures that private media moguls do not get to own all the viewpoints in broadcast media.
What we must avoid is allowing a home broadcasting tax become a tax that is not linked to usage or ownership, if let, this TV tax will become a tax on people for merely existing.
Supporting public service broadcasting is part of protecting media diversity. As the Minister for Communications deliberates on changing from TV licence fee to home broadcasting tax, here are some pointers to be mindful of.