FIANNA FAIL and the Green Party are pressing ahead with their plans for a domestic water tax. Environment Minister, John Gormely, has stated that he hopes to raise €1 billion in revenue – from the 1.1 million households in the country. This would average out at €1000 per household!
The Green Party, attempting to justify hitting working people with more taxes, have claimed that installing meters and giving people a “free allocation” of water is a progressive measure. This is a lie. There is nothing to stop future governments from lowering the amount of “free allocation” and thereby increasing the bills for people. The abolishment of the bin tax waiver and the massive increased cost of bin charges illustrates that once these charges are established the burden on people increases. Instead of wasting €500 million plus installing water meters, these monies should be used instead to start a campaign to fix the leaking pipe and bring them up to European standard given that UK studies show that meters/charging do not reduce water usage in the long term.
Because of the determination of this government to make us pay for the economic crisis, there is now the real possibility that instead of waiting for water meters to be installed, the government may push ahead with a flat charge from December’s budget.
I believe water charges should be resisted whether they are based on metering or as a flat charge. Bin charges which have led to an ever-increasing financial burden on households and to privatisation of the sector show that the proposed water tax is not in the interests of ordinary people.
A mass campaign based in the communities is necessary to force the government to back down and I am committed to helping build the new Anti Water Tax Campaign and prepare the ground for a mass non-payment campaign.
A major Local Area Plan for Oldtown/Mooretown – that is the lands on both sides of the Rathbeale Road, up to the Rolestown Cottages, joining up with the back of the Swords Manor estates, Cianlea & Lioscian on the one side, and Bunbury Gate, Castleview & Ashton Broc on the other, will come before councillors for a vote on 12 July.
This Plan will have a major impact on the future of Swords, but particularly for residents living nearby. The site covers 275 acres and proposes 3400 new dwellings, ranging from 2-5 storeys with a planned population of 10,000 new residents! This will alter the area beyond recognition.
Two public meetings organised by Clare Daly in May saw residents express amazement at this plan, with so many unoccupied houses already. Nobody had confidence in the Council’s promises that infrastructure would be delivered in tandem.
The Plan refers to many road improvements and a new distributor road around Swords but these are needed now. Both the Rathbeale Road and Brackenstown Road are at capacity. Getting out of the greater Glen Ellan area in the mornings is a recurring nightmare with bottlenecks at Castlegrange, Estuary Roundabout and Watery Lane.
Reference is made to new schools, community facilities and neighbourhood shopping areas, which sounds great but Swords Manor residents are still waiting for their community centre, decades after the estates were built! Ultimately, this Plan will be accepted, rejected or amended by councillors at a meeting on 12 July. It is our belief that it is premature and should be rejected and the zoning of the lands re-considered as part of the new Development Plan. Don’t wait until it’s too late – contact the councillors today. Let your views be heard. Contact details on the Council website www.fingalcoco.ie. Pressure pays. Make them represent you.
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Poster for the march:
Read the initial call by Left MEPs here
Download the leaflet for the demonstration here