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Basic principle is nation will never trust Irish Water.

Byline: PAT FLANAGAN

Irish Water is the most disreputable company in Ireland, the sixth annual corporate reputations study revealed yesterday.

Thanks to Labour and Fine Gael and their pickpockets' charter, this reviled and incompetent firm will soon have access to your income, pension and benefits.

At the other end of the scale, the survey by the Reputations Agency found the most reputable and trustworthy company in the State was Google, which, incidentally, won't be taking money from your wages.

The difference being the internet giant is a real capitalist corporation that makes its money from doing real business with companies and individuals.

On the other hand, Irish Water is a pretend commercial enterprise there to feather nests. It also supplies water.

Google's head of Irish operations, Ronan Harris, emphasised that a good reputation is essential to any company as "in today's world, consumers will only transact with you if they trust you".

That's all very well for those who believe in free enterprise but in the land of the greased palm and the dodgy deal they have ways of making you transact.

The Coalition's plans to bring in measures to allow the likes of Irish Water to take money from people's wages and benefits is a step too far and one that will never be forgiven.

As well as being totally unfair it also sets a dangerous precedent as it gives the green light to virtually anyone, including licensed money lenders, to access to the public's cash.

There are just some things you don't do... acts that are simply not tolerated in this society and taking money from people's wallets and purses is one of them.

Even if someone really did owe you money, you cannot put your hand into their pocket and grab a bundle of cash and put it into your own.

How would you know if that debtor badly needed that cash to buy his son or daughter a new pair of shoes? But such concerns are of little interest to our Government.

Joan Burton's attempts to defend these penal measures, claiming they will stop people from going to jail for unpaid bills, were nothing short of nauseating. But then again bringing in laws allowing cash to be taken from wages and benefits for a charge you promised you'd never enact is pretty revolting as well.

Five years ago a report by the Law Reform Commission recommended debtors should not be sent to jail, but nothing was done until the monster that is Irish Water came over the hill.

The reason for all this is because the Government has made a complete mess of the setting up of Irish Water and now bad laws are being compounded by worse ones.

How are they going to put an attachment order on a sole trader who only makes one payment to the Revenue once a year? Who is going to decide how much a private company is allowed to take from a family's social welfare benefit? Should Irish Water have first call on a very meagre payment if parents have a First Communion or Confirmation coming up? In recent years, the High Court allowed the Quinn family members up to [euro]2,000 a week while owing another State company, IBRC (don't mention Denis and Siteserv) close to [euro]2billion.

If a District Court were to rule that cash can be taken from people's benefits and pensions and they are left with barely enough to live on, wouldn't that mean there's one law for the rich and another for the poor? Surely not, so we can now look forward to attachment orders being placed against the pensions of Brian Cowen and the ministers from the previous government who cost us billions of euro.

No doubt the Government is this minute planning to dock the publiclyfunded pensions of the financial fatcats up before the Banking Inquiry to get back some of the huge debts they dumped on the taxpayer.

In your dreams. Like taxes, this Thatcherite pickpockets' charter is for the little people.

In the Dail yesterday Joan Burton, whose party promised it wouldn't bring in water charges, hit out at TDs on "handsome" pay for not coughing up.

Someone should have told her they're doing it on a point of principle - and then maybe explained the word to her as well.

Now bad laws are being compounded by worse one

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BACKLASH Minister Joan Burton
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 8, 2015
Words:737
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