# Opinion

  1. Paying For Services

    Paying for public services is a hot potato topic in Ireland, given the Irish Water debacle. My main issue with the Irish Water saga was with the awarding of the metering contract to GMC/Sierra when Siemens offered to install meters for free back in 2010. Another classic example of an Irish Government wasting money – see electronic voting machines, and giving away our natural gas resources for other examples.

    I don’t know enough about these topics though, I should educate myself more on them, but limited time and other priorities scupper that. I do have a little proposal that may make some sense.

    I think we should charge for water consumption and make bin collections free.

    I’m sick of seeing all the fly tipping going on around the country. Horrible people are just dumping bags of rubbish wherever they like, rather than paying the few quid to have them handled correctly.

    Cleaning up fly tipping sites is expensive and inefficient. I’d wager more money is spent on paying the crews to travel to the sites, rather than actually cleaning up the sites.

    If waste collection was free, I don’t think people would bother with fly tipping. It would make it a complete waste of time.

    With this in place, then resume with water charges. People with private water supplies are already paying to run and maintain their pumps, installing water softeners, and topping up salt supplies each month.

    By charging for water, we know everyone is making a contribution for their usage. This is guaranteed as everybody will need their water supply.

    Waste collection is not guaranteed, as people just go dump their shite wherever they choose. By not charging for waste collection, we know there is no excuse for fly tipping. We end up with a cleaner countryside, less nappies littering footpaths and ring-roads, and more efficient use of county council staff.

    How to charge for water consumption is another days story. Obviously it would need to be done in a fair way, but as it’s something that be easily measured, it should be possible.

  2. Running Awareness

    I do a fair bit of running around the streets of Kilkenny, and I have a few little things I’m aware of that I try to keep in mind when doing so. It’s important to remember that we share the footpaths when we run. I’ve seen plenty of people who either think they own the footpath or are completely unware of how selfish they are.

    I also run at various times of the day and all year round. Running on the streets in the dark is a different proposition to daylight running, and I believe there are some other things to consider.

    Enough with the pontificating, here are the chunky bits.

    Give Space

    Don’t run close to pedestrians, give them a wide berth. BUT MY GARMIN WILL … I don’t care. If you’re that bothered about your times, go do some track running. It’s intimiating for pedestrians when they hear the heavy thud of running feet, especially when approaching from behind. In general I move either to the road (if there’s no traffic) or change sides of the road. Show some respect, it’s not difficult.

    Don’t Match Pace

    If you’re out running and you happen to be running at almost the same pace as someone else, don’t! Just stop and let them go, or speed up and overtake, or take another route. This is especially true if you’re a man and the other runner is a woman. BUT I’M NOT … I don’t care. Again this is something easy to avoid, and you can make life that little bit less uncomfortable for others.

    Go Wide

    If you go belting tight into a corner, there’s a strong chance there’s someone coming the opposite way. That someone may be a pensioner, a wheelchair user, a child, etc. It doesn’t matter who they are, because the other party will come off worst from this encounter. Stay wide, and slow down. Simples.

    Illumination Please

    Run where there is light as running on poorly lit roads can put your safety at risk, whether that is from an ankle turn, or a fall, or an assault. Putting your health at risk is not worth it, we’re doing this for the opposite reasons.

    Drivers are trying to kill you

    Assume all drivers are trying to kill you. Yeah yeah BUT NOT ALL DRI … I don’t care. Be in control of your own destiny. Don’t just step off footpaths, be aware, especially if you’re wearing headphones/ear buds. Some high-viz clothing may help you stand-out but don’t rely on it. That fluoro is not going to protect you from the metal block that smacks into you.

    New Routes

    Maybe you’re really happy to be running the same route almost every day, but I love to try new roads, lanes, routes. If I’m going somewhere to run an errand, say Waterford, I stick my runners in the car and when I’m finished up, I might do a short trot around unfamilar (or forgotten) roads. It’s nice to blow the cobwebs away, and keeps training fresher.


    Don’t go on and on about your running. Enjoy doing it, not talking about it incessantly (wait a minute, you’re going on about it right now!)

    Right that’s enough from me. Trot on fellow trotters.

  3. Dangerous Driving Penalties

    Motor vehicles are wonderful, transporting people and goods great distances, in a comfortable environment, and protected from the weather.

    However, motor vehicles are also extremely dangerous things, tons of metal travelling at high speed, with a human in charge of it’s direction.

    I barely trust people with cups of tea on my sofa, yet I’m expected to trust someone driving a massive truck at 100kph on a narrow strip of road. To make it worse in Ireland the quality of that road can vary greatly.

    But here’s the thing. It shouldn’t matter the condition of the road. A driver should adjust their speed in accordance with the quality of the road they are driving on, and with the conditions they are driving in.

    If all vehicles could only do 30kph (I know this isn’t practical using it for illustration), there would be way less incidents. Speed is the biggest issue here. Even if the driver was on their mobile phone, putting on lipstick, and after twenty pints of stout, the probability of a crash killing someone (including themselves) at 30kph must be pretty low.

    Driving is an unbelievable privilege to have. Just think how different your life would be if there were no cars or trucks or buses or tractors or vans or …

    A vehicle in the hands of a driver who does not pay due attention to driving safely, is a potential life taker, and the driver a potential killer.

    I’d like to see vehicle confiscation used as a deterrent for dangerous driving. The inconvenience of being vehicle-less might encourage people to pay more attention and be more respectful of life when driving.

    If a bus was confiscated because of dangerous driving, the driver would be in trouble with their employer. If a father was on his phone while dropping the children to school, they’d have an issue the next day getting their children to school. If a farmer didn’t have lights on a trailer, a loss of the tractor for a few days might be enough of a deterrent to encourage them to better maintain their vehicles.

    I’d like to see similar for illegal parking. People who park on cycle lanes, are putting their convenience above the life of people who cycle. Same with people who park on double yellows, too close to entrances, on footpaths, etc.

    I don’t know if this would work, but what we currently have doesn’t work at all. Maybe it would be pointless to even attempt it, as it wouldn’t be enforced like many of our existing traffic laws anyway.

  4. Worse Than Ignorance

    Loads of people don’t believe global warming is an issue we should be bothered about at all. Ignoring science to reinforce their belief system. This practice of ignoring something is in my opinion much worse than being ignorant of something. If you never knew something in the first place, then you are ignorant. It’s not a choice you make, it’s just a lack of exposure.

    I don’t understand why people throw the word ignorant around as a slur. I’m ignorant of many many things. These things don’t have to be in the realms where genuises live, like the two classics; rocket science, and brain surgery.

    I’m equally ignorant of what’s required to drive a train, to breastfeed, or being a member of parliment. I’m probably ignorant of more things than not.

    Like global warming deniers, we have gun rights advocates who ignore the everyday loss of life from gun crime. Yet, the higher number of mass shootings in the U.S. versus countries with strict gun control is stark. The numbers are ignored. New fangled things numbers.

    We live to live. We breath, drink, and eat to keep our bodies alive. It is our primary function. I’d imagine then that life itself is the most important thing to humans. Yet, these mass shootings where people die in the dozens, don’t even seem to spark enough empathy to bring about change in the law.

    It’s not an all or nothing end game, where all guns are taken off people. There is a middle ground where legislation and enforcement e.g. proper vetting, regular competancy testing, storage inspection, etc. you know, common sense approaches, can make gun ownership safe for everyone, including the gun owners and their families, safer.

    If the collective loss of life in such a gruesome and abrupt manner as a mass shooting, is not enough to make people want change, what is? When the death of 20 little kids (Sandy Hook) is so inconvienent to gun advocates, they invent conspiracy theories about it, and harass the parents who have lost their little babies. I’m freaked out for the future because there are such large groups of people who bascially don’t give a shit about people dying, and don’t care about those who are grieving their loss (and rubbed in by that vapid phrase “thoughts and prayers”).

    When I see these huge social issues, it makes me wonder how we can achieve any lasting good in the world. If we can’t solve people shooting people, how can we solve less daily-life-pressing issues.

    I mean, what hope do we have for trying to make the planet a healthier place by rapidly phasing out our use of fossil fuels? If we can’t convince people legislation is needed to stop people getting shot, what hope do we have of attempting to limit the human affects on the environment.

    Ignoring is worse than ignorance.