There is a political division on the issue of separation

Tom Gilsenan should consider himself lucky to have an electricity bill to shock him (‘Skyrocketing energy bills make for sobering reading’, Irish Independent, Letters, 10 October).

at least he doesn’t have to worry about his electricity being cut off next winter if he runs into financial difficulties and is unable to pay the bill thanks to a government shutdown moratorium.

Extraordinarily, the government’s concern and protection for billpayers does not extend to those who have prepaid meters between them and their power supply.

Despite earlier pledges from Taoiseach Micheál Martin that prepaid households will also eliminate fears of being disconnected should they not be able to top up their meters, Justice Secretary Helen McEntee appeared on RTÉs In this week refused to confirm that prepaid households should be included in the moratorium.

The only conclusion that can be drawn from its performance is that it would not be extended to mainly low-income households.

While everyone acknowledges that extending protections to prepaid households is problematic, this episode should at least prompt a thorough review of whether these meters are even suitable, particularly for low-income households, given the severe implications for those who don’t maintain them can recognition.

Perhaps they should only be installed in households that can prove they have sufficient income to keep the meters in balance at all times. They should not be installed in the homes of people with low fixed incomes, but that is where the preponderance of these meters is found.

There is one way to defuse the situation immediately, and that is for the government to order prepaid meter operators to waive the penalty for those who wish to switch from a prepaid meter back to a bill-paying system and thereby fall under the protections of the shutdown ban.

I make this proposal on the assumption that the government wants to ensure that even the least affluent are protected.

Jim O’Sullivan

Rathmond, Co. Sligo

The arbitrary reallocation system requires a major restructuring

It is the end customer who ultimately pays for any additional costs incurred for a product in transit to them, including the proposed 3% annual property tax on unused, repurposed land.

The homebuyer bears these additional costs as the seller recovers any additional tax payments. The real problem is the reallocation system, which allows sellers to profit enormously without doing any work.

With increasing pressures from population growth, focused planning is of paramount importance now and in the future.

Urban areas must be expanded in a fully planned manner, unlike the current system where builders can scout for land to build on, although much land will be repurposed.

A land designation system operated under compulsory purchase order (CPO) replacing land rezoning would mean planners could properly plan for a structured expansion of urban areas rather than the random development currently taking place.

Taxation, including the proposed 3 percent property tax, increases the cost to the end buyer.

Paying a property owner a fair, non-extortionate price to allow for proper planning and delivery of lower-priced housing for individuals is a more sensible way to address the timely and planned expansion of urban areas than adding another tax into the mix .

Land designation rather than land rezoning as it stands with CPO by the state at a fair price, and only if the land is needed for the next planned expansion, would be a better move than blunt taxation, which will only increase costs and guarantee not that the land will be released when needed.

David Doran

Bagenalstown, County Carlow

As an EU citizen, I do not want guns to be sent to kill in my name

This creeping militarization of the EU is very worrying. The recent statement by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell that “another taboo has fallen. The taboo that the European Union does not supply weapons in a war. Yes, we do,” is worrying.

Is Ireland included in this ‘we’? Article 29.2 of our Constitution states: “Ireland is committed to the principle of the peaceful settlement of international disputes by international arbitration or by judicial determination.”

I want Ireland to be a safe place for peace talks and to be seen as clearly committed to peace. I don’t want guns sent all over the world in my name.

Elizabeth Cullen

Kilcullen, Co. Kildare There is a political division on the issue of separation

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