The government can hardly have expected the introduction of water charges to be met with anything other than opposition but even they must be surprised at the level of outrage the plan has generated.
Now after months of keeping their heads in the sand as the protests grew, they finally appear to be listening to the people.
How carefully they listen and how much they act on what to hear has yet to be determined but the penny has finally dropped - after years of austerity, the imposition of water charges was one tax too many.
Surely the bean counters in government buildings could have come with a more equitable source of raising funds than imposing further hardship on those who have suffered most.
Most people are aware of the need to protect such a valuable resource as water and that to do so will cost money. But what people won’t accept is the way the government and Irish Water has gone about its business to the extent that people are now worried about how often they can flush their toilet or how long they can stay in the shower. Whoever let this develop so far has a lot to answer for.
The government is now looking at some alternatives to ease the burden. Their decisions are of crucial importance, not just to all householders, but to their own re-election prospects.