Household charge protest planned

Wed, Sep 7, 2011, 01:00

Non-payment of the household charge will be the focus of a campaign to be unveiled in Dublin this weekend, United Left Alliance TDs said today.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan announced the temporary household charge of €100 per year last July.

The new tax, viewed as a forerunner to a property tax and a water charge, will be levied on the estimated 1.8 million householders in the State, potentially raising €160 million in revenue in 2012.

At a protest picket outside Leinster House, Socialist Party Deputy Joe Higgins said it would be "a very, very big campaign in political and organisational terms".

He said the only way to fight back was through “people power” because the Dáil had “a massive right-wing majority implementing a policy of making working-class people pay for the crimes of the property developers and the bankers”.

Mr Higgins said: “People are telling us that they are going to boycott the charge.”

There would be meeting on Saturday at 1.30pm in the Teachers’ Club, Parnell Square, he said. “The purpose is to facilitate people from right around the country to build a campaign based on mass non-payment of the household tax.

“We believe that will grow into a major issue, particularly next year, and that it is the only way people can really assert opposition to this ongoing disastrous austerity.”

People before Profit Alliance TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the purpose of Saturday’s meeting was “setting up the infrastructure for a mass campaign of resistance”.

He added: “The indications we’re getting from ordinary people is that they are absolutely disgusted at this utterly regressive attack on working people and that they are ready to resist.”

A statement from the organisers said some 80 to 100 public meetings are being planned for every community in Dublin city and county. “This Saturday’s National Organising Forum is intended to equip people who want to fight the charge from across the country with the know-how for building campaigns of non-payment in their community. Anybody who wants to fight this charge is welcome to attend.”