TD urges people to refuse to pay household tax


OPPONENTS OF the new €100 household charge have said their campaign will be a battle for the hearts and minds of ordinary people.

Socialist party TD Clare Daly said she was very optimistic that history books would record the household tax as the turning point for Irish people, when they got up off their knees and said “enough is enough”.

Some 200 people from around the State attended a meeting organised for activists by the Campaign against Household and Water Taxes in Dublin on Saturday.

They are planning a series of countrywide meetings as they step up their campaign in the coming weeks. Campaigners are also planning a national poster campaign, door-to-door canvassing and the delivery of some 250,000 newsletters in their bid to encourage people to boycott the tax.

Householders must register and pay the €100 charge before the end of March. More than 30,000 households have already registered for the charge.

The campaign, with the slogan “Don’t register, don’t pay” aims to build mass non-registration before St Patrick’s Day, while activists will encourage members of the public to pay a €5 membership fee to help fund the campaign.

Ms Daly said if the overwhelming majority of people refused to pay the charge, “we can make any threats of fines or penalties basically unworkable and we can make this tax uncollectible”.

She claimed the Government was scaremongering and said there was no legislation to allow the authorities to take the €100 directly from wages or social welfare. This was being suggested to scare people, she said.

The prospect of people facing the maximum €2,500 fine for non-payment was a long way down the road, she added. If households did not pay the charge before the end of March, the authorities would first have to find out who should have paid the bill and then initiate court proceedings. The judge would then have to rule on the case and apply a penalty if the householder lost the case.

Ms Daly said the campaign was not complacent about the threat of court actions, “but can you imagine if they do try and take steps to shut down district courts or to organise special sittings, to try before them pensioners, people on social welfare, ordinary decent taxpayers when not a single banker or politician has been fined or been put in prison?”

The campaign was about ensuring that nobody would go into court alone, she said.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said this would be “a massively powerful campaign” which would unite people in their opposition to the ongoing attack on people’s living standards, public services and jobs.

The meeting attracted activists from places including Cork, Donegal, Laois and Kilkenny.

Ray Fitzpatrick from Rathdowney, Co Laois, said he had been canvassing against the tax in Laois and Offaly in recent weeks and there was “very strong support” for the campaign.

Conor Mac Liam from Kilkenny said people saw the tax as “the thin end of the wedge”. The money raised would not be supporting local services but would merely be bailing out the banks, he said.