Sinn Féin county councillors John Brady and John Snell have sharply criticized the decision by Wicklow county council to refuse a Sinn Féin motion on the agenda of Aprils county council meeting which called on the government to reverse the Household charge, and they have labelled it as the ultimate red tape attempt to censor debate on the important issue. However the Sinn Féin councillors plan on pursuing the issue at the council meeting on Monday 2nd and the protest outside the council against the charge and in support of the motion will proceed as planned at 1pm.
Sinn Féin councillor John Brady said " Cllr Snell and i tabled a motion to the council 30 days before the council meeting which is due to take place on Monday next the 2nd of April. The motion called on the council to take a stand along with the many of thousands of people across Wicklow and oppose the unfair and unjust Household charge, the motion also demanded that the council management does not take legal action against any householders for non payment or non registration of the charge. The chairperson of the council informed myself during alive radio debate about the household charge that he was not allowing the motion on the agenda because it was not tabled 31 days before the meeting. This is the ultimate in red tape, to say that debate on such an important issue will not be held because the motion was 1 day late is a joke and smells of censorship. It is no surprise that the chairperson is a member of Fine Gael, the party which is forcing this unfair tax on the ordinary people in the state"
Cllr Snell continued " Thousands of people across Wicklow have taken a stand on this issue and simply said they will refuse to pay the tax.Because the council has refused our motion we plan on seeking a suspension of standing orders to discuss the issue at the meeting on Monday. The council meeting will take place a couple of days after the deadline of the 31st of March for payment of tax and it is very evident that there will be a mass non-payment of it in Wicklow. The council must at this stage take a stand and say to the government and Minister Phil Hogan enough is enough, the tax is not welcome, not working, not just and must go"
Cllr Brady concluded "The protest Sinn Féin has organised outside the council meeting on Monday at 1pm will proceed as planned and we fully intend on taking a stand on the the issue of the household charge and voice the genuine concerns of the ordinary people of Wicklow. I hope all councillors decide to stand with the people on this issue and support the Sinn Féin motion that we will try put forward during the suspension of standing orders. I also hope that everyone opposed to the Household charge can tie into the protest outside the county council offices in Wicklow" Ends
The full Sinn Féin motion to Wicklow county council reads:
Wicklow county council strongly opposes the Household charge and we call on the Government to immediately scrap it. It is very evident that the massive non payment of the Household tax by Wicklow residents who simply can’t afford this additional unfair tax, will add to the huge shortfall in the €160 million in funding which the Government had expected from this tax. We therefore call on the Government to look at an alternative way of funding local authorities.We also instruct Wicklow county council not to criminalise or initiate legal proceedings against people for their inability to pay or their noncompliance with the unfair and unjust Household tax.