Sinn Féin county councillors John Brady and John Snell have expressed
deep disappointment that a motion they had tabled at Wicklow county
council opposing the unfair Household charge was rejected at Tuesdays
council meeting by 14 votes to 4. The councillors have said the vote
in Wicklow county council now clears the way to criminalise the 53.1%
of households in Wicklow who have refused to pay the new stealth tax.
Sinn Féin councillor John Brady who proposed the motion stated "We are
disappointed the the Sinn Féin motion was defeated at the council
meeting on Tuesday, however we are not surprised. We tabled the motion
on March 2nd and great attempts were made to keep the motion off the
agenda so it would not even be debated in the first place. The motion
called on the council to oppose the Household charge and instruct the
council officials not criminalise or initiate legal proceedings
against people for their inability to pay the tax. After a lengthy
debate the motion was defeated by 14 votes to 4, there was 3
abstentions and 3 councillors not present"
Cllr Snell stated "The vote in Wicklow now gives the council officials
a free hand to take whatever action they feel is necessary to get the
Household charge from Wicklow residents who have not complied with the
new stealth tax, this includes legal proceedings and court action. I
am particularly disappointed at members of the Labour party in Wicklow
who with great fan-fair in December said they were voting against the
councils budget because of the household charge, however at the
council meeting they were given an opportunity to take a stand on the
issue and to reject the charge and to protect the people who have been
unable to pay the €100 stealth tax. Instead the Labour party ran for
cover, Cllr Jimmy O'Shaughnessy left the chamber before the debate
started, Cllr Tom Fortune sat on the fence and abstained, whilst Conal
Kavanagh and John Byrne voted against the motion"
Cllr Brady went onto say "Unsurprisingly councillors from Fianna Fáil
and Fine Gael also voted against the Sinn Féin motion. The bottom line
is people in Wicklow like all other counties simply cant afford the
€100 stealth tax, people are struggling to put food on the table and
pay the bills and trying to get blood from stones simply doesn't work.
The introduction of the tax is simply the thin end of the wedge and
once registered payments for households will simply increase on an
annual basis. The majority of Wicklow residents made the right
decision to refuse to comply with the governments policy of austerity
and they have taken a stand against the new tax and refused to pay.
The rejection of the motion now clears the way for the potential
criminalisation of thousands of Wicklow residents and the blame lies
on the shoulders of the Labour Party, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in
Cllr Brady concluded "The vote in Wicklow just goes to show how out of
touch the so called public representatives are in Wicklow with the
people on the ground having to live with the policies of austerity
from the government. Sinn Féin will continue to fight against the tax
and will try introduce a bill in Leinster House in June to to repeal
the charge. The bill, entitled Local Government (Household Charge)
(Repeal) Bill 2012, aims to repeal the household charge and allow the
Department to reimburse those households that have already paid it.
Sinn Féin will be tabling the bill during private members’ time in
June, this will give all TDs including Government ones an opportunity
to stand with the ordinary people of Wicklow and around the State who
are struggling to survive let alone pay the unfair and unjust
household tax" Ends
The full Sinn Féin motion 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 cant 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
non compliance with the unfair and unjust Household tax.