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Anti-household charge public meeting to discuss concerted boycott campaign
Tuesday September 27, 2011 11:19 by Conor McGuinness - Galway anti-household charge campaign John Walsh on 087 1489176 or Seán Byrne on 087 9499817
Meeting to be held in Westside to organise campaign against the Government’s proposed household charge
A public meeting has been called by residents and community activists who are unhappy about the household charge which will be introduced in January as part of the government’s austerity measures.
The meeting, which will take place on Monday 3rd October at 7pm in Westside Community Centre is open to all and is aimed specifically at residents of Westside, Shantalla and Newcastle.
The meeting is one of hundreds of similar gatherings that are taking place throughout the country. A national campaign of resistance to the household charge is being planned which will see hundreds of thousands of families boycott the new tax when it is introduced in January 2012.
“This is the first austerity measure that actually gives an opportunity to resist. We were unable to prevent the likes of the Universal Service Charge and cuts to wages and social welfare, however the method of collection of this unfair charge allows us to say to the Government ‘no more’!
“We did not create this crisis, yet ordinary people are being expected to bear the brunt,” said Westside resident John Walsh.
The proposed household charge will be set initially at €100 per household, however the Government think tank the ESRI predicts that this will rise to upwards of €800 by 2013/4.
Newcastle native Seán Byrne explained the injustice of the charge, saying “ordinary people, many of them in negative equity or with crippling mortgage payments, attempting to get by on reduced wages, are being asked to pay a charge simply for owning the home they live in. This is grossly unfair. The vast majority of people did not gamble on international markets, did not have a stake in the banking sector and had nothing to do with causing this crisis, yet we are being made to endure cut after cut, and levy after levy to help fill the black hole created by the bank bail-out.
“We must send a clear message to the Government, we did not make this mess, we are struggling to keep our heads above water, and we will not pay for the mistakes of the rich. “
The meeting will hear how the household charge can be defeated and bring families and individuals together to plan a boycott campaign similar to what is happening all over the country.
Breege Burke from Westside explained how the €100 charge will effect those most badly off, “a number of national newspapers have recently reported how thousands of families throughout Ireland are left with less than €20 a week after rent or mortgage costs and utilities are met. This household charge, in its first year will amount to a ten percent levy on the money that some families need to spend on food, clothing and education. Lets be clear about the issue, the government is taking money off those who can least afford it to bail out the banks and developers who created this crisis.
“We need to oppose this charge and refuse to pay it. Even if the charge stayed at €100 it would be grossly unfair, however we’ve heard from the government’s own number crunchers that it will rise to just under a €1000, and the dogs on the street know that a successful introduction of this charge will pave the way for water charges. It is vital that communities get together and refuse to pay this unequal and unjust charge.
“The household charge can be defeated. Community outrage and mass non-payment worked against water charges all over Ireland in the nineties and in Britain the poll tax was defeated due to the refusal of households to pay. Its time we told this Government that enough is enough!”
The meeting is open to all. Similar meetings will take place in Ballybane and Mervue, Knocknacarra, Tirellan and Oranmore over the next few weeks.
For more information on the proposed household charge and the campaign to oppose it please visit www.nohouseholdtax.org.