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category national | bin tax / household tax / water tax | opinion/analysis author Sunday September 21, 2003 19:54author by sr Report this post to the editors

Ahern turns his back on protests

As the hard-pressed Irish working class protest against his distorted taxation policies, Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Bertram Ahern will leave for a four day tour of the USA.

Bertram Ahern, who prefers to be known as "Bertie", is facing protests being held on Monday by anti-privatisation campaigners objecting to a form of secondary taxation being imposed on local communities under the guise of a "bin tax". The protests have let to the one month sentence on an opposition member of the Irish parliament, and a member of a local council.

Taxpayers in Ireland are taxed at source, their tax being deducted from their wages by their employers before it even reaches their pay packets. Part of that tax is allocated for waste disposal. The attempt to impose a second tax has led to widespread opposition in the capital, Dublin. Residents of working class estates have blockaded bin trucks after a local council in north Dublin said they would refuse to collect waste from anyone who has not paid the extra tax.

While in the US, despite his support (through making Shannon Airport available) for the illegal war on Iraq, he will receive a peace award, the Thomas J Dodd award, which is also being awarded to Tony Blair, for their part in the 1998 Good Friday agreement.

Blair won't be there himself, he will be represented by John Prescptt, which is probably an indication of how unimportant Blair regards the Irish peace process.

As well as meeting Hillary Clinton and Mexican President Vincente Fox, Ahern will visit the trading floor of the New York stock exchange in Wall Street, and because the money men want to show their appreciation of his economic policies, he is to get an honorary degree from Fairfield Universityís Dolan School of Business.

Yes, Bertram Ahern knows his true constituency, and he may content himself with getting a pat on the back from such business institutions, but in Ireland, and particularly in his home city, "Bertie's" popularity has been taking a nose dive. Many are angry at the months jail sentence on two politicians supporting the protest, while notoriously corrupt politicians, many of them members of Ahern's own 'Fianna Fail' party, can go about their business unhindered.

The protesters are also angry at Ahern's denunciation of protesters as "spongers" because they dared to object to double taxation. His own party are notorious for their money-grabbing antics.

author by Moipublication date Mon Sep 22, 2003 00:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

SIPTU is considering industrial action, and has invited residents organisations to a meeting on Wednesday. The TEEU is calling on other unions and trade councils to consider involvement in a campaign to end bin charges:

http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/story.asp?j=80728982&p=8x7z9688&n=80729742

Ahern said tonight that Gregory was "a nice guy":
http://www.rte.ie/news/2003/0921/bins.html

Given that Tony Gregory is supporting the protests, the independent TD, from Dublin's north inner city may have to decide fairly soon whether he intends to remain a "nice Guy"!

author by Moipublication date Mon Sep 22, 2003 12:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The story refers to the TEEU, not SIPTU, but I'm beginning to get some good feedback from individual members of various unions.

 
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