Belfast Telegraph

Rebel TDs make mass boycott pledge

Nine rebel TDs have pledged to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the public in a mass boycott against the household charge - even if they end up in court.

Socialist Party TDs Joe Higgins and Clare Daly are among independent and left-wing members of the Dail calling on householders to refuse to pay the new 100 euro tax.

Mr Higgins said: "The way this will be won is by a massive campaign of people power."

The Government has warned that failure to register for the tax, which comes into force in the new year, before the March 31 deadline could result in a court appearance and fine of 2,500 euro. But the TDs are hoping that if enough people refuse to pay, the Government will have no choice but to overturn the tax.

Ms Daly and Mr Higgins spent a month in prison after leading a similar campaign against bin charges in 2003.

Mr Higgins said: "As we've shown in previous campaigns, the people have the will to stand to the very end. Going to jail might seem a bit exotic. Nobody wants to go there. People going to jail does not win a campaign."

Other TDs behind the campaign include independents Thomas Pringle, Mick Wallace, John Halligan and Ming Flannigan; People Before Profit TDs Richard Boyd Barrett and Joan Collins, and Seamus Healy from Workers and Unemployed Action Group/United Left Alliance. Several councillors also support refusal to pay.

As the International Monetary Fund agreed to release a further 3.9 billion euro in loans to Ireland as part of the country's bailout, the campaigners said the Government should be taxing the rich instead of low and middle income earners.

Ms Daly said: "If they (Government) can break the resistance that's out there then they see a whole new tier of local taxations being opened up which will see ordinary people absolutely persecuted for thousands of euro. Not in a one-off fine but in an annual charge in terms of property and annual charges."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny defended the household charge, saying it would raise 1.6 billion euro which would go towards funding local authorities, including fire services, library services and water.

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