The Dublin government has set midnight on March 31 as the deadline for payment of its noxious ‘household charge’. Homeowners who fail to pay the €100 poll tax by then will find themselves liable for additional incremental ‘penalties’ and ‘interest’ rising to a total of €42 over the course of the following twelve months. Those who don’t register by March 31 are liable to prosecution in court where a guilty verdict could result in a €2500.
And so with their deadlines and their threats of penalties, fines and jail the Dublin government hoped to implement the dictates of their overlords in the Troika. They publicly calculated the hundreds of millions of euro’s the home tax would raise for the bailout of the private banks. In their arrogance they had even begun to prepare the ground for future property and water taxes that would squeeze more than a €1000 per year from virtually every family in the state.
But with all of their scheming Fine Gael and Labour failed to consider the possibility that the people would simply refuse to pay their hated tax; that a people who have been so silent for so long could find their voice; that a people who have taken so much for so long could still have the spirit to resist.
For months the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes has been quietly and steadily building opposition to the home tax. Literally millions of leaflets, newsletters and posters have been distributed urging people to join a campaign of mass non-payment of the home tax. At hundreds of public meetings across the state, tens of thousands of people have come out to voice their opposition to the tax.
With just one week to go until the March 31 deadline the results of all of that hard work is plain to see, with less than one in five households having registered and paid the home tax. Even with the expected late surge of payments it is clear that a vast number of households have joined the boycott of the home tax. Indeed April 1 may well reveal the greatest act of mass civil disobedience ever witnessed in the history of the Twenty-Six County state.
To mark the March 31 deadline the CAHWT is organising a major protest outside of the Fine Gael Ard Fheis which is taking place in the National Conference Centre in Dublin on that date. As one of the organisations which helped found the CAHWT éirígí will be joining that protest and encouraging all republicans and socialists to do likewise.
Speaking ahead of the protest éirígí Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan said, “March 31 is like the perfect storm of austerity Ireland. Firstly it marks the deadline for payment of the poll tax. Secondly it is the scheduled date for payment of more than €3billion of public money to fund the Anglo Irish bail out. And finally it is the date of Fine Gael’s Ard Fheis which will take place in the National Conference Centre, a venue which is symbolic of everything that was wrong with the so-called Celtic Tiger.
“There have rarely been more important or fitting occasions for people to take to the streets, to stand shoulder to shoulder in opposition to the injustice that is the austerity programme. We in éirígí are asking people from all over Ireland to join us on March 31 and bring their voice to the streets of Dublin and the doors of the Fine Gael Ard Fheis. Together we can beat the home tax and the rest of the Troika’s plans.”
The CAHWT protest against the home tax will assemble at 1pm on Dublin’s Parnell Square before marching on the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in the National Conference Centre on the North Wall Quay. Bígí Linn. All Welcome.
“If you strike at, imprison, or kill us, out of our prisons or graves we will still evoke a spirit that will thwart you, and perhaps, raise a force that will destroy you! We defy you! Do your worst!”
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