The new €100 household charge announced by the government is another way of ‘fleecing’ the public according to a Mayo councillor who said that a call for a boycott is not needed because people will not be able to pay.
Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne compared the household charge to the ‘poll tax’ in Britain but said that Irish households will still have to pay extra for their services on top of it and accused the government of ‘taxing people out of existence’. Cllr Kilcoyne told The Mayo News that he did not disagree in principle to a property tax but said this charge was not fair or equitable.
“The government are introducing a flat charge of €100 for everyone and even if you are on a low income and live in a two bedroom house you will be charged the same as a person living in a ten bedroom mansion on a five acre site. They are just fleecing everyone regardless of a person’s ability to pay. There should be a property tax but it should be based on the size of your house,” he said.
The government defended the charge with the Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan saying that the the Government was obliged to bring in the charge and added that the new household charge would be only €2 per week and will go towards funding local services.
However, Cllr Kilcoyne said the fund will only replace the local government fund and did not believe the council will have extra money to spend. He said that people were already paying huge amount of taxes and accused the politicians of not living in the real world.
“Ireland may have the lowest corporation tax in Europe but the amount of direct and indirect taxation paid by Irish people is the highest in Europe. If people are already struggling to pay their mortgage and will soon have to pay for water and septic tank charges, where are they going to get the extra €100 from. It may be €100 for this year but there is only one way it will go and that is up.
“At the same time the Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield is saying you can’t get a good banker for less than half a million a year. Some people on this island are way out of touch with how the ordinary person is struggling to make ends meat. I don’t think people will boycott these charges, they just won’t be able to pay.”
Sinn Féin councillor Rose Conway Walsh also condemned the new household charge which she said would damage the local economy.
“By choosing to impose sweeping flat rate taxes on everyone the government is abandoning its pre and post-election promises to protect the most vulnerable and families on low incomes and the ‘working poor’. The implication of this charge will be that there is less money to spend in the local economy. This will further undermine the retail industry especially and lead to even more job losses in that sector.”