Wednesday, February 22, 2012

CAHWT Household Charge Meeting Dungarvan

Household Charge Meeting Lawlor's Hotel Dungarvan

"We have paid too much into this ....private debt has been placed on the back of the everyday taxpayer....we can sit and take it or say enough is enough and reclaim our dignity....making a conscientious stand against a bad law"

John Halligan Independent TD Waterford

The 14th meeting organised by the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes in Waterford City and County was held Tuesday evening in Dungarvan and an attendance of 150 concerned householders was proportionately in keeping with earlier figures including the 800 that turned out in the Tower Hotel two weeks earlier. Whether this figure may have been higher if, earlier yesterday afternoon, the posters advertising the event had not been removed from the town's streets is hard to gauge.

Speaking at the event were Tom Hogan (CAHWT steering committee chairperson), Gerry O'Mahony (Dungarvan Town Council) and John Halligan (Independent TD for Waterford).

The campaign is urging people not to register or pay the Household Charge in an attempt to make collection untenable as it alludes to a rent on a property that you already own.  John Halligan pointed out that over 300,000 people had lost full time employment in the last three and a half years and over 70,000 had emigrated in 2011 whilst figures show that Ireland still ranks second in the EU for "millionaire" households, a social disparity that is becoming ever more evident as many struggle with basic costs of mortgages and putting their children through education.

Gerry O'Mahony highlighted that through discussions with a local GP he was informed the numbers of people presenting with symptoms of depression has risen sharply over recent times, and that the description of unemployment as a lifestyle choice showed many politicians were out of touch with the realities that people are dealing with in Ireland today. He reiterated his intention not to contribute and that the majority were not to blame for the country's current financial situation asking people "to act with dignity, we don't have to go out and riot, just don't register."

"The country should be moving towards growth, expansion and jobs...: said Mr Halligan but with figures showing that if every householder was to pay this charge annually for the next eight years the fact that the amount collected would barely pay the 1.25 billion euro paid to Anglo bondholders in January it is indeed hard to see how this charge will go towards enabling that as cuts continue to cripple the nation's services.

Fear of the additional upcoming water charges and an expected average outlay of up to 1,300 euro per household in the near future were raised by those in attendance, and the formation of a local CAHWT committee was discussed.

The little girl who I was told came home from school last week crying because daddy was going to jail for not paying the Household Charge was not present tonight, but her fears and apprehensions were certainly shared by all and apparent in the atmosphere of the room.

A CAHWT protest is planned for this Saturday 25 February at John Roberts Square, Waterford City between 1 p.m and 2 p.m

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