Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Many Still Angered As Household Charge Deadline Approaches

This Saturday 31st March sees the (first) culmination of two long drawn out Campaigns regarding the Household Charge, the efforts to implement it, and conversely those to prevent it.

I have personally spoken to many people in the Dungarvan area in the last few weeks, and attended meetings both in Town and in Waterford City as well as followed each move from both sides as the "battle" intensified.

What was truly apparent was the fear and anger that people felt, the fear of fines, increased costs and even imprisonment for non-payment of a charge that many felt unjustified in a time when growing numbers are struggling to make ends meet as purse strings are vigorously tightened or, unfortunately, have snapped altogether as household budgets become unmanageable.

What was surprising was that the depth of opposition to this levy ran through all sections of our society, not just those who could be classed "the usual suspects", as it were, fighting their corner on a myriad of issues, but everyday law abiding, tax paying folk across a wide spectrum who felt something was wrong, unfair and unjust about an additional tax on their homes, all ages, nationalities and creeds sharing a viewpoint that enough was enough.

My own findings were that the people telling me they had registered were predominantly the elderly citizens of the town and that they had done so out of fear of the reasons above, though they had their doubts whether they had done the right thing.  Many were glad to talk through their concerns, a familiar complaint was the lack of information surrounding the Charge and apprehension of how much it may rise to in coming years knowing that this will be in addition to forthcoming water and septic tank charges.  Indeed, I personally received my first and "Final" demand on the same day along with fellow residents as we negotiated terms with a private contractor to look after our estate, yet to be taken in hand by the County Council, another bill to add to an ever growing list.

All have seen the Celtic Tiger's arse as it departed the scene of the crime, and though many of course benefited through that time it has come at a cost as unemployment rises, house prices continue to fall and many leave our nation's shores in search of a more sustainable future.  In one way or another, either directly or indirectly, most of the inhabitants of Dungarvan have been adversely affected by these times of austerity, and they seem willing to make a stand, not through activism (as RTE Aertel described the attendance of over 4,000 people at last Saturday's CAHWT Dublin Rally) but through simple non payment of a charge too far from their elected officials.

The majority of those I spoke to have never felt obliged to oppose anything like this proposal before, and I appreciate having the opportunity to voice their concerns via this Blog.

Views from Dublin...........            

(An honourable mention to those who almost launched a tirade of abuse in my direction thinking I was collecting the charge, the many dogs who greeted me so warmly :) and for the one person I met who was for the charge, thank you for your honesty, it seems to be another thing in short supply these days).

Thanks to Cutbacks2010 and DOTSY129 for the videos.

Sláinte Mhaith

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