Cllrs condemn
Household levy

DUNDALK town councillors - with the exception of the two Fine Gael members - have condemned the way the Government has rolled out the household charge, and one councillor said he is not going to pay it.

DUNDALK town councillors - with the exception of the two Fine Gael members - have condemned the way the Government has rolled out the household charge, and one councillor said he is not going to pay it.

The council members suspended standing orders at their monthly meeting to debate the controversial tax.

Cll Jim Ryan said “the way this has been rolled out is a cock-up. People are “living in quiet desperation, and the tax is unfair. This tax wouldn’t be needed if the Government hadn’t already cut funding for local authorities.

Sinn Fein’s Harry Todd said he will not pay the household charge.

“I won’t be paying it because it’s an unjust tax,” Cllr Todd said.

Cllr Conor Keelan said this tax has been implemented by “one of the most arrogant ministers in the Government”.

“He’s made a botched job of the Septic Tank issue, local government reform and now this. But he’s a friend of Enda Kenny.

“But the fact is that people have been put in fear of this.”

Cllr Mark Dearey said the Household Charge gives the whole principal of Property Tax a bad name. He said the charge is not equitable and the right way forward would be a site valuation tax.

This, he said would be the best way to replace the domestic rates system that the Household Charge is meant to cover.

A property tax would also encourage the proper use of derelict sites.

“This is ham-fisted and equitable,” Cllr Dearey said. “I’m paying it under protest.”

Cllr Sean Bellew also said that the flat charge for all was unfair and this charge was going the same way as the Tory Poll tax introduced by the Thatcher government in Britain.

“This whole thing was rushed,” he said. “It wasn’t thought out.”

Cllr Martin Bellew said the charge incomprehensible.

“A pensioner pays the same as a judge. If you live in a one-room apartment you pay the same as somebody who has a house with fourteen bedrooms.

But Fine Gael councillors O’Boyle and Doyle defended the charge.

“If we don’t pay we won’t have the money to run the country,” Cllr O’Boyle said.

And Cllr Doyle said there are a lot of services that must be provided.

County Manager Conn Murray said political debate was not his concern but the local authority was depending on the Household Charge to help finance its budget.

The money is necessary for services.