Hard-pressed householders to protest against charges at City Hall

Angry householders are to descend on City Hall next Monday evening to protest against the imposition of a whole new raft of charges being implemented by central government.

The protest is being timed to coincide with the monthly meeting of Galway City Council which will be, among other things, endorsing its annual budget for 2012 which was agreed before Christmas.

The protest is the first in a series of marches to be held around the country to highlight the growing anger at the imposition of the charges. Pressure to pay the charges was ratcheted up yesterday with the start of a campaign by Government to ensure people register before March 31 and avoid penalties.

It was revealed last night that almost 2,500 people have already signed up for the charges amd made their payments. However, the use of the website www.householdcharge.ie was thrown into doubt last night when socialist TD Paul Murphy stated that he had reported the website to the Data Commisioner for being in breach of privacy regulations.

Socialist Party / United Left Alliance MEP for Dublin and anti-household tax campaigner Paul Murphy has lodged a complaint with the Data Commissioner about the Household Tax site, www.householdcharge.ie

“The Government is starting to roll out a massive propaganda campaign to get people to register for and pay the unjust household tax. However, the site they are encouraging people to register on is in breach of the 2011 regulations on “Privacy and Electronic Communications” which implements EU directives on privacy.

“The website's privacy statement declares that the site uses 'session cookies' which are erased after use, whereas in fact it uses so-called 'persistent cookies' that remain on people's computers after they visit the website. This is a breach of the 2011 regulations and I have made a complaint to the Data Commissioner about it,” he said

The Galway protest will commmence at 3.30pm on Monday and will be led by well-known campaigner Dette McLoughlin who said this week that the city councillors seem to be unaware of the growing anger about the charges.

“It is amazing that Galway city councillors appear to be unaware of the national and local controversy over the household tax and septic tank charges. Despite people demonstrating outside the City Council budget meeting in December, the councillors did not even deem the subject worthy of comment, never mind opposition, and agreed the flat rate €100 per annum household charge as part of the city budget without a by-your-leave.

“On New Year’s Day, the Government began the registration process for the charges. Over the next three months it will run a massive propaganda campaign to get people to sign-up and pay-up.

“But, after three years of massive austerity, this is the first opportunity for people to say that we’ve had enough. We who are against having to pay for the debts of bankers, bondholders, and gamblers must take a stand.

If we allow these charges to be implemented then the amounts will increase rapidly, followed by the imposition of water rates estimated at €400, which could result in total costs of €1,000 pa per household.

Although ministers have said that the €100 a year household charge is likely to be replaced by a property tax, people on low and middle incomes are facing such hardship that we cannot and should not have to pay a tax for the basic right to have the shelter of a roof over our heads, plus a double burden if you have a septic tank too.

She concluded “If you want to get the message across to the politicians that you ‘Can’t pay, Won’t pay’, come along to the protest. Together we can take action and defeat injustice”.

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