Despite claims by Environment Minister Alan Kelly that the public is coming around to support the Government’s water tax, new figures reveal that fewer than half of households paid water charges by the due date.
Irish Water has admitted that about 675,000 households, under half of those liable to the charges, have so far paid up, meaning only €30 million - or, c43 per cent of the total money to be collected - has been recouped from the controversial and deeply unpopular tax, compared with the c€67 million that was due
The Government and Irish Water are likely to try and put this forward as a solid start, in line with international experience related to the introduction of new charges. However, the Anti Austerity Alliance Galway said “a clear majority of people have rejected the governments diluted proposals, and rejected their attempts to browbeat and intimidate”.
The AAA Galway West candidate Tommy Holohan said the figures show that “57 per cent of households have refused to pay the water charges” and is a “massive victory for the anti-water charges movement and for people power”.
“Even after being forced to make a number of concessions following mass demonstrations by anti-water charge protesters late last year, it appears a clear majority of people have rejected the Government’s diluted proposals, and rejected their attempts to browbeat and intimidate,” said Mr Holohan.
Mr Holohan said anti-water charges campaigners will “use this to boost and re-organise our local campaigns to maintain and build the boycott in our areas”.
He said: “We need to convince those who have paid to not pay the second bill. Why would they pay the second bill when they see the mass boycott and that the Government is helpless to do anything against it? We need to make sure people know there are no penalties until after the General Election; that there are no deductions at source like the property tax; that they can’t bring us all to court.”