Monday, 2 April 2012

Sinn Féin condemn council censorship of Household charge debate

Wicklow Sinn Féin county councillors John Brady and John Snell have
expressed bitter disappointment at a decision by the council to refuse
to allow a suspension of standing orders to discuss the Household
charge. The councillors tried to bring forward an emergency motion
opposing the charge and demanding that the council does not
criminalise or initiate legal proceedings against anyone for
non-payment of the tax . Sinn Féin had also organised a large public
protest to coincide with the council meeting and over 100 people
gathered outside the council meeting to support the Sinn Féin motion.

Speaking after the council meeting councillor John Brady said
"Minister Phil Hogan and his Fine Gael and Labour colleagues in
Government have failed miserably to persuade, intimidate or coerce a
majority of people to pay the unjust Household Charge, as of the
deadline on the 31st March for registration and payment of the tax,
approximately 1 million households are estimated not to have paid. The
people have spoken and given a resounding rejection to the austerity
tax. Minister Hogan is now getting the county council to do the
enforcement work of the government by policing the payment of the
unfair tax. Myself and my party colleague John Snell tabled a motion
on the council on the 2nd March however council red tape meant the
motion opposing the charge was not on the agenda on the 2nd April. At
the beginning of the meeting on Monday i sought a suspension of
standing orders to try put through an emergency motion opposing the
Household charge"

Sinn Féin county councillor John Snell went onto say "The Sinn Féin
proposal was put to a vote, and unfortunately the majority of the
councillors voted to censor debate on the motion, and the Sinn Féin
proposal was rejected 14 votes to 7. This goes to show how out of
touch the so called public representatives of the council are with the
ordinary people on the ground who simply cant afford to pay the
charge. Minister Hogan is saying it is going to be the responsibility
of the council to follow up the outstanding payments and take legal
action if necessary. However the motion Sinn Féin tried to tabled
demands that the county Manager does not criminalise anyone for
non-payment. We may have been unsuccessful in getting the motion
debated at Mondays council meeting because of the councillors
censorship but we will definitely have it on the agenda for the
meeting in May"

Cllr Brady concluded "The austerity charge is not only unjust its
totally unworkable and Fine Gael and Labour must repeal the charge.
Sinn Féin will be tabling a bill in June to reverse the charge.  The
bill, entitled Local Government (Household Charge) (Repeal) Bill 2012,
aims to repeal the household charge and allow the Department to
reimburse those households that have already paid it. We will continue
to oppose the charge at all levels and we will be organising another
protest outside the council meeting in May when the issue is on the
agenda. I can understand the reluctance of the government parties to
debate this issue in the council by throwing up red tape and voting
against the Sinn Féin proposals for debate, however they will have no
option but to try defend the indefensibly at the meeting in May" Ends

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