Whelan backs household charge

Senator John Whelan has urged Laois people to pay the €100 Household Charge, and has slammed as “highly irresponsible” and “shameful” politicians who are encouraging people not to pay.

Senator John Whelan has urged Laois people to pay the €100 Household Charge, and has slammed as “highly irresponsible” and “shameful” politicians who are encouraging people not to pay.

The Labour politician said he understood the hardship that people were facing but he would not oppose the measure to win votes.

“As someone who was out of work for a long time I am fully aware of the financial pressures on families to make ends meet. But I am not willing to play up to people and exploit their fears to court political popularity and win votes. That is the kind of carry on that got our country into the mess it’s in,” said Senator Whelan.

The Senator attacked Brian Stanley TD and others who say they will refuse to pay,

“It is highly irresponsible for some politicians and trade union leaders to urge people not to pay the Household Charge. This is shameful carry-on from people who should know better. They are being highly hypocritical, two-faced and speaking out of both sides of their mouth. They demand more and better local services; cry crocodile tears over cutbacks and yet have the neck to oppose the Household Charge,” he said.

He says the charge has “nothing whatsoever to do with the banking crisis.”

“Our country is short in excess of €15 billion per annum just to run day to day. Already people are concerned about cutbacks in local services, such as small fire stations and library opening hours. These are directly linked to local authority funding and they have to be paid for one way or other,” he said.

Sinn Féin’s Brian Stanley TD has spoken against rumoured plans to send council staff door to door collecting the charge.

“It is a total abuse of resources to send council staff door to door to intimidate people into paying a charge that is clearly unjust and unworkable. Any member of staff who refuses to carry out this work must be supported by their trade union. This is a breach of contract, and another sign of just how desperate this government really is,” said Dep Stanley, his party’s spokesperson on the environment, community and local government.

“With only three days to go Minister Hogan is pulling out all the stops but his efforts appear to be in vain. Nearly 80% of households are still refusing to pay. Local authorities would be better off using their resources to meet the needs of the public rather than acting as tax-collectors for this government.” he said.

The deadline to pay the annual Household Charge of €100 is this Saturday, March 31, after which fines will accrue.