Offaly householders came out in big numbers in Tullamore on Sunday last to voice their anger against the Household Charge and to state that they will not pat it.
The group marched from the Town Park through the centre of town and gathered for a rally in Market Square. Here they were addressed by the Chairman of the local group, John O’Toole, Cllr Sean O’Brien, Secretary/PRO and a number of speakers from the Athlone campaign group.
Mr O’ Toole stated that the campaign was gaining wide support and that it was important that the campaign remains active and supports those who have refused to pay the charge.
“Our campaign has been very successful so far. We have had big attendances at meetings and protests. Our real test of success came with the news that only 29% of people in Offaly had paid the charge by the due date. There are 26,750 households in Offaly due to pay the charge but by March 31 last only 7880 had paid and this in spite of the threats from the Minister” stated Mr O’Toole.
Cllr Sean O’Brien, Secretary of the local campaign group, said that the Government had targeted households with the charge in order to keep the IMF and the EU happy.
“One of the conditions of getting the bailout money from the IMF and the EU was that the Government would bring in a property tax. The minister responsible, Phil Hogan, said that it would take time to design a property tax and instead it was easier to bring in a Household Charge. Basically they are taxing people for the privilege of living in their own homes. We have to let them know that we are not an easy touch. I am concerned particularly by the provision that is in the Household Charge Act which gives the Minister to increase the charge each year “as the Minister deems fit”. We are simply not going to pay it” stated Cllr O’Brien.