A newly-formed group, which is spearheaded by local man and Rathowen native, Peter Rogers, is calling on those who have already paid the €100 household charge to write to their local authorities demanding the money back.
The group, Spirit of Irish Freedom, was established last June with an ethos of ‘campaigning for an end to austerity and to stop corruption and cronyism in Irish Politics’.
“People all across the country have, en masse, boycotted this unjust household tax and they have been proven right to have done so as the Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan is now cutting the third-quarter grants to every local authority in the country,” Mr Rogers, chairperson of the group, said.
He explained that the Local Government Fund was financed first by Motor and Road Tax contributions, alongside significant support from Central Government.
“This subscription from Central Government is financed by taxes, also paid throughout the year by ordinary people,” he stated, adding that Minister Hogan and his Local Government Management Agency’s insistance that vital services have not been paid for because of non-payment of the Household Tax was “completely wrong and should be resisted”.
“The most alarming thing about this is if we are now hearing from Phil Hogan that people’s Motor Tax money is not now going to be spent on the upkeep of roads, he could be creating the conditions for yet another boycott.
“For people who have paid the Household Tax, what they should do now is write to their local County Council and demand their €100 back. I’m sure that some people who paid the tax did so because they were of the opinion that it was to provide local services, but now these services are to be cut off. I am sure that most people who did pay the tax did so because they were being threatened with prosecution.
“Some councillors have spoken out and they are to be commended, notably Longford Independent Councillor Mark Casey, who has also called for people to demand their money back.
“Athlone Town Council was also one of the first councils in the country to vote to reject the Household Tax when it was introduced and the councillors who are now calling on their constituents to pay the Household Tax, like Tom Crosby in Co Roscommon, are asking people to pay for these services a second time.
“This type of double-dealing by some local politicians is typical of councillors playing ‘parish pump’ politics, especially those from the main political parties,” Mr Rogers said. “Their hypocritical stance on this issue should be totally ignored and those who paid the tax would be well advised for look for their money back.”