Friday, July 19, 2013

Home & Water Taxes - The Fight Goes On!

Over the last two years éirígí has been to the fore of the campaign against the introduction of new home and water taxes in the Twenty-Six Counties. In Coolock, Artane and Donaghmede éirígí activists have worked with the local community and other political groupings to build mass opposition to these two unjust taxes.

During this time éirígí activists have helped organise more than fifteen public meetings in the area – meetings that have given local people an important opportunity to get together, share ideas and organise resistance to the home and water taxes. Arising from these meetings a series of public protests were held outside the offices and clinics of local government TDs. éirígí activists have also organised numerous information stalls and delivered tens of thousands of information leaflets to homes across Coolock, Artane and Donaghmede.

The first phase of the campaign saw thousands of homeowners in north-east Dublin join with hundreds of thousands of others in a mass boycott of Labour and Fine Gael’s “household charge”. Before the deadline for payment of the “household charge” was even reached it was clear that this new austerity tax had been defeated. The “household charge” boycott, which was the largest act of civil disobedience in this state in decades, showed what the people are capable of when they act together.

Following the defeat of the “household charge” Labour, Fine Gael and their Troika masters went back to the drawing board and came back with the new “property tax”. In order to ensure compliance with their “property tax” the government gave the Revenue Commissioners a range of unprecedented, draconian powers including the ability to deduct the tax directly from wages, social welfare payments and even personal bank accounts. In the face of such undemocratic and intimidatory measures many people have understandably paid the unjust “property tax”. But the fight against the “property tax” and the soon to be introduced water tax is far from over.

Speaking about the new home and water taxes éirígí’s local representative Ciaran Heaphey said, “By working together, communities across the Twenty-Six Counties were able to defeat the “household charge” through a mass boycott. In response to this defeat the government changed its tactics, so we too have to change our tactics to ensure that the property and water taxes are also defeated.

“This government have effectively removed people’s ability to boycott the property tax, so we need to build political pressure in other ways, including through protest, civil disobedience, direct actions and next year’s local elections. Everyone has a role to play in building opposition to these taxes.

“In the next few months the mass installation of water meters is set to begin. It is essential that these installations are met with widespread community resistance. éirígí have produced an information video showing people how to disable the water-meter chambers.

“I would encourage people to take a look at the video and start thinking about what they can do to prevent the introduction of unjust water taxes in our community.”

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