In September 2011 éirígí Dublin North-East assisted in the formation of the Coolock Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes (CAHWT). Since then the Coolock CAHWT has grown in strength and played an important role in building mass non-payment of the home tax in the area.
Tens of thousands of pieces of CAHWT literature have been delivered through the doors of homes across Coolock and Santry, while thousands more have been handed out at regular stalls. A series of very successful public meetings have been held in Santry, Kilmore, Priorswood and Darndale. And pickets outside the offices of 26-County government TDs have put the “We’re not paying the home tax!” message across loud and clear. In just under a year of constant activity the Coolock CAHWT has successfully agitated, educated, and organised.
The initial activities of the Coolock CAHWT saw it hold its first series of public meetings in venues in Kilmore, Santry and Darndale in Autumn/Winter 2011, in preparation for the Dublin government’s introduction of the home tax in January 2012. These initial meetings had good attendances, encouraging many local people became involved in the Coolock CAHWT.
With greater numbers of activists the Coolock CAHWT went on to sign up several hundred local people to the campaign through door to door recruitment in the area. Stalls have been held at local shopping centres, with the Coolock CAHWT stall at the Northside Shopping Centre becoming a regular fixture for engagement with local people.
With the introduction of the home tax in January 2012, and the subsequent scaremongering and bullying by the government, the level of activity of the Coolock CAHWT increased. In the build-up to the March 31 deadline for payment, another series of very successful public meetings was held in Kilmore, Priorswood and Darndale. Two large public meetings were held in the Kilmore Community Centre, which were addressed by éirígí activists, CAHWT TDs and local residents. Not only was the introduction of home and water taxes discussed, but also the wider failed economic policies which have resulted in nearly 500,000 people becoming unemployed and tens of thousands more emigrating.
At the Priorswood meeting last March, in the week of the publication of the Mahon Report, the corruption of the political establishment was discussed. The level of anger at Bertie Ahern & Co was very high to say the least. An attempt by the local Sinn Féin representative to undermine the non-payment campaign was quickly and politely dismissed. The CAHWT call for a full boycott of home and water taxes was fully supported by local people attending this meeting – there was no middle ground on the issue.
On March 31, the deadline for payment of the home tax, more than 10,000 people marched on the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in Dublin, while more importantly the majority of homeowners had joined the boycott by refusing to pay the tax. Following this victory the Coolock CAHWT kept activity constant, with more public meetings in Santry and Darndale under the banner of “Keep Up the Boycott!” Pickets, which were held at local Labour TDs’ offices and clinics, received very positive support from passing pedestrians and motorists alike.
The strength and success of the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes in Coolock has been the fact that is has been largely driven by local people from within the community. At several meetings of the Coolock CAHWT the campaign has been referred to as a “People’s Campaign”. With the Dublin government attempting to introduce a property tax in 2013 and water tax in 2014, the CAHWT will need to build across the state on the successes to date. The Coolock CAHWT, now well organised with the support of large numbers of local people, will continue to resist these unjust and immoral taxes.