Dublin government confirms water tax

Every drop of clean water in the 26 County state is to be metered and taxed as part of a new government fundraising drive which emerged over the Christmas break.

Homes are likely to face water taxes of between 250 euro and 400 euro per annum by the end of 2014 when a new metering programme will be almost complete, according to reports.

Combined with the property tax introduced in the budget earlier this month, every home will now have to pay up to a thousand euro per year in new taxes by 2014.

A flat-rate charge for household water is being ruled out due to the possibility that residents of housing estates or apartments might try to evade the charge by simply pumping water from one home to another.

The government said both ‘charges’ were demanded by the International Monetary Fund as part of their conditions for bailing out the 26 County State and its insolvent banks.

An official said the establishment of a new Bord Uisce [Water Board] and the installation of water meters on every habitable property in the state and would create jobs.

a number of left-wing TDs and political organisations have already led a national boycott of the property tax, and efforts to defeat the water charge have now also become part of a single Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes (CAHWT).

The socialist ‘People Before Profit’ said this week they hoped one million people would refuse to pay the charges and force the government into a climbdown.

People Before Profit TD Joan Collins said the flat 100 euro household charge, to be applied from April, would have a “devastating impact” on families who were “barely managing” at present.

“We are encouraging a campaign of boycott so.. a week before the March 31st registration date there will be a million people not paying it. Then it becomes unenforceable, uncollectible and people are protected,” Ms Collins said.

“Then it becomes a political problem. It’s the government’s problem then; it’s not an individual problem.”

She was speaking at a press conference in Dublin city centre organised by the CAHWT.

Also present were independent TD Mick Wallace, People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, Socialist TDs Joe Higgins and Clare Daly, and Socialist MEP Paul Murphy.

Richard Boyd-Barrett accused the government of “trying to pull a con trick on people” by saying that just 2 euro a week would be asked of householders when they will soon face face bills of up to 1,000 euro a year.

He said people should refuse to register for the household charge, saying the government was “vulnerable to a movement of people power”. He also said that if a law could be proved to be unjust then breaking it was “entirely justified”, adding that historical figures such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King had done so.


Meanwhile, an ongoing controversy over the misappropriation of government funds heightened this week when it emerged that former employees of the Health Service Executive (HSE) are receiving ‘pension’ payments of more than 160,000 euro per year.

The payments are among the highest in the public service which are known to date.

They are higher than the controversial payments paid to a number of former secretaries-general of government departments which have emerged over recent months.

It was reported in October that more than 100 retired civil servants are receiving ‘pensions’ of more than 100,000 euro per year. Official figures showed that there were seven retired Civil Service personnel in receipt of ‘pensions’ of between 140,000 euro and 160,000 euro a year.

It also emerged this week that former members of the Dublin parliament are in receipt of payments -- also styled as pensions -- of over 50,000 euro per year, despite their return to their regular employment.

Details of the HSE pension payments were set out in figures provided by the health authority to Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald in answer to a written parliamentary question.

“After nearly 10 months in Government one thing is very clear, neither Labour nor Fine Gael are ready or willing to tackle high pay and pensions across the senior echelons of the public sector,” she said.

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© 2011 Irish Republican News