Water Tax going nowhere – McDonald
Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald today outlined the failure of Irish Water and urged the Taoiseach to acknowledge that Government attempts to coerce, bribe and intimidate families into complying with the charge have not succeeded.
Deputy McDonald said:
“Taoiseach, in a huge blow to your misguided water charges policy, Irish Water today admits that it has only managed to collect from 43% of households targeted for your Water Tax. This is despite the extraordinary lengths to which your Government has gone to force those households to pay.
“In the face of widespread rejection of your Water Tax, you have resorted to coercion. You are ramming through unprecedented legislation to pickpocket the income of already hard-pressed citizens to prop up your discredited Irish Water quango.
“You hoped that this would frighten a significant number of people to pay the bills which they received. But you were wrong. You have been told today, in no uncertain terms, that your Water Tax is going nowhere. You have been told that families across this state are not cowed by Minister Kelly’s threats or bribes.
“You have comprehensively failed to win the support of the people for the introduction of this charge. And you’ve done this against a back drop of endless austerity where you and your cronies in government have stuck your hands in the pockets of working people. 57% of those due to pay have not paid and will not pay. More of them cannot pay.
“Taoiseach, you really thought you had got away with it, didn't you? You really thought that the cosmetic changes that Minister Kelly introduced last year had thwarted the anti-water charges campaign. But you were wrong.
“The broad based, popular citizens’ campaign against your unjust, unfair tax has not gone away. In fact it has grown in strength and support. Only last week, the trade unions reaffirmed their strong opposition to Water Charges. The Right2Water campaign is to stage another major public demonstration next month.
"Will you finally acknowledge that your Government’s efforts to bribe, coerce and intimidate families into complying with your Water Tax has failed, and that you will now go back to the drawing board? In the public interest you need to scrap this charge."