As soon as this unfair tax was announced – at the behest of the IMF and European Central Bank – people mobilised against it. There was a coalition set up, consisting of political and community activists, including trade unionists, tenants association organisers, TDs, and others coming together around a common programme of building a mass non-payment campaign to defeat the new unfair and regressive taxes being imposed.
From the start of this campaign, the Socialist Party has helped guide and facilitate this movement. Joe Higgins TD, Clare Daly TD and Paul Murphy MEP have been at the forefront of the opposition both in the Dáil and in the street.
Over the last few months, tens of thousands have attended public meetings in every corner of Ireland. There has been a huge grassroots campaign organised against the tax in every community and the message is clear – the people have had enough. They are angry at the destruction of their health service, they are angry that there has been cuts in education, they are angry that their government has betrayed them again. “It is morally wrong, unjust and unfair to tax a person’s home” stated Taoiseach Enda Kenny in 1994. He is now going to pay for forgetting those words.
With just one week to go before the deadline on 31 March, there was a monster of a rally in the National Stadium, Dublin. Over 3,000 people turned up to show their disgust at the government. The event was such a success that over 500 people were left outside in the carpark, straining to hear the message of non-payment. The National Stadium has seen many a famous fighting atmosphere but none could match the anger of the ordinary people queueing up to take on the government.
This movement is still riding high having passed the deadline of 31 March with over a million households refusing to pay. The campaign organised a major demonstration of 10,000 people to mark the day, at the Fine Gael conference in Dublin. After this, there should be no doubt in the government’s mind just how unworkable this tax is. It is apt that the household tax will go live on 1 April, April Fools Day!
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