Sinn Féin councillor Jack Murray has confirmed that he will submit an emergency motion to the next sitting of Donegal County Council which he hopes will provide some protection for those who are boycotting the household charge.
The motion is intended to undo the work of The Department of Environment by asking the council not to use the power given to it by the Household Charge Act to require utility companies to supply information relevant to the collection of the unfair tax.
The motion reads as follows: “That Donegal County Council will not use the power it has been given by section 14 of the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 to access information held by utility companies for the purpose of identifying potential liability to the household charge”.
Speaking in advance of the meeting, Cllr Murray told donegaldaily.com: “Sinn Féin is completely opposed to the Household Charge as it is deeply unfair. It is indiscriminate and charges the very poor the same as the super wealthy. Furthermore, it is based on the lie that it will pay for council services.
“The government reduced the Local Government Fund to Donegal County Council this year by €2.7million and told us to make up the difference with the household charge. They have taken money out of frontline services in order to bailout bondholders in private banks and are asking struggling families to pay for it.
“As such, we made a very clear stand against the charge when we voted against the council budget in January.
“With the impending deadline for payment of the charge on 31st March, I am submitting this motion in the hope that it will provide some protection for those who are unable to pay and those who are making a stand in solidarity with their neighbours who cannot afford to pay the tax.
“Section 14 of the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 gives local authorities the power to require utility companies to supply information relevant to the collection of the household charge. This motion is intended to undo the work of the Dept of Environment by asking the council not to use the power given to it by the Act.
“Councillors, representing all parties in the council, have voiced opposition to the charge in the past. It is easy to blame their colleagues in government and wash their hands of responsibility. This motion will allow them to put their money where their mouth is.
“Monday will be a chance for Donegal County Council to deliver a blow against this unfair tax and provide some protection for the thousands of struggling families in our county.”