Speaking ahead of the launch of the bill, Deputy Doherty said: “The bill, entitled Local Government (Household Charge) (Repeal) Bill 2012, aims to repeal the household charge and allow the Department to reimburse those households that have already paid it.
“Sinn Féin will be tabling the bill during private members’ time in June. Meanwhile we intend to run a positive, proactive ‘Back the Bill’ campaign. This campaign will be inclusive and community-based. We will be using the next few months to lobby and encourage TDs from all parties, including government parties, to vote for our bill in June.
“To date the household charge has been a disastrous episode for the government and in particular for Minister Phil Hogan.
“Like the septic tank charge it will impose additional hardship on families across the County.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said: “The vote in June will give the Minister the opportunity to undo some of the damage his charge has inflicted on the coalition. Sinn Féin believes in strong democratic local government.
“For local authorities to function, they require funding to provide services to the public. Hogan’s household charge will only drive a wedge between the local authorities and the communities they aim to serve. The Local Government Fund should be returned to 2011 levels.
“I hope other parties, trade unions and community groups will support the bill and make the household charges history once and for all.”
Meanwhile people trying to pay the charge online from Co Donegal today say the system keeps crashing, adding to the criticism of Minister Phil Hogan.
A Letterkenny mother told us: “All I get are ‘error’ messages. I don’t want to pay it but I feel I have to – now I can’t pay it!±”