The Donegal ‘Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay’ campaign says that reports in the media that the government will use ESB data to identify those taking part in the mass boycott of the Household Tax are a “sign of complete desperation” on their part
Micheàl Mac Gioola Easbuig of the campaign steering committee said “The attempts to trawl around for this information prove the government will not be able to get people to voluntarily register for this tax.
“Having a name on a utility bill does not prove someone is a homeowner. Use of such data could leave the government and ESB open to legal challenge under data protection.”
He went on: ”Our campaign reiterates that the hundreds of thousands not registering and choosing not to voluntarily give the information will make this tax uncollectable. It has been reported that 90% of households in Donegal have not registered so far with little over 2 weeks to go. This is a massive blow to the government. Their response is one of desperate threats, bullying and misinformation.
“The lastest figures are that 230,000 have registered. It has been spun by the government that this represents 14.5% of the 1.6 million who must pay the charge, but this ignores the 200,000 who are eligible for exemptions but must also register. The real story is that 230,000 out of 1.8 million, or just 11%, have registered. It is a clear example of government misinformation but no matter how they try to spin it, there are still over 1.5 million households who have not registered.”
“It is important for people to realise that there is no legislation in existance which allows the government to deduct charges or fines from anyone, despite what Minister Hogan has implied this week. Even if such laws were to be introduced, they would only relate to fines imposed by a judge after the person was summonsed and found guilty in court and this is not realistic given the huge numbers who are not registering. Also there are constitutional difficulties in introducing such laws, as was confirmed by the Taoiseach himself.
“The Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay Campaign invites any non-payers to attend its protest march in Letterkenny on March 24th at 3pm when we assemble at the Tesco roundabout. Our message will be ‘We won’t be bullied, We won’t pay’.”
The Government has started advertising for people to pay on Highland Radio today.