DONEGAL Deputy Padraig Mac Lochlainn has hit back at critics of his party on water taxes.
Independent councillor Micheal Mac Giolla Easbuig, a former Sinn Fein member who fell out with the party, had launched a highly personalised attack on fellow Gaoth Dobhair native and Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty.
He accused Deputy Doherty of abandoning the working class and trying to appeal to middle class voters by not calling on people to boycott the water charges.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn however has hit back, saying those who had called for property tax boycotts were nowhere to be seen when families faced extra charges and fines.
“As was the case with the household charge and the property tax, Sinn Féin are not advising families not to pay the water charges. Because we will not be there to pay the fines or extra charges if the protest does not work out. It is a responsible position,” said Deputy Mac Lochlainn.
“Others for their own political advantage gave different advice about the household charge and the property tax but were nowhere to be seen when families had to pay hundreds more in fines and extra charges.
“We are saying that it must be an informed individual decision for each household. If families choose not to pay or simply cannot pay, then we will defend their right to protest.”
The Inishowen politician went on: “Within Sinn Féin, some families will choose to pay voluntarily and some will not. Some Sinn Féin councillors and TDs will pay voluntarily and some will not.
“At this stage, my household are not likely to return the form. We do so in the knowledge that this will probably cost us hundreds of euro more.”
He also repeated Sinn Fein’s position on both water and house taxes – that both would be axed if they get into government.
“In our alternative budget document, Sinn Féin have provided a fully costed alternative to water charges. And we have stated that if in Government, we will scrap water charges and the property tax,” added Mac Lochlainn.