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Labour Party Hypocrisy Exposed with Water Tax Vote

20/06/11

The hypocrisy of the Twenty-Six County Labour Party was further exposed at the monthly meeting of Dublin City Council on Monday last [June 13].

Despite that party’s pre-election posturing as defenders of the working class, its councillors voted against a motion opposing the introduction of both a domestic water tax and a new ‘household charge’. And so Labour made explicit its commitment to the introduction of two new regressive taxes which will hurt the poorest and most vulnerable the most.

The motion, which had been submitted by éirígí Councillor Louise Minihan, read:

That this council condemns the decision by the Minister for Environment Phil Hogan to introduce:

  • Water meters to every home in the state;
  • A flat rate household charge which is a property tax in all but name.

Both measures outlined by the government are in reality, unjustifiable stealth taxes. The notion that the government hands are tied on these matters exposes that it is the EU/IMF that is in total control of this state.

This council also recognises that at the end of 2010 45,000 households were in mortgage arrears, 443, 400 people are unemployed and the introduction of these charges and will only serve to push struggling families further into poverty and hardship.

At a time when the communities we represent are suffering from the effects of an economic crisis that they were not responsible for creating, it is the role of elected representatives to use their platform to serve the interest of the people, and not the agenda of a wealthy elite, or the greed of EU/IMF - which is the only agenda that can be served by the imposition of unjust stealth taxes, that will hit hardest those, who can least afford to pay it.

Dublin City Council is committed to opposing any introduction of water charges, the so-called ‘interim household charge’ and the eventual introduction of a property tax.

Following a debate that lasted close to an hour, 27 Labour and Fine Gael City Councillors voted against, while 13 éirígí, independent and Sinn Fein Councillors voted in favour. Fianna Fáil and a single Labour councillor abstained, meaning that the motion was defeated by 27 votes to 13.

Prior to the commencement of the City Council meeting, 20 éirígí activists took part in an anti-water tax / household charge protest outside of City Hall.

Speaking at the protest Louise Minihan said, “Prior to the general election the Labour Party told people that they would moderate the most extreme right-wing policies of Fine Gael. There is little doubt that many people voted for the Labour Party because they believed those pre-election promises. But now, just weeks after the election, the Labour Party are showing their true colours. Instead of opposing the introduction of a domestic water tax and household charge they are instead acting as apologists for their senior coalition partners.

“Over the course of the next few years the right-wing establishment will attempt to introduce a domestic water tax which will ultimately lead to the privatisation of that most necessary of natural resources. The only thing that will stop the introduction of a water tax is a mass, community-based campaign of opposition. The building of that campaign must now begin in earnest. Tonight was just the start of éirígí’s contribution to the campaign to defeat these unjust taxes – a start upon which will build into the future.”

 

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