Householders are being asked to register by Minister of the Environment Phil Hogan to pay for a new household charge of E100, a charge that the people of Clonmel greatly resent being forced to pay.
As expected those interviewed on the subject on the streets of Clonmel expressed their anger and total opposition to the charge. While those interviewed are furious at the new stealth tax being imposed on them this year they stopped short of stating any intention to support a campaign not to pay the charge.
The level of anger towards the government concerning the household charge is very evident on the streets but people expressed a willingness to abide by the law of the land and pay up if they have to, with a great reluctance.
Mick Kennedy , a retired man, said he did not agree with the household charge and felt that the government could have found another way of raising the income required
He saw no reason why pensioners like himself and other people in the community should be saddled with such an imposition when the government gave a free ride to other people.
“Coolmore were charging E220,000 to bring a mare to Sadliers Wells and they were never asked to pay tax on that. People like writers are left off, people like Bertie’s daughter has to pay no tax on the money she makes on book sales,” said Mick.
“I am a pensioner and my wife is a pensioner. The government is just out to screw the people, the same people all the time,” he said.
Pat Lynch said he was totally opposed to the charge and his big fear was that the E100 will very quickly become a multiple of that figure.
“My sister-in- law lives in Wales and what started out as a very small charge for her, the poll tax is now £2,500 for a small three bedrommed-bungalow with a very small piece of ground around it,The very same is going to happen here,” he warned.
Pat said that the E100 charge was brought in to allow the government introduce the charge and after all the administration and registration was done and every household was accounted for it would be very easy to increase the charge every year.
“Some people expect to be paying a minimum of E800 very quickly for this household charge.At the end of the day the government is going to charge what it likes,” said Pat.
“People signing up for this should be aware that they are going to end up paying much, much more than the E100,” said Pat.
Pat said it was wrong that people who worked hard and decided to invest in providing a good house for their family were not going to be penalised through this new charge.
Pat has not registered to pay the charge yet
“I am going to hold out as long as I can and see what people are going to do. I am not going to break the law or anything like that but I just want to leave it late to see what happens,” he said.
It was ironic, he said, that the household charge system is set up to provide an income to auctioneers, a group of people who contributed to the economic mess.
“These are the same group of people who encouraged people to foolishly take out loans of E300,000 or E400,000 to buy a house at the height of the boom.I had auctioneers quoting me figures like that at the time.The auctioneers were party to all of that,” he said.
Mick said that while he objected to the charge and felt there were better ways the government could have pursued to bring in the money that if it is the law of the land he will pay it,but reluctantly so.
Michael Fitzgerald said he was opposed to the household charge but that he would pay it.
“I am against it but I will pay , I dont want the hassle that not paying it would bring,” he said.
Michael said he was disappointed that the government did not go about raising the money another way but understood why they had to raise the money.
“Its simple , there is more money going out than coming in and they have to raise the money somewhere,” he said.
“There are some homes that can afford this charge and others that cant but everybody will have to pay it,” he said.
Michael said while he was against the household charge he was also furious with the government on the septic tank charges issue.
“I have spent E9,000 providing a septic tank at my house. The Corporation or the County Council did not bring the water to my house paid for that and now they what us to pay to register for it and have us all caught down the line for further charges.
Sylvia Mulhall said that while she was renting property at the moment, she was mostly concerned about her mother and the effect the new charge would have on her.
She was concerned that as somebody who was renting her living accommodation that the cost of renting could be increased by landlords who will want to pass on the cost.
“How are the likes of my mother going to pay this charge,she is a widow and how can the government expect them to pay this new charge on top of everything else that they have to cope with,” said Sylvia.
Sylvia said she was afraid that while the household charge was starting at E100 nobody knew where it would end up.
“We are all being made to pay for the trouble the banks are in.This charge is going to be increased every year, no doubt about it,” she said.
Sylvia said the government should leave the widows, the OAPs and other groups who are struggling to get by alone.
Mick Browne said he knew nobody that actually agreed with this new household charge but that because it was the law of the land people had no choice but to pay it.
“I just dont agree with the charge,people cannot afford to pay it but the gun is being put to our heads and its going to be the law,” he said.
Noreen Williams said that the country was in a very bad state and had to get money in some way.
She felt it would have to be paid because it was the law but was afraid that the E100 will rise and rise in the years ahead.