Inishowen Councillor Jack Murray has described as ‘deeply embarrassing’ the way the collection of the Household Charge in Donegal has descended into what he described as ‘farce’.
He also said it was time the government admitteed defeat claiming the people had defeated the Poll Tax in Britain and the people of Ireland were not willing to pay this inequitable charge either.
Speaking with the ‘Journal’ yesterday the Sinn Fein representative there was an ‘epidemic’ of letters - 30,000 - being sent out by the council, many to the wrong people - including a number who are dead.
The Inishowen representative said:“It’s becoking a farce. For starters the letter threatens legal action if you have not paid but then says if you have - forget about it. So they are not sure who should be threatened.
“I’m aware too of a number of people who have paid who rang the council only to be told that they would have to ring another number to confirm payment.
I am aware many of these people have told officials that is their (the officials) job - they are not going to spend an afternoon ringing around various departments when they have paid up..
Colr Murray was adamant too the government should admit defeat in its pursuit of the charge.
He said the cost of sending out the letters would not even generate enough money to cover the expense involved.
And he suggested it was ‘pointless’
“The pursuit of the household charge has now become desperate. The government must admit defeat and implement an equitable revenue raising system; a system in which the wealthy would pay their fair share.
“Donegal County Council has just issued another 30,000 letters to homes in Donegal. Given the fact that some 50% of homeowners in the county have not paid the charge in the face of all types of government threats, I feel confident to predict that the amount of money these letters will bring in will not cover the cost of issuing them. The household charge is being collected to try and fill the gap in public finances created by pouring money into zombie banks. It is being implemented to protect bondholders, not finance local authorities. That is the reality.
“The people of Donegal who have not paid the charge have done so for one of two reasons; either they cannot afford to pay it or they are making a principled stand. These letters will have little impact in changing either of those reasons.”