Regarding the deeply resented and unfair household charge, I would firstly like to acknowledge and thank you for a balanced and fair editorial in the Tipperary Star of Thursday, 5th April. It stood out from virtually all of the other newspapers, national or local in the lead up to the March 31st deadline and in the days since then.
Almost without exception, those papers concentrated almost exclusively on how the government could have handled the collection process but had little or no reference to the deep anger and resentment felt by huge numbers of modest or low income people finding themselves once more the easy target of being asked to, dare I say almost frightened into bailing out rogue bankers and bondholders and quite a number of corrupt politicians who largely created this financial meltdown.
During the campaign and since its deadline date, all government members and some opposition T.D.’s have been trotting out the mantra about this household levy being used to fund vital local services. Most people, myself included, do not believe this as it seems quite obvious that this is part of our re-payment to the Troika, one branch of which said recently that there would be a “Financial Earthquake in Dublin” if the bondholders did not get their money.
The other part of the well trotted government line is the plethora of statements beginning with the words, “we are the only country in Europe that does not have” - this or that charge. However, what they conveniently fail to mention is that in Ireland, cars new and used, are hugely expensive to buy; we have the highest fuel costs and ever increasing ones to drive the vehicles; a massive V.R.T. charge on cars bought outside Ireland and even in the E.U. Also car taxation and insurance costs are exorbitant and rising. Remember too that we are the only country in the E.U. that imposes stamp duty on house buyers.
The deep resentment and anger felt by so many ordinary people is quite understandable in the light of the above mentioned financial demands, not to mention a whole array of ever increasing costs of items essential for life. The reality is that it is those who are working hard to earn a living for their families on modest incomes and have already had a number of salary reductions and pension levies, as public sector workers, together with those who have lost a lot of income as self employed people, not to mention those who have recently lost their jobs and those who cannot find work, are the ones being asked again and again to meet these unpayable debts.
Finally, it is clear to me why this household levy has caused such a strong reaction in people; it is the first opportunity that we, as a nation, have had to give a message to our leaders that we regard the imposition of these heavily burdensome levies to solve a problem not of making, as deeply unjust and immoral.