An instruction to local authorities to send council staff knocking on doors in a bid to collect the Household Charge smacks of total desperation on the part of the government and is doomed to failure according to Workers Party Councillor Ted Tynan.
Cork based Cllr. Tynan, who will be attending a mass rally of anti-household charge protestors in Dublin today (Saturday), said that the demand from Minister Phil Hogan showed how out of touch the Environment Minister was with both the public mood and the huge staffing problems of local authorities as a result of staff cuts and the government’s own recruitment embargo.
“It is clear”, said Cllr. Tynan, “that Minister Hogan has not visited too many local authority offices lately. If he had, he would realise that staff are struggling to cope with their workloads due to the loss of thousands of their colleagues due to government cutbacks. Taking key staff from the likes of Cork City Council and sending them knocking on doors means other areas of the council’s work will suffer”.
Cllr. Tynan said that the move would only serve to harden people’s opposition to the Household Charge as the government’s own propaganda linking the charge with local government services will backfire on the Minister. “People know that vast cutbacks in local government spending have caused council services to collapse in many areas with huge cuts in housing maintenance, roads, street cleaning and public amenities. They know that the Household Charge will disappear into the black hole of bank bailouts and the repaying the EU/IMF for a debt which isn’t theirs. ”.