The President of the Workers’ Party, Michael Finnegan, has said that the new Fine Gael / Labour coalition has shown itself to be just as adept at underhanded tactics and dishonesty as were its predecessors.
Mr. Finnegan said that the announcement by Environment Minister, Phil Hogan TD, in the Dáil last Tuesday that the government is to introduce a flat-rate universal household charge was a sneaky way of bringing in another tax on ordinary working people while the media’s gaze was diverted away from normal business.
“Minister Hogan’s announcement, on the day Britain’s Queen Elizabeth arrived in this country, was a classic case of using a major event to ‘bury bad news’ and ensured that the latest attack on household income was relegated to the inside pages of the newspapers”.
The Workers’ Party President said that the new household charge went against the government’s own programme of government and he said the silence of the Labour Party on the issue was deafening given that they had claimed credit for the deferment of water charges until meters had been installed in every home.
“Once again it is workers and their families who are being hit with a stealth tax in order to pay for the EU/IMF deal. The proposed household charge is unfair and punitive. It takes no account of people’s ability to pay or the size of their home. The banker friends of the establishment parties will not pay one cent more than low-paid workers who happen to own their own homes”.
“This flat rate property tax is just one more example of the coalition introducing an ideologically motivated measure under cover of the EU/IMF deal. This government has, from day one, vehemently opposed any tax on wealth and the announcement on May 17th was just further confirmation of that stand. This has put this government firmly on the path of a Maggie Thatcher style Poll Tax. Let this government be assured that just as the people of the UK defeated the unjust Poll Tax so Irish workers, led by the Workers’ Party, will defeat this unjust measure.”