Seanad debates

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Photo of David CullinaneDavid Cullinane (Sinn Fein)

I wish to seek a debate on the household charge. We have not had such a debate since the charge was introduced. It is clear to many people that not only is this charge unfair but that it is also deeply unpopular. The Leader will be aware that Waterford City Council passed a motion against the household charge on an eight to five basis. Many people are not registering for it and are not paying the charge. This is not because they want to break the law, it is simply due to the fact that they cannot afford to pay. People believe they are getting the thin end of the wedge and that the charge will continue to rise and will be followed by water and all sorts of other charges. I have been asked whether the Government intends to amend the Fines Act in respect of people who are brought to court because they cannot afford to pay the household charge. Is it planned to amend that Act in order that any fines can be deducted directly from people’s social welfare payments or wages? It would be disgraceful if this were to happen. Trying to force people to register to pay a charge they believe to be unfair is nothing short of bully-boy tactics on the part of the Government.

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