Sunday 21 December 2014

Taking liberties with the household charge

Published 21/03/2012 | 05:00

I decided some time ago not to pay the €100 household charge. I believe this to be a defensible form of civil protest against a measure that hits the poorest hardest.

Tax resistance -- such as the withholding of this latest charge -- has been used for centuries. Our forefathers risked eviction or death when they refused to pay tithes or exorbitant rents during the Land War. American colonists refused to pay taxes to their putative overlords. French peasants risked everything when they refused to pay the corvee -- an enslaving tax on their labour. When there is an unjust tax, resistance is a political right and a moral stance.

The UN covenant on civil and political rights states: "All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."

But, instead of protecting the citizen against such discrimination on the grounds of property, the State is forcing such discrimination through.

And, in much the same manner, this unjust charge is shown as not moral in the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it states: When it (the State) imposes taxes, military service, or other burdens; when it distributes rewards, offices, and honours; when it metes out condign punishment for offences, it is bound to do so according to the various merits and resources of the persons concerned; otherwise the State will sin against that special kind of justice which is called distributive.

Thus, withholding this charge is a civil, political and moral right of mine -- and I am happy to effect it.

I will be donating the €100 to two good causes in Tramore looking after our young people and our aged. I am infinitely happier to give the money to those who deserve it rather than conspiring in the transfers to Frankfurt or Paris to further fatten the bondholders' wallets.

Joe Conway

Tramore, Waterford



Irish Independent

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