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€5 cost to build warchest against household charge

TENS of thousands of households will be asked to pay a charge to join the battle against the implementation of controversial household charges.

The Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes (CAHWT) said it hoped to receive a €5 membership fee from some 50,000 homes.

As it launched its anti-government campaign yesterday, it announced plans to raise a war chest of a quarter of a million euro.

With the unveiling of a new "national anti-household tax" phone line and ambitions to organise meetings in every major town in Ireland, the group admitted it would have to rely on those involved to finance the movement.

Reacting to the launch last night, a spokeswoman for Environment Minister Phil Hogan said it amounted to "organised law breaking".

"The minister has already said that it is undemocratic of any public representative to advocate breaking the law and they should resign their seat if that is what they are doing," she said.

CAHWT organiser Ruth Coppinger, a Socialist Party councillor, said: "We have a target of 50,000 houses so that would be a quarter of a million euro.

"If people can't afford it, it is flexible. A campaign doesn't run on fresh air."

Cllr Coppinger was speaking outside Buswells Hotel opposite Leinster House yesterday.

The CAHWT phone line, which will be manned by volunteers, has been designed to co-ordinate the campaign by directing concerned homeowners towards local activist groups.

"We call on people not to be bullied by the extraordinary fines and threats of this Government," said Cllr Coppinger.

The campaign has also promised to fight the introduction of water charges.

Last month, a group of nine left-wing and Independent TDs joined forces against the proposed charge, saying they were willing to go to prison in order to frustrate the Government's plans by encouraging members of the public not to pay.

The CAHWT said that it was separate from those TDs but that their support was welcome. A meeting of activists has been scheduled for Saturday at the Teachers' Club, Parnell Square, Dublin.

Meanwhile, a high-profile housing development that epitomised the obsession with property at the height of the boom is to join the list of unfinished developments which will have the household charge waived.

Belmayne in north Dublin was launched by footballer Jamie Redknapp in 2007 amid fanfare and slick marketing.

But phases of the development in Clongriffin have been listed as unfinished and therefore qualify for a waiver from paying the €100 household charge.

There are about 1,300 developments on the list from across the country.

Irish Independent