Wednesday 21 March 2018

Get Government house in order before any new levy

The coalition will lose its moral authority if it imposes a household charge on taxpayers, write Marc Coleman

Marc Coleman

Marc Coleman

What a strange year it was. As it ends I find myself disagreeing with people I thought I would agree with and agreeing with people I thought I never would.

Much as I'd like to agree with the Taoiseach that the household charge will cost €100 a year, €2 a week, I can't. Nor do I buy the idea that the charge is needed to pay for "fire services, libraries and street cleaning". As a law-abiding person, I tend to disagree with Joe Higgins and would like to agree with Phil Hogan that threats of boycotting taxes are "irresponsible". Then again, Jack O'Connor last week threatened to wreck our chances of recovery by leading public sector workers out on strike if pay increments costing €300m a year were suspended, when such a suspension could have averted misery by preventing tax increases and cuts in welfare and overseas aid. There was no cry of "irresponsible" from any government minister.

When vested interests issue strike threats to protect the Croke Park Agreement -- which at least 65 per cent of citizens oppose -- they don't just get away with it: our political leaders tell us that acceding to their threats is needed to preserve "industrial peace". When someone tries to defend the majority of taxpayers with the far less damaging act of a boycott, they are accused of irresponsibility.

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