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A house divided

• On my way into Kilkenny city this week, a collection of activists wearing high-viz jackets were handing out leaflets to drivers.

At first, I wondered if this was some preliminary action by Minister Hogan's newly announced task force, with civil servants -- who will be sent to the doors of those who have not paid the household charge -- deciding first to engage with people in their cars in order to test the water before their home visits.

However, it turned out to be the polar opposite, as activists against the charge were giving out the leaflets.

Personally, I believe that the charge is necessary, assuming that the Government is telling the truth when it says that it will go to local authorities, rather than to German gamblers.

However, these activists are making a far better go of turning people against it than the Government is of persuading us to pay it.

Where are the government agents out at 8am, trying to convince people of the charge's supposed necessity? Where is the Government's dialogue with the people who elected them, in the face of what looks like the first meaningful civil action in the Republic in decades?

After all, if anyone in this battle for hearts and minds can afford to rest on their laurels, it's the anti-side and not the Government, which seems set to collect only one-third of the charge. But the latter are nowhere to be seen.

If the Government wants even half of the people to pay this tax (and the current deadline would require 3,000 homes to register every hour), then it needs to go to the people -- as the anti campaigners are already doing -- instead of just sitting back and arrogantly predicting a late tide of payments. They could at least make some sort of effort.

Killian Foley-Walsh

• A "final reminder" came through my door today. It stated that the household charge would go towards paying for essential local services that "benefit everyone".

But on the reverse side of the card, it declared that only those who own a "residential property" are liable, regardless of income.

Can Mr Hogan please answer the obvious simple question. Why is only one section of society being asked to make this payment to provide services of which all sections avail? Not only is the "charge" grossly unfair, it is also discriminatory.

Jim O'Sullivan
Rathedmond, Sligo

Irish Independent