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Rebel TDs defy Kenny with call to resist €100 tax

THE Government was today facing further mutiny from TDs who have urged the public to resist the controversial household charge.

Eleven angry Dail deputies were today refusing to pay the €100 tax on homes -- with several vowing to go to prison in protest against this "unfair charge".

They have accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of sparking a "campaign of intimidation" by threatening homeowners with fines of up to €2,500 if they refuse to pay the charge.

The rebels held their first public meeting in Dublin today -- urging homeowners to break the law and join the boycott.

It has emerged today that the Government will chase down homeowners who try to evade the charge by using databases held by the ESB, the Revenue Commission and the Private Residential Tenancies Board.



Jail

But the backlash against the charge has already unnerved Environment Minister Phil Hogan -- who accused the dissenters of being "irresponsible".

The group spans all four provinces and is seemingly led by Socialist TDs Joe Higgins and Clare Daly as well as People Before Profit's Joan Collins and Richard Boyd Barrett.

Sinn Fein's Aengus O Snodaigh has also joined the rebels, along with Independents Mick Wallace, Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, Thomas Pringle, Catherine Murphy, Seamus Healy and John Halligan.

The Coalition was today attempting to push the new law through the Seanad, which will impose the charge on 1.6m homeowners.

It is intended to keep the charge in place for two years from March 31 -- before a full property tax is introduced.

If implemented, bodies like the ESB will pass on information to councils so households cannot not escape payment.

Data on property transactions, electricity payments and rental agreements will all be analysed by local authorities.

Enda Kenny has attempted to play down the growing campaign of opposition -- claiming that the charge will only slap an extra €2 on the weekly bill.

"This is a charge of €2 per week and it's going to be used for very vital services around the country," he said.

But Dublin South Central TD Joan Collins told the Herald today that if the campaign is successful, the Government will have to scrap the charge.

"We believe that if a million people didn't pay this tax, it would become uncollectable and there would have to be a complete rethink," she said.

"You can't send a million people to jail. You can't bring a million people to court. This is a growing campaign and we are determined to fight this and kick it into touch. We are asking people to hold out and not pay it, full stop."

Meanwhile a number of other TDs have indicated today that they are "strongly considering" joining the boycott.

Sinn Fein's Peadar Toibin told the Herald: "I am strongly opposed to the charge. I will be discussing [my stance] with my wife this weekend."


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