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Standing up to be counted

Story by Tom Kelly

Thursday, 23rd February, 2012 5:30pm

Standing up to be counted

The large crowd that attended last Thursday night's meeting organised by the Campaign Against Household and Water Charges reflects the growing anger among the people of Westmeath at the seemingly never ending stream of tax increases and cutbacks.

While the government may, with some validity, say that the household charge - a precursor to a property tax - is just bringing us into line with our international neighbours, it is the timing of its introduction, along with the equally unpopular septic tank registration charge, that has enraged so many.

Through a combination of increased taxes and falling wages, most working people have experienced a significant drop in their incomes over the last four years. Any further threats to the standard of living are bound to be met with anger, especially when the architects of the downfall of the Irish economy, such as those in the financial sector, are unlikely to face any serious consequences for their actions.

If a property tax wasn't introduced at the height of the boom when people could have afforded it, then you don't have to be a hardened cynic to believe that its introduction is just another means of extracting revenue from a populace that has been bled dry in recent years.

While it might be a while until we take to the streets in protest like our Greek cousins, mass non-payment of the household charge and mass non-registration from septic tank owners, as advocated by the organisers of Thursday night's meeting, would send out a strong message to Enda Kenny's government and the real rulers of Ireland, the so-called troika, that the people of Ireland are not as docile as they appear.

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