Thursday, April 12, 2012

No mandate for household tax to pay back bondholders – Kelly

Cllr Anthony Kelly has criticised the government for refusing to back down on its ill fated household tax despite the refusal of over seven hundred thousand law abiding homeowners to pay. The Wexford Sinn Féin rep said that the people know that the household tax is not about raising revenue to fund local services, but rather about finding money to continue the bailout of unsecured bondholders and toxic banking assets.

“The people of Ireland have sent a very clear and concise message rejecting the household tax to this government,” Cllr Kelly said, “The Fine Gael and Labour coalition no longer have the realistic mandate to force this unfair tax on the electorate. By ignoring the will of the majority, they are only making things worse for themselves in the long term.”

“No one will be fooled into believing that the household tax was about raising revenue to fund local government. What happened to the funding for local government? It has been transferred into the bailout fund. It is being used to pay off unsecured bondholders and cover the promissory note, which is still very much on the table despite what the government says. Just last Wednesday (11th), we saw AIB hand over €1.5 billion of Irish taxpayer’s money to unsecured bondholders. This is where the household tax is going. It was never about funding local services.”

Cllr Kelly also gave his reaction to recent slurs by members of Fine Gael, including Deputy Liam Twomey, implying that Sinn Féin supports a similar property tax in the north of our island.

“A property tax does exist in the six counties. It is something that the Northern Assembly inherited from direct British Rule, and unfortunately, due to tax varying powers and fiscal levers being controlled by the British Exchequer, the assembly does not yet have the power to abolish a charge that Sinn Féin does not agree with. It is purposely misleading to compare that charge to the one being implemented by Fine Gael and Labour, and a clear attempt to muddy the waters in this debate.”

“Deputy Twomey should know that the North receives a block grant under the Barnett formula from London and then raises additional revenue through regional and district rates. This is because of partition, something that Sinn Féin has campaigned against for nearly a century. I would welcome Deputy Twomey and the Irish government to join our call to end the partition of our island and grant fiscal independence to the six counties.”

“It should also be recognised that northern rates actually pay for good public services, such as healthcare, emergency services, roads, water and sewerage. It should also be recognised that, despite a €4 billion cut by Westminster last year to the block grant, the Northern Assembly put public services and jobs first. Over the past few years, Sinn Féin in the six counties has delivered investment of more than £1 billion in improvements to water infrastructure and £492 million to develop 53 major capital school projects. Sinn Féin invested in the citizens, something that Deputy Twomeys party seems incapable of doing."

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