On 1 September the National Steering Committee (NSC) of the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes (CAHWT) took important decisions regarding the involvement of independent TD, Mick Wallace in the Campaign.
Earlier in the summer, the NSC agreed that Wallace should not be promoted by or associated with the campaign. His tax evasion makes his involvement in a taxation justice campaign untenable. His involvement also gave the media and right-wing politicians a stick to beat the campaign with, lumping together the tax evasion of a developer with the mass non-payment of the household tax.
Unfortunately, a local group of CAHWT in Wexford continued to promote Wallace, having him speak at public meetings, potentially damaging the campaign nationally. Therefore, a number of motions called for the Loch Garman campaign to stop this association or face suspension from the campaign.
A heated debate ensued. The repeated appeals to the many members of the Loch Garman campaign present not to have Wallace speak at meetings or be connected to the campaign, unfortunately fell on deaf ears. The vast majority of speakers from outside of Wexford, as well as a number of speakers from Wexford, supported the motions.
Unfortunately, two United Left Alliance (ULA) TDs, Clare Daly and Joan Collins, spoke in opposition on the grounds that the motions infringed the democratic rights of the Loch Garman group. This argument, against the agreed policy of the ULA, ignores the fact that the issue is of such importance to the campaign across the country that it is a decision to be made democratically through the national structures of the campaign.
When a vote was taken, an overwhelming majority supported the motions criticising Wallace and calling for Loch Garman to be suspended if they didn’t agree to break connections with Wallace. This was followed by a walk-out of the Loch Garman campaign activists. The national campaign will now send a delegation to Wexford to try to assist the building of a mass non-payment campaign in the county on the basis of the agreed national policies.