Household Tax: Sinn Fein fall short of what’s needed

Nine TDs have voiced full support for the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes and its call for mass non-registration and mass non-payment of the tax.

These TDs are Joe Higgins and Clare Daly (Socialist Party / United Left Alliance), Joan Collins and Richard Boyd Barrett (People Before Profit / United Left Alliance), Seamus Healy (South Tipperary Workers and Unemployed Action Group / United Left Alliance) and the independents Luke Flanagan, John Halligan, Mick Wallace and Thomas Pringle.

To date, Sinn Féin’s 14 TDs have failed to add their voices to this call.  This is despite the fact that “people power” in the form of organised mass non-payment is clearly the only way that the tax can be defeated.  It is also despite the fact that sections of the trade union movement such as the UNITE trade union are now backing the call.

Sinn Féin’s position on this issue is clearly far better than that of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.  They have voted against the tax, they have spoken out against the tax, they have stated their willingness to defend non-payers when they are hauled before the courts and some of their TDs (not all!) have announced that they will refuse to pay.

While this support is welcome it clearly falls far short of what is needed at this stage.  Campaign meetings have heard repeated calls for Sinn Fein to back mass non-registration and mass non-payment and to “go the extra mile” on this issue.

The vast majority of the party’s voters and quite a few of their members would support these calls.  A clear call from Sinn Féin’s 14 TDs would represent a real boost for the Campaign and a clear blow to the supporters of the tax.  There is no excuse for not making this call and it should be made now.