The meeting of the Cobh town council on Monday 9th July passed the following motion against collection of the household charge by its staff or prosecution of non-payers by a margin of 5 to 2 (with 2 absent).
“That this council asks the Town Manager to desist from prosecuting any householder for non payment of the household charge, until its legal standing within the constitution has been clearly established. And that through its duty of care to all its employees, that this council refuses to place its employees in an unsafe working environment by asking or instructing them in any way to collect or issue notices relating to the household charge.”
The Secretary of the Cobh branch of the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes, Alan Gibson, commented that “the passing of this motion clearly shows the strength of support for non-payment in Cobh. Even counciloors from the government parties voted for the motion which can only be the result of them being conscious that the charge is deeply unpopular even amoung their electoral base.”
At the same time the political establishment is trying to put pressure on the campaign through other more underhand means. The Cobh campaign had been meeting regularly at the local community centre until finding out last week that from now on they are banned from having their meetings there.
Sinn Fein councillor Kieran McCarthy, who moved the motion at the council, explained “I told the meeting that there was no justification for the director’s decision, that this was a non political group which was made of individuals from different parties and none, attended by people who had paid the charge but still felt it was unjust. They were law abiding peaceful meetings, and we always paid our way for the use of the hall. This was political interference at its worse.”