By Greg Harkin
Friday March 02 2012

A CATHOLIC priest has rejected calls from a senator to end his support for a boycott of the household charge.

Father Brian O’Fearraigh addressed a public meeting in Gweedore, Co Donegal, last night and urged people not to pay the new €100 charge.

However, Labour senator Jimmy Harte said the priest was using his position to encourage people to “break the law”.

Fr O’Fearraigh described the new charge as “robbery” and said he would not listen to “any bishop or government” on the issue.

“I believe this is an unjust law and I am advising people not to pay it. It is wrong,” said the priest, who is based at Derrybeg in Gweedore.

“It is not benefiting the ordinary people. Words must flow and the people’s voices must be heard.

“It’s a duty for all priests to stand with their people and show solidarity. I was ordained to serve my community and we must stand by the people and send a strong message to the Government,” he said.

Fr O’Fearraigh admitted he will not have to pay the charge because he lives in rented accommodation but said he wanted all his fellow priests to support his call not to pay.

However, Mr Harte criticised the priest.

“I go to Mass to hear religious instruction and not to be told to break the law,” he said.

“If people pick and choose what laws they want to obey then we’ll end up with anarchy.”