Irish Times
16 Mar 2012

A SINN FÉIN TD was warned about “inciting” people against paying the €100 household charge and encouraging them to break the law. The party’s justice spokesman Jonathan O’Brien said an overwhelming number of people, including himself, had decided not to register or pay what he called “this unjust tax”.

However Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn urged the Cork North Central TD “to consider his position in regard to inciting people who earn far less than he does”.

During persistent heckling, Mr Quinn said “inciting people not to pay the charge means, as was the case with the bin charges, that innocent citizens end up in court because they are encouraged not to comply with the law”.

He said “every elected member of this House has a duty to uphold the laws of this land”. Mr O’Brien said: “People elected me to introduce fair and just legislation. This tax is neither just nor fair and that is why I will not be paying it.”

The Sinn Féin TD raised the issue in the Dáil following the decision by the High Court to grant leave to challenge the charge on the basis that the underpinning legislation had not been translated into Irish. In the Government’s “haste to obey the diktats of the so- called European partners”, it “forgot to translate the legislation into our national language”.

Mr Quinn insisted the charge “will amount to the vast sum of €2 per week”. He highlighted those who would not have to pay, including those on mortgage interest relief supplement or living in social housing.

Mr O’Brien said both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste had acknowledged it as an unfair tax. Mr Quinn urged him and “any deputy who suggests people should not pay the charge to think again”.