Household levy defaulters ‘holding the city to ransom’July 24, 2012 - 7:30am
By Dara Bradley
People who have not paid the €100 household charge in Galway have been accused of ‘holding the city to ransom’ and threatening important services for everyone.
The Department of Environment has notified Galway City Council it will be slashing its funding by €495,548 for the remainder of this year, an 8.3% cut on its original allocation of almost €6 million that it announced in January it was providing in 2012.
The Minister for Environment Phil Hogan has indicated that if more people pay the household tax then the cuts to Galway City Council may not be as severe.
Almost 70% of Galway City households, according to the latest figures, have paid up and Fine Gael City Councillor Frank Fahy has urged the remainder to follow suit.
Cllr Fahy said the remaining 30% of households that hadn’t yet paid were effectively ‘holding the rest of the city to ransom’ as everyone would suffer because of their decision not to pay.
But City Councillor Catherine Connolly (Ind) said that that was an ‘outrageous’ suggestion and was an attempt by the Fine Gael and the Labour Party coalition to ‘divide and conquer’. She described the charge as a “tax on a home” that was unjust and divisive.
Cllr Fahy said essential services provided by the Council would be hit if the remaining householders don’t pay up. City libraries would close, the city’s bin collection waiver for the needy might be scrapped, in addition to a whole host of other unsavoury cuts to the street cleaning programme and grass cutting in estates, while expenditure on roads maintenance or repairs to Council housing might have to be cutback. He said people “shouldn’t be allowed to hold the City to ransom” and should pay their dues.
Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel