Sinn Fein couple to resist Household Charge

LOCAL Sinn Fein councillor Kathleen Funchion and her husband, Sinn Fein senator David Cullinane, have said they will not register for the €100 Household Charge by this Saturday’s deadline.

LOCAL Sinn Fein councillor Kathleen Funchion and her husband, Sinn Fein senator David Cullinane, have said they will not register for the €100 Household Charge by this Saturday’s deadline.

The couple live on the White’s Castle housing estate in Knocktopher, where a number of houses have yet to be completed.

It is one of the 36 unfinished housing estates in Kilkenny that have a waiver on the initial payment. However, registration of properties on these estates is still required.

“We are not going to register and we are not going to pay,” Cllr Funchion told the Kilkenny People.

“This was a household decision. We are opposed to the charge.”

The councillor said it was not reflective of her party’s policy, but that it was an indivdual choice.

“Sinn Fein is not endorsing the ‘don’t pay’ campaign,” she said.

“I think this is a personal issue for people.”

Nationally, the Household Charge was expected to raise around €160 million. Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has insisted that this money (and that collected from the eventual property tax) is essential for the financing of local services.

However, Cllr Funchion said she did not believe that the money was going to be used to fund local authorities.

“In all of the Government’s measures so far, the money has all gone into the same fund, which is a black hole,” she said.

“They can’t tell councils ‘we can’t pay you’, and then turn around and hand over €3.1 billion to a defunct bank. If they have the money for Anglo-Irish Bank, they can have it for local services.”

Cllr Funchion was referring to the upcoming payment by the State to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, which is due the same day as the Househould Charge deadline.

Local representatives

With the deadline for registering to pay the Household Charge on Saturday, we asked some of Kilkenny’s other local representatives whether or not they have registered to pay.

Minister Hogan said that he had paid the charge in January, using the online facility. His party colleagues have followed suit.

“Yes, I have paid it,” said Fine Gael Deputy John Paul Phelan.

“I paid electronically ten days ago.”

Fellow Fine Gael TD Deputy Pat Deering said he had paid it online in January, as did Labour’s Deputy Ann Phelan.

Deputy John McGuinness (FF) was unavailable for comment. Kilkenny MEP Liam Aylward (FF) said:

“I paid the charge at the start of the year over the internet.”

Meanwhile, Mayor David Fitzgerald (FG) and Kilkenny County Council Chairman Paul Cuddihy (FG) both confirmed that they had paid the charge in January.

Anti-household tax campaigner Noel G Walsh said he had not paid the charge and encouraged others to follow suit.

“Local services are not going to be affected by this, because we aren’t getting them as it is,” he said.