The Minister for the Environment, Mr. Phil Hogan, has been sternly rebuked by local authorities in North and South Tipperary in the past week. This follows his decision to severely reduce the local government fund in the wake of non-payment of the household charge by 40% of those who were eligible to pay it.
A very significant 40% of the population in North and South Tipperary have, though, firmly rejected his insistence that the fee must be paid. They remain resolute that they will withstand what they regard as an unfair and unnecessary attack on their homes.
The Minister moved quickly last week, reducing the local government fund by 1.5m euro in North Tipperary and an even greater sum of 1.8m euro in the South.
As a consequence there have been warnings by officials in both counties that services will have to be reduced in a bid to balance the books by year end.
Mr. Hogan may consider this a stick with which to beat those resistant to the charge but has he given any thought to the 60% of the population in both counties who, begrudgingly, have handed over their hard earned cash.
They now must suffer cutbacks in the very same way as those who have not paid. That is hardly equitable. In fact, it is downright foolhardy on the part of Mr. Hogan and his Cabinet colleagues.
Those who have opposed payment of the household charge have not done so on a whim. They have very strong and passionate feelings in relation to the imposition of such a fee on their homes and Mr. Hogan’s penalization of the entire population of North and South Tipperary is not going to change their minds. It will rather make them more resolute in their determination to stand firm.
Full editorial in this week’s Tipperary Star.