The Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay campaign opposed to the government’s household, septic tank and water charges, said the government’s drastic reduction in the septic tank registration charge is a sign of panic.
Francis McCafferty, a member of the county-wide campaign committee, said he believed the drop in the charge came in response to very the low level of payment for the household charge to date.
“I think with the household charge looking like a complete disaster for them, they don’t want to repeat that with the septic tank charge,” Mr. McCafferty said.
When the septic tank registration fee was initially discussed, a charge as high as €300 was mentioned in media reports. Later the figure dropped to €150 and less, and finally to €50. This week the minister said it could be as low as a nominal €5,
The public has until the end of March to pay the household charge without incurring penalties, and Mr. McCafferty said he accepted that some people will pay the charge in the coming weeks.
“A lot of people are taking a wait-and-see attitude to see if there really is gong to be a strong boycott,” Mr. McCafferty said. “Because I think the vast majority of people are considering not paying the tax, but they want to make sure they’re not doing it alone, that come March the 31st there is going to be a very large number of people who are doing likewise, so they don’t feel isolated.”
The campaigner said that was “a very reasonable” approach for people to take. He said the campaign will be sending out the message that, “What we’re finding is that the campaign is getting stronger and stronger across the country.”
Mr. McCafferty said Donegal had led the campaign late last year, “but now we’re finding around the whole country, we’re seeing reports of meetings of 300, 400, 500 people becoming commonplace”.
Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay is urging people not to pay any of the charges. The campaign has argued that with more than €5 billion invested over the last decade to upgrade urban public waste systems, the government should offer assistance to septic tank owners where upgrades are required.