Anti-water charge candidates want mass boycott of levy

Anti-Austerity Alliance members on their way to Leinster House yesterday. Picture: Maura Hickey

An alliance of anti-water charge candidates for the local elections has called for a mass boycott of the incoming levy among communities and vowed to oppose austerity measures if elected.

The Anti-Austerity Alliance, calling themselves the AAA, are putting forward 40 candidates in cities and counties nationwide.

Spokesman and Cork city councillor Mick Barry said yesterday that the group would raise local funding by supporting increases in corporation taxes and a wealth tax instead of through water taxes.

“The AAA is a new movement against austerity. It arose from campaigns against the household, property and water taxes. It is a coming together of activists in those campaigns, some of who are members of political parties and others in no party.”

The candidates will run in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Kilkenny, Laois, Louth and other counties. Five of the 40 candidates are already councillors.

Asked at a press conference yesterday how the AAA would fund services in local authorities, finance spokesman Michael O’Brien said its councillors would target the wealthier parts of society.

This included raising corporation tax by 1% which would raise €525m, while a wealth tax on the country’s top 1% earners could generate €2.9bn in funds, the AAA claimed.

The group said yesterday that it will build up a mass non-payment of the property tax and water tax.

It said that, unlike Sinn Féin, it had openly called on homeowners not to pay the property tax. The group said it was their aim to take on local election candidates from Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour.

The anti-austerity candidates said they would oppose cuts and junkets in councils.

Seonaidh Ní Shiomóin, a candidate in Shannon, Clare, stated: “We are hearing a lot of government spin that there is recovery. Tell that to the thousands emigrating, or having their medical cards or SNAs taken away. Tell it to the thousands on housing waiting lists, priced out of rented accommodation or buying a home.”

Asked what candidates would do when faced with the prospect of reducing or increasing the property tax locally under changes in 2015, it said that it would opt out of voting in council budgets.

Mr Barry added: “We will not vote for any austerity [measures] which includes attacks on the living standards of people.”

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