Centre does U-turn and invites household charge protesters back

The board of directors at a community centre in a Cork harbour town has reversed a decision preventing an anti-household charge group from holding meetings at their property.

A row broke out a few weeks ago when the Cobh branch of the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes was told it was no longer welcome to hold meetings in the town’s community centre — although it had hosted a number there since last November.

At the time, a spokesman for the board of directors said the decision had been made because they couldn’t afford to jeopardise government funding for the centre by allowing meetings to take place at which people were encouraged to break the law.

However, following a recent meeting between both sides, the anti-household charge group was informed yesterday they could return.

Cllr Kieran McCarthy (Sinn Féin), who is a member of the cross-party group, said they had made the case that it was likely that nearly 50% of people using the centre for other purposes had not paid the household charge either.

He said that would be a reflection of the national average of defaulters.

“We said we weren’t out on the street dragging people into the centre,” Mr McCarthy said.

“We were going to organise a petition against the decision but not now.”

The group’s secretary, Tiernan O’Rourke, received a phone call yesterday morning from one of the board of directors saying the group was free to use the community centre again.

“We are very happy with that decision. I’m glad they (the board) adopted a reasoned response. It’s a victory for democracy,” Mr McCarthy said.

However, the anti-household charge group will hold a meeting shortly, at another venue to decide if, or when, further public meetings would be held by them at the community centre.


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