The Cork Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes said they want TDs to answer questions from people who just can’t afford to pay the property tax, and who are struggling as a result of austerity.
But two government TDs indicated they are not prepared to walk in to an ambush. Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer said: “I engage with people all the time. But if it is the policy of this group not to pay property or water tax, then why engage? I will however, give the invitation careful consideration.”
Labour TD Ciarán Lynch said he would need to examine the meeting’s agenda first, and consider what the campaigners hope to achieve by the meeting, before accepting the invite.
Campaign spokesman, John Lonergan, said they will do everything they can to ensure the meeting is dignified and peaceful. “People just want answers and what’s wrong at the moment, is that people aren’t getting answers,” he said.
“I can’t control individual people if they lose their temper, but we are aiming for the meeting to be nice and peaceful. It will be controlled and dignified. I reckon there shouldn’t be a problem.”
The campaign is now collating questions from its branch members. “We will be asking the TDs where they stand on the austerity policies which have crippled ordinary families for five years, and the planned new property tax, which threatens to be the last straw for so many people,” Mr Lonergan said.
Fellow campaigner, Karen Doyle, said nine chairs will be made available for the city’s nine TDs. “If they come they will be given the opportunity to explain where they stand on these issues,” she said. “If they don’t come their chair will be kept empty and everybody will be able to see who has snubbed them.”
Members of the public are also invited to question the public representatives.
Mr Lonergan was one of about 80 protesters who occupied the public galleries at Cork’s City Hall during a city council meeting on Monday. They unfurled banners, and interrupted the proceedings with chants and shouts, forcing the abandonment of the meeting.
The public meeting will be held in the city’s Metropole Hotel at 8pm on Feb 11.