Why withholding charge is right

I decided some time ago not to pay the €100 household charge.

I believe this to be a defensible form of civil protest against a measure that hits the poorest hardest.

Tax resistance — such as the withholding of this latest charge — has been used for centuries, both here in Ireland and abroad.

Our forefathers risked eviction or death when they refused to pay tithes or exorbitant rents during the Land War. American colonists refused to pay taxes to their putative overlords and founded a great nation on the back of it. French peasants risked everything when they refused to pay the hated corvee – an enslaving tax on their labour.

When there is an unjust tax levied, tax resistance is both a political right and a moral stance. The United Nations International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights [Article 26] states: “All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

But, instead of protecting the citizen against such discrimination on the grounds of property, the State is forcing such discrimination through. And, in much the same manner, this unjust household charge is shown as not moral in the catechism of the Catholic Church where it states: When it [the State] imposes taxes, military service, or other burdens; when it distributes rewards, offices, and honours; when it metes out condign punishment for offences, it is bound to do so according to the various merits and resources of the persons concerned; otherwise the State will sin against that special kind of justice which is called distributive.

Thus, the withholding of this charge by me is a civil, political and moral right of mine — and I am happy to effect it. I will be donating the €100 to two good causes in Tramore looking after our young people and our aged.

I am infinitely happier to give the money to those who deserve it — where our taxes should be going in the first place — rather than conspiring in the transfers to Frankfurt or Paris to further fatten the bondholders’ wallets.

Joe Conway

Tramore

Co Waterford

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