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Councils Inflame Household Charge Resistance

Reaction yesterday to the linking by some County Councils, of third-level student grants, sought by low income families, to the non payment of household charges has further inflamed resistance and opposition in Tipperary.

In the Dáil yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed that local authorities had no legal right to withhold grants to third level students based on non-payment of household charges by respective households.

South Tipperary County Council yesterday reversed its threatened decision to withhold payments sought by third-level grant applicants whose households had failed to pay this inequitable tax. This decision came about as a result of legal advice received from the Department of the Environment with whom Tipp South County council had consulted. The rate of non payment of the household charge in South Tipperary is currently estimated at over 40%.

It would appear County Councillors are now worried about their future careers in politics come the local elections, more than their guaranteed “junketing weekends away,” at the taxpayer’s expense. Well after all 2014 is not that far away and as Fianna Fáil will tell you, unlike goldfish, which supposedly have an attention span of about 3 seconds, human beings appear to have a slightly longer memory.

Politicians in Senegal, West Africa, have just saved €11.5m by dissolving their Senate. This saving will now be used to provide funding needed to help the victims of the annual rains, which have left thousands of their citizens homeless. Meanwhile despite our Irish governments continued promise to vote on our Seanad’s future, this decision continues to be put on the back burner. Most of our Senators are elected by either members of the Oireachtas or by County & City councillors, making it a temporary retirement home, in between elections, for people like the aging Minister Phil Hogan.

Regrettably for taxpayers, this particular ‘Rest Home,’ can never be inspected by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), if you understand my meaning.

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