Friday

28th Jul 2017

Irish citizens boycott austerity tax

Almost half of Irish people have refused to pay a household tax imposed as part of promised savings measures, while government pressure to secure the levy risks further angering an austerity-weary public.

By a Saturday (31 March) midnight deadline, around 805,000 of the country's 1.6 million registered households had paid the tax, which has been subject to a high-profile boycott campaign.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Pro-Lisbon-Treaty ad from 2009: Ireland has been the poster-boy of EU anti-crisis efforts up to now (Photo: Conor McCabe/Jason Clarke)

The Irish government agreed to introduce it in 2012 as part of a deal with the EU and the International Monetary Fund - from which it secured an €85 billion loan in 2010.

But it has been unpopular from the very beginning for its across-the-board nature: the same levy is applied both to rich and poor households.

The boycott has been led by nine members of parliament. They compare the campaign to the massive protests in Ireland in the late 19 century against high rents and evictions.

"The Household Tax is linked in the minds of those opposing with the billions being paid from taxpayers' funds to bail out bankers and speculators for bad private gambling debts and with the swingeing austerity being imposed," said a recent statement by the group-of-nine.

Those who do not pay will be fined and risk court action.

For its part, the government has appealed to people's civic and patriotic duty. It has also pledged to spend the €160m raised by the tax on local services.

"I thank them and acknowledge their genuine patriotism to this country at a difficult time," said environment minister Phil Hogan in reference to those who have already paid up.

The authorities are in a difficult position, however. Irish citizens have already been subject to tough austerity measures in the form of €24 billion of tax rises and spending cuts.

Until now the country has been held up as a shining example of how to beat the crisis - imposing the cuts without seeing widespread social unrest.

The test comes as figures released by the country's national statistics office last week show the country is back in recession, with GDP falling by 0.2 percent for the last quarter of 2011, after falling by 1.1% in the previous quarter.

The current debate may also become embroiled in the forthcoming referendum on the fiscal discipline treaty. Ireland is holding a vote on the document on 31 May. Failure to approve the treaty will mean that Ireland will not be allowed to receive funds from the eurozone's forthcoming permanent bail-out fund, the European Stability Mechanism.

Ireland to hold referendum on fiscal compact

The Irish government will hold a referendum on the EU's new fiscal treaty. The pact can still enter into force in other euro-countries if it says No, but Dublin would not be eligible for future bail-outs.

Ireland downgraded to 'junk' in spiralling euro-crisis

US-based credit rating agency Moody's has downgraded to 'junk' status Ireland's capacity to pay back its debt, amid growing concerns about the stability of the eurozone as the crisis reaches Italy and Spain.

Analysis

Visegrad lobby makes food quality an EU issue

Fico convinced the EU commission chief to take action in the perceived problem of discriminatory food practices, even though the evidence for the phenomenon is anecdotal.

EU Commission sets red lines for Poland on Article 7

The EU executive expects Warsaw to halt the judiciary reform and address concerns over the rule of law, and not to force out supreme court judges, or else the sanctions procedure will start.

EU Commission to act on Poland

The EU executive is likely to issue a new set of rule of law recommendations to Poland and start legal probes once the controversial pieces of legislation have been published.

Orban vows to defend Poland from EU's 'inquisition'

The Hungarian leader called EU Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans an "inquisitor", allied with George Soros and the Brussels elite, and argued for the EU executive to stop being a political body.

News in Brief

  1. Werner Hoyer re-appointed as EU investment bank chief
  2. Spanish PM denies knowledge of party corruption
  3. France 'routinely' abuses migrants, says NGO
  4. Swedish government rocked by data scandal
  5. Member states relocate 3,000 migrants in June
  6. Top EU jurist says Malta's finch-trapping against EU law
  7. EU judges rule to keep Hamas funds frozen
  8. EU court rejects passenger data deal with Canada

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  2. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  3. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  5. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  6. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  7. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  9. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  10. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  11. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  12. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Ep. 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug

Latest News

  1. Corbyn re-opens Labour's single market wound
  2. Visegrad lobby makes food quality an EU issue
  3. EU court could dismiss national borders in cyberspace
  4. Confusion swirls around Macron's Libya 'hotspots'
  5. Insults fly after EU ultimatum to Poland
  6. UK requests EU migration study, 13 months after Brexit vote
  7. EU defends airline data-sharing after court ruling
  8. Stop blaming Trump for Poland’s democratic crisis