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Property tax hunger striker: ‘I’d say I won’t last too long’


Tony Rochford hasn’t taken food for 11 days – but insists he will not end his strike unless the property tax is repealed.

A MAN who today enters the twelfth day of his hunger strike against the property tax has admitted he does not expect to survive for much longer.

Tony Rochford, who turns 45 next week, has been on hunger strike in opposition to the new tax since last Monday.

Rochford has lost nine kilograms (about 19 pounds) since his strike began – surviving only on water and black coffee – and is continuing to lose weight as he refuses to end his protest.

Rochford borrowed €430,000 to pay for his home in Trim, Co Meath, in October 2008. However, within three months his work – installing marble worktops and features in houses – had dried up.

He believes his home is now worth about €280,000, making it liable for an annual property tax of €495.

He has had a negligible income since then, as he is not entitled to State support because he was self-employed, but had managed to keep his mortgage out of arrears until this week.

He claims, however, that his mortgage lender refuses to enter into any negotiations with him, because he and his wife had already been given a moratorium on their repayments – which has since concluded – and because he has not entered into significant arrears.

“They were very good with the mortgage, but not willing to do any deals until you get into distress… the whole thing is bloody crazy,” Rochford told TheJournal.ie last night.

The great thing about this house for the bank is, if they repossess this in the morning, they’ll only lose €50,000.

He said he has paid off €100,000 of his original loan, leaving €330,000 to be repaid – most of which could be recouped by the bank if it was to repossess and sell.

“I’d love to trade down – gimme a bit of land and I’d build a house myself – but the banks are giving me no options,” he said.

“If I do try and trade down I’m still lumbered with the excess… [because we] kept playing the bloody mortgage for fools. We followed what we were told by the government – do the right thing.”

Other protests were fruitless because while there was broad public opposition to the tax, there were too many fragmented groups against it.

Though Rochford has recently been able to start finding work again, his refusal to pay the property tax means that from next Monday he will be unable to receive a tax clearance certificate – meaning he will be without any income of any kind.

“I’m basically sentenced to death anyway,” he said.

I can’t work to provide for my wife, and I won’t be entitled to any welfare payments anyway.

The government is effectively sentencing me to death.

He added: “I’m not going to keep feeding money into the Irish Exchequer – when I was in trouble here and had no work or no money, they did nothing for us.”

Asked if there was any prospect of becoming so ill that he would give up his wife, he said: “I’m afraid not. No, there’s not. I’m just that type of stubborn person.”

Rochford is to mount a protest against the property tax outside the Four Courts on Monday morning – the day upon which the tax will formally be charged, and when he will lose his tax compliance – and says only the repeal of the tax will encourage him to end his strike.

via Property tax hunger striker: ‘I’d say I won’t last too long’.

Property tax may be taken from social payments


Deducting the property tax at source from Social Protection payments has been discussed by high ranking civil servants, documents released to RTÉ‘s The Week in Politics have revealed.

Minutes of a meeting between officials say it poses a challenge to deliver this on time, and policies must be “resolved” to see how much can be deducted from payments.

In order to make the deduction, Revenue said it would need information from the Department of Social Protection‘s customer files.

More resources would also be required by the Department of Social Protection, the minutes, released under the Freedom of Information Act, state.

The matter was discussed when the Department of Social Protection and Revenue’s “High Level Steering Group” met on 27 September. They are set to meet again on 13 December, after the Budget.

Fr Seán Healy of Social Justice Ireland said that there is no justification for taking part of the property tax from Social Protection payments.

He said that 88% of people aged 66 and over would be in poverty without the Old Age Pension.

via Property tax may be taken from social payments – RTÉ News.

via Property tax may be taken from social payments – RTÉ News.

 

Passing News Bites


Special Needs Assistant

Every time the government says ‘we need to pay the unsecured bondholders; A’ Special Needs Assistant dies inside.

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New Movie channel

Pat Rabbitte gives ok to new Irish movie channel. He is confident material supplied by FAS will he included.

Blank TVs

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Mr. Varadkar is currently considering grants for kite flying.

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The Fianna Fail Think In

Top of the agenda was the search for brains – this proved to be a fruitless exercise.

The Leader Mr. Martin said his party would oppose the proposed Government property tax. Now Micheál rattle the old brain cells if you can find them and youwill recall your lot proposed this very same tax two years ago.

Perhaps just maybe we are seeing the death throes of this shambolic lot.

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