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Boyd-Barrett ‘should be ashamed of himself’ over Household Charge boycott, insists Kenny

The Taoiseach can only barely hold back after Richard Boyd-Barrett uses Dáil time to promote an anti-household charge protest.

Richard Boyd-Barrett used time in Leaders' Questions to promote a protest against the Household Charge next month.
Richard Boyd-Barrett used time in Leaders' Questions to promote a protest against the Household Charge next month.

THE TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has told the People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd-Barrett that he should be ashamed of himself for using Dáil time to promote a protest over the Household Charge.

The criticism came during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil this afternoon when Boyd-Barrett advised of a protest being planned for July 18 – the day the Dáil is currently due to rise for its summer break – in opposition to what he called an “unjust” tax.

“Why don’t you save thousands of ordinary people the trouble of buying rail and bus tickets to Dublin on that date, by telling them now that you are abandoning the Household Charge or any property charge that is aimed at low and middle-income families,” Boyd-Barrett suggested.

Kenny was unimpressed with the use of Boyd-Barrett’s Dáil speaking time, however, to promote civil disobedience:

You should be ashamed of yourself as a legislator, to come into this House which passes the law of the land, where people are entitled to have their say for or against, and you deliberately encourage people to break the law of the land.

In fact, were those minority of people who have paid the Household Charge [to do so], it would make the job much easier for the Minister for Social Protection and for everybody else to deal with very sensitive cases indeed.

The Taoiseach also told Boyd-Barrett to “be careful” about organising a protest to coincide with the summer recess when that date could be moved, and said environment minister Phil Hogan had received the report of an expert group into a property tax which he had “a responsibility and a duty” to reflect upon.

Boyd-Barrett, speaking on behalf of the Dáil technical group, told Kenny that when laws were unjust “like Gandhi and Martin Luther King understood very well, it is absolutely justified and legitimate to resist those unjust laws”.

Kenny later suggested that for Boyd-Barrett “to put yourself on the same footing” as Gandhi or King was “a bridge too far”, and advised that the household charge was strongly supported by a majority of the people.

The government’s approach to the financial crisis had been endorsed in the Fiscal Compact referendum, which Kenny pointed out had received the second-highest Yes vote in Boyd-Barrett’s constituency of Dún Laoghaire.

This, in Kenny’s mind, illustrated that the local TD’s “ranting and hysterical incantations” about economic policy had fallen on “very deaf ears indeed”.

Read: Bill to repeal household charge to be debated in the Dáil tonight

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Gavan Reilly

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