By Robert Connolly Socialist Voice
ON FRIDAY 20th September the All Dublin Campaign Against the Bin Tax mobilised hundreds of householders to protest outside the District court. The Campaign and its legal representatives were there to defend three non-payers from Finglas.
The protest was noisy enough to be heard through the thick stonewalls of the courthouse and was a strong reminder to the Council of how difficult their "legal avenue" is going to be.
Already there is a deafening silence of empty coffers in the revenue department of Dublin City Council. According to the Council's own figures, only 24% of those eligible to pay have paid up so far for 2002.
The Council's strategy is a simple one. Squeeze as much money as they can by threatening people with summonses and court action. The Council claims it has 40,000 summonses ready to be sent out for 2001 bin tax arrears. Of course, there is no way they can take 40,000 people to court. Their aim is to scare people into paying up.
The Campaign's legal team raised a number of technical points which have been referred to the High Court. A small number of other householders who were taken to court but who were not represented by the Campaign had to pay a €125 fine. The three householders from Finglas who are being represented by the Campaign's legal team were not fined, have not paid and are holding firm.
This shows the crucial difference the Campaign has made in building non-payment, defending non-payers and, most importantly, the prospect of defeating this unjust tax. The best way to answer the Council's absurd threat of 40,000 summonses is to step up the campaign now.
If we get the word out in every area, in every estate, in every street that there is a campaign that has proven to be effective in fighting this tax, we can not only turn the Council's scare tactics into a joke, we can actually strengthen non-payment and do away with this double tax altogether.
Swords: Mass Evictions Will be Opposed by Any Means Necessary
By Clare Daly
FORTY FAMILIES in Swords have had the threat of eviction hanging over them since May of this year, when the owner of Mantua Park, a residential mobile home park, gave them six months to clear out as he wants to sell the land. Mantua Park has operated in Swords for over 30 years, far longer than most of the houses in the area.
It has been home to some of the residents for decades, including elderly residents who like the area and being near the village, young families living there to save money for a deposit on a house, some on the Council's waiting list, or single people who would find it impossible to purchase a house or pay the average rent being demanded. These residents have nowhere else to go and are determined not to be intimidated out of their homes. This is the largest eviction witnessed in Swords and cannot be allowed to happen.
The absentee landlord lives in Tenerife. He has never met any of the families. The land is zoned residential and obviously himself of his agents see the opportunity to make a financial killing. The fate of over 100 people who will be made homeless is an irrelevancy for him.
This will not be allowed to happen. Residents are determined to face down the eviction. Consistent pressure over the summer has resulted in the Council being forced to set up a serious forum of residents, councillors and officials to thrash out a solution. This could involve the Council purchasing the land.
The bottom line is that Mantua Park's residents are there to stay. If the negotiations don't work, we'll fight in the courts, block the JCB's, and do whatever is necessary to protect this community.
Watch this space...
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