Fianna Fáil Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has criticised the cynical moves by Labour Members of the Seanad to block attempts to hold a debate on the proposed introduction of a household charge.

Fianna Fáil put forward a motion in the Seanad this week calling for a comprehensive debate on this issue and called for Minister Phil Hogan to come before the Seanad to participate in the debate and take account of the views of Senators on this new charge on families.

Speaking this afternoon Senator Ó Domhnaill said, “The household charge proposed by Environment Minister Phil Hogan is a punitive tax on families.  People deserve to know what extra household bills they are facing as a result of stealth taxes planned by the Fine Gael/Labour Government. So far there has been total confusion about this matter, with Minister Hogan being slapped down by the Taoiseach for clearly stating that he will be hitting households with flat-rate charges from January.

“Despite all the promises made by Labour ahead of the general election, they now appear to support plans for extra taxes for households around the country next year. People are understandably worried about these additional bills and concerned about their ability to pay. But yet, Labour Senators are refusing to even discuss it in the Seanad. Instead they blocked Fianna Fáil’s efforts to have a debate about this important issue, which affects every single home in this country.

 “I am totally opposed to the idea of flat rate property taxes where the rich and the poor are asked to bare the same burden, when we know there are people who are more able bare this burden.  This has always been my position and remains so. I will use my role in the Seanad to hold the Government to account and in particular the promises made by Labour politicians during the election campaign.”