| 9.6°C Dublin

Enda threatens 4pc hike in income tax as shops fear big slump

enda kenny #

SHOPKEEPERS are concerned that fresh anti-water charge rallies will impact on business during the Christmas shopping season.

Another round of national marches are being planned to build up momentum following the protests that saw 150,000 take to the streets at over 100 different rallies around the country last Saturday.

Further marches are planned for December 10 but protest organisers hinted further marchers are likely to be organised before then.

But retail lobby group, DublinTown has expressed concern over ongoing traffic restrictions due to the marches.

The biggest protests were in Dublin where 40,000 people took to the streets with over 12,000 on O'Connell Street alone.

Now traders are concerned that this will impact on Christmas shopping period.

"While we absolutely respect the right to protest, the ability to protest and articulate one's views can be done in a way that respects the rights of other users of the city," said Richard Guiney, CEO of DublinTown.

"It is simply not fair for the ordinary people of Dublin to be denied the right to fully enjoy their city."

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has warned Irish people that income tax could jump by up to 4pc if the Government abolished water charges.

The Taoiseach was speaking at the Fine Gael presidential dinner held on Saturday night at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Dublin.

Mr Kenny said the Government would be forced to undo the tax cuts announced in the recent Budget, if it did not begin charging people for water.

"I am not prepared to increase income tax by 4pc on the top rate and do away with our tax package from the last Budget - where the Government focused on the middle income families on €70,000 down, families with young children who benefit to the tune of €1,200 a year," he said.

"We did not increase income tax in the last three and half years, and in the recent budget we reduced the top rate and increased the band at the low rate - so people will benefit from that."

The Government is coming under increased pressure from disgruntled householders who are furious at how the water charges have been introduced.


The Right2Water campaigner Richard Boyd-Barrett described the numbers on Dublin streets as "an unprecedented popular rebellion."

Aside from the capital, more than 10,000 people protested in Cork city centre on Saturday in the biggest march in a decade.

Donegal witnessed one of Ireland's biggest protests as 10,000 turned out in Letterkenny.

In Waterford, a crowd of nearly 5,000 marched through the sodden streets and more than 4,000 anti-water demonstrators converged on Limerick city centre to protest.