THE monthly meeting of Limerick City Council took a sinister turn this Monday after anti-household charge protesters were accused of making Nazi salutes at a Labour councillor.
Members accused campaigners protesting against the household charge of engaging in “mob rule” during the monthly meeting of City Council.
Almost 100 people from the Campaign Against Household and Water taxes packed into the council chamber this Monday night to hear a motion calling on the government to rethink the €100 charge “because it is an unfair tax which takes no consideration of a person’s income, or ability to pay.”
The motion, co-signed by Sinn Fein councillor Maurice Quinlivan and Independent John Gilligan divided councillors, with Fine Gael leader Diarmuid Scully suggesting an amended version be put forward.
Instead, he said the council should put forward the motion that the Government should replace the €100 household tax in 2013 “with a progressive tax which takes consideration of a person’s ability to pay.”
Since Fine Gael and Labour both backed this amendment, it meant the motion by Cllrs Quinlivan and Gilligan failed.
And this led to demonstrators shouting down the meeting, with some - including former mayor Joe Harrington and Socialist party representative Cian Prendiville - chanting ‘No way, we won’t pay’, and ‘Not a penny, for Enda Kenny’.
Furious members of the audience in the public gallery then remonstrated with councillors, including Cllr Scully, and Labour councillor Gerry McLoughlin, while Cllr Gilligan hinted that some councillors could lose their seats over this matter.
After the crowd had dispersed, councillors were scathing in their criticism of their activities, with Cllr McLoughlin alleging a number of audience members had made “Nazi signs” at him.
Vowing that he would not put up with this again, Cllr McLoughlin said: “I have no problem with people coming in here, but they must realise there is a sense of decorum that has to be maintained. Councillors deserve that, the city manager deserves that, and the officials deserve that. We are only in here doing our job. I would consider what happened mob rule, and I said to Orla [McLoughlin] I should be watching my back.”
*See today’s Limerick Chronicle for a full version of this story