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'Tea Party socialists?' Why the left is leading a tax revolt in Ireland.

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Minister for the environment Phil Hogan thanked those who had registered to pay the tax, saying: “I know that Irish people have had a difficult time time of it over the last few years and, in spite of that 800,000 have registered and paid the charge. They understand the need to pay for local services and, by paying the household charge, they have made their valuable contribution to the continuation of essential services at the local level."

Estimates on how many dwellings are liable to pay vary, with the government saying 1.6 million and opponents of the levy saying the census reveals 1.8 million. But with at least half of the households in the country refusing to pay the government is coming under intense pressure.

The opposition is being led by left-wing parties in parliament, including the Socialist Party, the People Before Profit Alliance, and Sinn Féin.

Ireland has no ongoing property tax

Unlike other European countries, Ireland has had no ongoing property tax since "residential rates" were abolished in 1977. A stamp duty tax is paid on buying a property, while a flat annual charge of €200 ($266) is levied on second homes.

Ms. Coppinger says opposition to the tax is an issue for socialists because it is being levied unfairly.

"It's not a tax on wealth, it's a tax on the family home. We'd call for an assets tax [but] there's no trawl being done on Monet paintings. It's a tax on low and middle income people. A family home is a place to live, not an investment," she says.

The levy is supported by the governing center-right Fine Gael and center-left Labor parties, as well as the former government party, centrist Fianna Fáil.

Ireland's small but vocal left accounts for just 26 out of 166 seats in parliament but has tapped into a wider sentiment in society, angered by previous tax increases, high unemployment, mass emigration, and public service cuts.

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