Sinn Féin has urged all TDs, especially those in the Labour Party, to support its bill to repeal the Household Charge.

Debate on the Private Members' Bill began tonight, with a vote tomorrow.

Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson Brian Stanley said if the bill was passed, the charge would be abolished, with those who have paid it already reimbursed.

Deputy Stanley said the €160m the charge raises for local authorities could be replaced by other measures, such as higher income tax on those earning over €100,000, and a cap on public service wages of €100,000.

The Bill is backed by trade unionists Jimmy Kelly of Unite and John Douglas of Mandate, and by Louise Baylis of the single parents' group SPARK.

Mr Kelly said it was a clear opportunity for the Labour Party to stand up to Fine Gael, adding that he didn't trust the Government to introduce a fair property tax to replace the Household Charge.

Ms Baylis said she was asking Labour TDs to “look into their hearts”, and recognise that people who can't afford to put food on the table shouldn't have to pay the Household Charge.