Household charge late payers to be pursued


LATE PAYERS of the household charge will be pursued if they do not pay the €11 penalty due this month, chief executive of the Local Government Management Agency Paul McSweeney has said.

Postal payments of the €100 received this week will be accepted if they have a postmark dating from last Saturday or earlier. However, any payments posted this week must be of €111 Mr McSweeney said.

“People paying the charge this week have to pay the penalty of €10, and 1 per cent interest for the month of April. That’s the law of the land. We have to pursue them and we have no discretion in that.”

It will take weeks to clear the backlog of post and compile a list of non-payers through cross-referencing with databases from sources such as the Private Residential Tenancies Board and Non Principal Private Residence list.

Once this process is completed, the agency is to write to non-payers and those who had not sent the full amount, including the penalty where due, seeking payment.

Mr McSweeney said he expected a significant success rate in securing payments once warning letters were sent.

“The experience in relation to the TV licence would show that a letter going out to the householder can be quite successful. We’ve talked to the guys collecting the TV licence and they say a first letter results in a 46 per cent redemption, and a follow-up letter gets around 32 per cent more.”

According to the census there are 1.654 million households in the State, Mr McSweeney said.

The final tally of payments at the deadline of midnight on Saturday showed 621,710 payments had been made online, 89,000 postal applications had been received, 12,677 had registered for a waiver and 82,175 payments had been made in local authority offices. This, the Department of the Environment said, indicated a registration and payment rate of some 50 per cent.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins continued to dispute the figures. He said the census figures indicated 1.86 million houses were in line to pay the charge. “A majority quite categorically have not registered as of last night – on all fronts this has been a huge failure for the Government,” he said.

“We are talking about more than 50 per cent of the population who are in outright revolt, and they are putting that into effect.”

Mr Higgins said he expected a number of people who had already paid the tax would later join the opposition campaign. “Many of those who registered felt coerced, felt fearful and afraid. Many of them at a later stage will join the campaign against this tax.” There would be “massive solidarity” with anyone the Government pursued for non-payment, he added.