Over 70% pay household charge
More than 1.1 million homeowners, or 70 per cent, have paid the controversial household charge.
Publishing an update on the payment rates for the charge Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan criticised those who campaigned against the levy and thanked those who paid it.
Mr Hogan said when the charge was introduced 12 months ago there were plenty of doom merchants who said people would not pay. “How wrong they were,” he said.
“Seventy per cent of those liable to pay the charge have done so and I commend all those households for doing the right thing.
“We had elected representatives who actively encouraged people to break the law and not pay the charge.
“These self-same people are now calling for more funding for local authorities and at the same time encouraging people not to pay.”
A total of 1.126 million properties registered for the charge - including 22,334 waivers - which saw €113.35 million collected in revenue for local authorities.
The €100 levy was introduced last January as an interim measure before the permanent property tax is imposed next year.
The new rate will be set at 0.18 per cent of the property value, rising to 0.25 per cent for homes worth more than €1 million.
This will see the owner of a home worth the national average price of €157,400 paying nearly €300 per annum.
Homes with a certain level of pyrite damage will be exempt, as well as homeowners earning less than €15,000 and those living in ghost estates.
Mr Hogan said anyone who did not pay household charge this year is urged to hand over the payment by the end of April, when it will be capped at €130 including arrears.
From July 1st, any outstanding household charge will be increased to €200 and added to local property tax due on the property.
The Revenue Commissioners will collect the outstanding charge.
“In the last few years Irish people have had a tough time of it and, in spite of that, over 1.2 million people have paid the household charge,” Mr Hogan added.
“They recognise the importance of compliance with the law of the land and, by paying the charge, they have made their contribution to the provision of essential services at the local level. I would like to thank them for this.”
Paul McSweeney, chief executive Local Government Management Agency, said 4,500 to 5,000 houses per week were being registered.
He said a 70 per cent payment rate from a standing start and in the face of organised political opposition was a "great result".
Sinn Féin accused the minister of spinning in to the new year and claimed the 70 per cent success rate was a defeat for the Government and in particular for Mr Hogan. Brian Stanley, the opposition party’s spokesman on the environment, said the household charge has been a disaster for the Government.
“The minister continues to spin his way from this year into the next,” said Mr Stanley.
“A significant 30 per cent of households have not paid this unjust charge posing a serious challenge for the Government.” Sinn Féin also accused Mr Hogan of threatening to withhold funding to local authorities based on the level of non payment.
“Sinn Féin is on record as saying the household charge is unjust and unworkable. Our words have proven to be correct,” Mr Stanley added. “We remain opposed to the household charge and will redouble our efforts to overturning the family home tax which follows in the new year.”