Westport trio first to be prosecuted over household charge


THREE PROPERTY owners from the Westport area of Co Mayo have become the first people in the Republic to be prosecuted in connection with the Government’s controversial household charge.

Summonses to appear before Judge Mary Devins at Westport District Court yesterday were issued to Peter Anthony Keegan, Belclare, Westport; and a married couple, Barbara O’Malley and Liam O’Malley, with an address at Clooneen, Rosbeg, Westport.

The summonses against Mr Keegan relate to allegedly not making a declaration in relation to six units in Westport.

The cases against the O’Malleys relate to non-declaration in respect of three units in Westport.

When the cases came before her yesterday, Judge Devins asked if they were the first cases of their kind in the country.

Ward McEllin, solicitor for Mayo County Council, replied: “As I understand it, yes.”

Mr McEllin told the court it was an offence to fail to make a declaration and it was a separate offence to fail to pay the household charge.

The cases against the three were adjourned until December 20th by Judge Devins.

Meanwhile, Mayo County Council has confirmed it has issued eight summonses, relating to 25 properties, in relation to non-payment of household charges.

Acting county secretary John McHale explained yesterday: “These summonses were issued following a number of reminder letters to multiple property owners.

“This is the commencement of the next phase of an ongoing process for collection of household charges that is being implemented on a nationwide basis,” he said.

“It is expected that other local authorities will be issuing proceedings in the coming days and weeks.”