Authorities to pursue 700,000

 

Local authorities will have to pursue payment of the controversial €100 household charge in respect of some 700,000 properties across the State.

Figures released today by the Local Government Management Agency show that 924,884 paid the charge, the deadline for which was March 31st.

At that time a total of 884,602 had paid, a figure which was revised upwards from a total of 805,569 households announced at the time.

A further 40,282 properties registered and paid penalties and interest of between €11 and €13 in addition to the €100 charge after that date, the agency said. A total of 17,219 properties have been registered for waivers.

Interactive map (Click each area to see numbers of registered households. Data based on payment figures from Local Government Management Agency and housing figures from Census 2011)

An estimated 1.6 million properties were eligible for the charge according to 2011 Census data and the fee was expected to generate some €160 million to go towards local authority funding.

The latest figures suggest €92.9 million has been collected to date, which means there is currently a shortfall of €70 million in local authority funding for the year.

The charge was intended to replace the exchequer element of the Local Government Fund, set up in 1999. In 2011 exchequer funding for local authorities was €164 million.

The agency said it has now begun the process of analysing data to identify householders who have not yet registered and paid the charge.

It said its members had legislative powers to bring legal proceedings for offences but that those who have not paid would be written to and given the opportunity to pay before action is taken.

There was widespread anger and protests over the introduction of the charge with Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan a target of much of the public discontent.

There have been claims that Mr Hogan and the topic of the charge were temporarily put out to pasture during the fiscal treaty referendum campaign, during which No campaigners linked household and water charges to the treaty.

The final figures have been announced some two weeks after the vote.

A protest march was organised on the second day of the Fine Gael ard fheis, with some 5,000 people demonstrating outside the party gathering the day before the deadline for payment.

A delegate attending the conference who resembled Mr Hogan was surrounded, jostled and pushed to the floor by a small group participating in the rally.

The majority of properties were registered online but a backlog of more than 205,000 postal registrations was recorded by the Local Government Management Agency in late April.

“The Household Charge still has approximately 17,000 applications on hand waiting resolution,” the agency said.

One landlord paid the household charge for 190 properties, including a cheque for €19,000 with his application.

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