High Court allows challenge to household charge

 

THE HIGH Court has granted leave to challenge the household charge on grounds that the legislation underpinning it has not been published in Irish.

In an application made before Mr Justice Iarlaith O’Neill yesterday afternoon Thomas Brabazon was granted leave to make the challenge.

His challenge was on the grounds that the legislation and the statutory instruments, as well as Gaeltacht place-names in the legislation are in English only.

In a statement, Sinn Féin again called on the Government to withdraw plans to levy the charge on March 31st, the current deadline for registration and payment of the charge.

Its Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín said the Government had “forgotten that 500,000 daily Irish speakers exist”.

He said Irish speakers’ language rights had been ignored by a Government which he said would “end up with egg on its face” with regard to the challenge.

Mr Tóibín also said while his legal advice was that the challenge wouldn’t stop the household charge, this was “a serious hiccup” that would “force the government to scramble to resolve the issue before March 31st”.

More than 200,000 people have already registered for the €100 charge which has so far generated about €20 million for the State.

If collected in full it would be worth €160 million for the Government.

Failure to pay the charge by the end of this month will result in penalties, on a sliding scale depending on how late the payment is made.

A late fee of 10 per cent will be added if the charge is paid within six months of March 31st. This will increase to 20 per cent after six months and to 30 per cent after a year.

Late payment interest of 1 per cent per month from the due date will also apply until the charge has been paid.

Householders will not receive invoices in respect of the charge but are expected to pay it online or by cheque, postal order or by bankdraft at their local authority offices.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan plans to use the information on ESB bills to catch households who refuse to pay the charge.