Household registrations reach 545,500


Revisit this page for regular updates on the household charge in the run up to the deadline for payment. You can scroll down to see previous updates.

21:06 - Further anti-household charge protests due

The anti-household charge campaign will stage another protest tomorrow, this time outside the office of the Local Government Management Agency in Dublin.

The protest will begin at 12 noon. The LGMA is the agency responsible for processing registration and payment of the €100 charge, aimed at an estimated 1.6m householders in the State.

Campaign spokeswoman Ruth Coppinger said tonight the boycott would continue and also claimed "panic" by the Government.

The campaing also hopes to stage a protest on Saturday afternoon, marching from Parnell Square to the Fine Gael Ard Fheis at the National Convention Centre.

Earlier today the Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins predicted that thousands will march on Saturday.

18:52 - Update: Minister does not envisage anybody going to jail over charge

Minister for Environment Phil Hogan has said he does not envisage anybody going to jail as a result of not paying the new €100 household charge. Mr Hogan visited the household charge head office in central Dublin this evening to talk to officials who have been processing claims and dealing with calls from the public.

Speaking to reporters at the event, Mr Hogan again said he was confident that the numbers who would register for the tax would be much higher than has been predicted by opponents of the charge and by commentators.

As of 5pm this evening, the number of household who had registered had risen to 535,000 with a further 10,000 having registered for waivers from the charge.

Mr Hogan and Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said separately today that those who did not pay would not face jail. Mr Shatter said that the Fines Act would come into operation and ultimately the fines, penalties and interests could be attached against properties.

For his part, Mr Hogan said: “There is no reason why anyone should go to prison… I do not envisage anybody going to jail for a €100 household charge.”

The Minister defended the campaign and against criticisms, some from colleagues, that mistakes were made:

“This is a new tax. There were always going to be teething problem. I did not have a database,” he said.

Asked if he agreed with campaigners against the tax that their call for a mass boycott had had a major impact, he responded: “Let us see by Saturday evening. I think you will see a significant increase of the people who have paid by Saturday evening, many more than people were predicting.

“A lot of journalists and commentators were predicting 48 hours ago that this would not hit 400,000. We are now at 550,000 and rising,” he said.

Mr Hogan again said he did not like to impose the tax but there was a need to broaden the tax base.

“Whether we like it or not there is a gap of 18bn between income and expenditure and we have to get the money from somewhere.”

17:12 - Update: Number of registrations rises to 545,500

The Department of Environment has confirmed that the number of households registered for the new €100 charge has risen to 545,500. The figure includes some 72,000 registrations by post that have yet to be processed. A further 10,000 have registered for waivers. The Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan is due to host a press conference around now in a final push to encourage people to register before the Saturday midnight deadline. [Listen to audio of the Minister's statement].

16:40 - Update: Minister Pat Rabbitte became the latest senior Minister today to admit the household charge campaign has not gone well and the government will have to examine it's options after the deadline passes tomorrow. (SAT)

Speaking in Cork, where he addressed a conferring ceremony for postgraduate students at UCC, Minister Rabbitte said the household charge represented a first step towards a graduated property tax that will be linked to site value.

"It hasn't gone well, that is true. But the numbers paying are accelerating, it's very important we broaden the tax base, we can't continue to pile taxes on income and people at work," he said. Fewer than one third of Irish household's had paid the €100 tax as of lunch time yesterday."

16:28 - Update: The number of households which have paid the €100 tax has surpassed the 500,000 mark, according to figures supplied by the Department of the Environment.

The Department said that as of 2pm today 458,615 households have registered and paid the charge. However, another 72,000 postal registrations await processing bringing the total to over half a million.

However, the figure remains well short of the 1.6 million target set by the Government to reach by the time the deadline closes on Saturday evening.

Minister for Environment Phil Hogan will make a public appearance within an hour in an effort to get a final push going for late registrations. The Department has said that the experience with previous new charges - especially the second-home charge - had shown that there was a late surge of registrations.

By contrast, Joe Higgins, one of nine TDs who have publicly opposed the charge, claimed this morning that the nationwide boycott of the poll that been a huge success.

15:25 - Update: new figures for registrations will be released later this afternoon.

The 500,000 mark appears to have been reached, but the figure is still short of 1.6 million. See related blog post 'So who’s to blame for the household charge fiasco?' and join the debate on the household charge here.

14:08 - A group of independent and United Left Alliance TDs who have spearheaded the anti-household charge campaign have claimed they have succeeded in their ambitions.

The nine TDs, made up of five ULA members and four independents, appeared outside the gates of Leinster House this morning to urge people to maintain the boycott.

Socialist MP Joe Higgins said 73 per cent of people have not paid yet and although that percentage would come down he contended over a million households would boycott the tax.

“It is the first time in the history of the State that a mass movement has been mobilised in this way. It is people power saying they don’t want this new tier of tax and they are also fed up with austerity,” he said.

“The vast majority are the ordinary decent people of this country. They have funded the taxation system for decades while the corrupt elite were salting away money in Ansbacher, and other offshore, accounts.”

With just two days to go before the March deadline only about 500,000, or less than a third, of the 1.6 million liable households have paid the tax.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, who is leading the Government campaign, has pinned his hopes on a late surge of registrations. However, a number of his Government colleagues, including Lucinda Creighton, Joan Burton and Brendan Howlin, have said mistakes were made in the campaign.

Yesterday the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said it could be the end of the year before 90 per cent of households had registered. At the press event at Leinster House this morning, Mr Higgins' Socialist Party colleague Clare Daly said the group was opposed to all forms of property tax.

“Any tax on the family home is reprehensible in our view. Tax the wealthy,” she said.

She said the troika which has provided bailout funds to Ireland had said it wanted an expansion of the tax base but had said the means of doing that was a sovereign matter for the Irish Government.

“They cannot stand behind the Troika. They will live to regret it,” she said. Waterford independent Deputy John Halligan said the prospect of council workers calling to people’s door was a “threat”.

“We are asking trade unions to urge workers not to do the work on behalf of the Government, “ he said. Another independent, Mick Wallace from Wexford said the boycott was a huge vote of no confidence in the Government.

Mr Higgins said there would be many thousands present at a really on Saturday.

“They will represent 1.3 million households, which is over 3 million people. The bedrock of the campaign is the national boycott. “That is the issue that is screaming out at the Government and the people. “Everybody wants to ignore it and explain it away by confusion and saying they will pay a the last minute,” he said.

The Government has launched a last-minute blitz in an effort to bolster the number of people registering. Most public offices of local authorities will remain open on Saturday to facilitate payments.