ENVIRONMENT MINISTER Phil Hogan has moved to defend the State against a legal challenge to the household charge laws by producing Irish-language equivalents of the legislation.
The High Court granted leave two weeks ago for a challenge to the legislation on the basis it had not been published in Irish, the official language of the country.
This presented a difficulty because citizens who may be prosecuted for their failure to pay the charge, and who wished to have court proceedings brought against them in Irish, would not be able to do so.
At that point, the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 was available only in English, while the list of unfinished ‘ghost’ housing estates which are exempt from the charge was not available in Irish – which presented difficulties for addresses in Gaeltacht areas.
Last night it emerged that Hogan had signed an amended version of household charge legislation into law – and copies of the legislation obtained by TheJournal.ie today indicate that the legal loophole has now been closed.
The amended legislation includes Irish language names for 25 estates which lie within Gaeltacht areas, and repairs two other typographical errors in the original regulations.
An Irish-language version of the Act creating the charge has also been produced and made available on the Oireachtas website.
The moves mean that a challenge to the legislation is unlikely to be upheld.