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"57 black sacks" of household charge payments already received - Hogan

Minister Phil Hogan said many envelopes are sitting in Government offices waiting to be opened.

Phil Hogan outside Government Buildings
Phil Hogan outside Government Buildings
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE DEPARTMENT OF the Environment has already received so many household charge payments by post that staff have not had time to open them all, Minister Phil Hogan has said.

He said the cheques and money orders were sitting in “57 black sacks” waiting to be processed.

The Government expects a last-minute rush before Saturday’s deadline for the payment, Hogan said. It emerged yesterday that three quarters of homes are yet to pay the charge.

“In true Irish political tradition, they won’t pay until they have to pay,” he said. “And I respect that.”

But he insisted that a large number of people have already made the payment, saying:

There are 57 black sacks of envelopes that have arrived in the last couple of days.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Hogan said 83 per cent of payments so far had been made online. But he said the option for postal payment meant that even those without internet access are not put out.

“If people are able to write on an envelope, they’re able to pay the household charge,” he said.

However, he acknowledged that the flat tax of €100 was not equitable. “It’s not exactly fair when you have a flat rate tax. No flat rate tax is fair.”

The Government has said repeatedly that it intends to replace the household charge with a means-tested property tax in 2013 or 2014.

More: Gilmore admits ‘difficulties’ allowing household charge payment>

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Michael Freeman

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