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Government ministers' homes not exempt from household charge

An answer to a parliamentary question posed to Environment Minister Phil Hogan raised concerns that ministers’ homes are exempt from the household charge – but the government says this is not the case.

Fine Gael Minister for the Environnment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan
Fine Gael Minister for the Environnment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

PERSONAL PROPERTIES OWNED by Government Ministers are not exempt from the household charge.

An answer to parliamentary questions posed to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, was the subject of discussion online this week after it appeared to suggest that homes belonging to ministers of the government are exempt from the controversial charge.

The Government’s Press Office sent out a clarification today to reiterate that personal properties owned by ministers are not exempt from the household charge.

“There is some talk today on the internet that Ministers are exempt from the household charge. This is not the case,” said a government spokesperson.

The rumours circulated as a result of two questions posed to Hogan. The first was from Deputy Peter Mathews, who asked if the Minister would consider making a specific named group exempt from the charge.

The second was from Deputy Robert Troy, who asked the Minister if he would allow any exemptions to the household charge for persons who are finding it difficult to pay the standard €100.

In reply, Minister Hogan stated that the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 provides for a number of exemptions and waivers from payment of the household charge.

The exemptions from payment of the household charge are:

  • Residential properties that are part of the trading stock of a business and have not been sold or been the source of any income since construction,
  • Residential property owned by a Minister of the Government, a housing authority or the Health Service Executive,
  • Voluntary and co-operative housing,
  • Residential property subject to commercial rates and wholly used as a dwelling,
  • Residential property owned by certain charities or discretionary trusts, and
  • Residential property which an owner has vacated due to long-term mental or physical infirmity (e.g. elderly person that has moved into a nursing home).

He further stated that there are no exemptions or waivers in the legislation in respect of owners of residential property who are in receipt of social welfare payments other than that concerning mortgage interest supplement as set out above.

The ‘residential property owned by a Minister of the Government, a housing authority or the Health Service Executive’ refers to properties owned by Government Departments. An example being housing in an army barracks, which is owned by the Minister for Defence. It does not refer to personal properties owned by ministers.

This means that homes belonging to government ministers are not exempt to the household charge.

Read: People using household charge “to express their anger”, says Wallace>

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