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Householders ‘continuing to pay charge in significant numbers’, says agency head

LGMA chief executive Paul McSweeney says the household charge is essential, as payments top the €100 million mark.

Environment minister Phil Hogan examines bags of household charge payment forms ahead of the March 31 deadline.
Environment minister Phil Hogan examines bags of household charge payment forms ahead of the March 31 deadline.
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE HEAD of the agency responsible for collecting Household Charge payments has said the public have continued to pay the charge in ‘significant numbers’.

The comments came as the Local Government Management Agency said the total amount collected through payments of the Household Charge this year had exceeded €100 million.

990,459 households have paid the €100 charge so far, though households which paid up after the original March 31 deadline were also hit with interest and penalties, meaning the average payment was over €100.

“Today’s figures show that householders are continuing to pay the Household Charge in significant numbers”, Paul McSweeney, the LGMA chief executive, insisting: “Penalties and interest will continue to accrue for those who have not yet paid the charge”.

Local authorities will use the proceeds of the Household Charge to maintain essential local services.

This money is critical to fund essential local services like public parks; libraries; open spaces and leisure amenities; planning and development; fire and emergency services; maintenance and cleaning of streets and street lighting – all facilities that benefit everyone in the community.

McSweeney said the LGMA had set up a project group with the Private Residential Tenancies Board, the Property Registration Authority, the Revenue Commissioners, the ESB, the Department of Social Protection and other groups to identify houses which had not yet paid.

He added that while local authorities had the power to bring legal proceedings over any offence, they were keen to communicate in writing with any non-paying households first to give them an opportunity to pay.

“We are nearing completion of our second data set match, and we anticipate that the results of this data set analyses will allow local authorities to send out their second batch of reminder letters next month”, he said.

Households paying the charge in August would be charged €5 interest and a €10 late payment penalty, making a total of €115.

Nenagh councillor Seamie Morris, of Sinn Féin, suggested that sharing data with the likes of the ESB would not lead to a batch of reminder being issued – predicting: “They’d have done it by now if they could do it”.

“People are looking at this thinking, ‘Why am I paying this, I’m not getting anything extra for this’. [...] I’d be delighted, the day we can collect local taxes and use them for local services.

Morris, himself a postman, said:

I can assure you that there’s been no major mail shot for people who haven’t paid the household charge.

Read: Household charge: Second batch of reminder letters set to be issued

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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