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Legal action flagged over failure to pay household charge

Second round of warning letters to be sent out soon as campaigners say they will not be bullied into paying charge.

 Anti-austerity march in February on O'Connell Street, Dublin.
Anti-austerity march in February on O'Connell Street, Dublin.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE HEAD OF the Local Government Authority has said that homeowners who fail to pay the household charge will have legal action taken against them.

Speaking to RTE’s Morning Ireland LGMA CEO Paul McSweeney said that those who have not paid are currently receiving a second warning letter. Those who remain non-compliant after a third letter would have action taken against them, he suggested.

“Letter number two will be going out now to landlords. Certainly we would expect that after three letters, some action is going to need to be taken,” he said.

To be honest, we’re not really interested in doing that. We want to provide local services. Taking people to court, or prosecuting them, that’s not the business we’re in. We are in the business of supplying local services to communities.

61 per cent of homeowners have paid the €100 charge household charge, but campaigners said they would not be bullied into doing so.

“We’ve anticipated legal action since the beginning and we are fully prepared for that,” Cllr Ruth Coppinger told thejournal.ie.

700,000 people have not registered. The idea that you can take legal action against all those people is just folly. If court cases happen in the autumn, we will represent residents and take up their cases. We will make court cases a huge focal point for mass protest.

A legal fund had been set up, she said, although she could not say how big it was at present.

The majority of people who received warning letters for not paying the charge have so far ignored them. Less than 40,000 of the 103,000 homeowners paid the charge after getting warning letters in the post at the start of last month.

People convicted in court face fines of up to €2,500.

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

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