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1994: Homeowners told they could win cars and holidays if they paid their water charges

Home-owners in South Dublin were entered into a prize draw if they paid in full and on time.

Image: prize car via Shutterstock

IT’S LOOKING INCREASINGLY likely that coaxing many homeowners to pay water charges isn’t going to be an easy task for Government.

The same situation was faced by the local authorities in Dublin 20 years ago.

While the common response eventually became to shut off the water supplies of those who didn’t pay, the emphasis in the early days was very much on the carrot rather than the stick.

This came in the form of car and holiday giveaways.

A report from The Irish Times in November, 1994, details one such prize draw in South Dublin.

Homeowners would be entered into it, for free, if they paid the £70 charges in full and on time.

The prizes on offer were:

  • Two cars (an Opel Astra or Corsa)
  • Three trips to watch the Republic of Ireland soccer team play in the European Championship
  • Two holidays
  • Three £500 shopping vouchers for The Square, Tallaght.

The council reported a ‘pleasing’ reaction to the prize scheme, and that 66% of income had been raised by the time it was complete.

This wasn’t an isolated attempt. Other councils took a similar approach.

On the opposite side of the debate, the Federation of Dublin Anti-Water Charges claimed that 50% of house holders had boycotted the charge at the time.

First published 18.30pm, 5 November

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About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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