Homeowners who have not paid the household charge will be pursued by the courts ‘within months’, according to the State body assigned to collect the €100 charge.
The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) says it will send out three warning letters before initiating legal proceedings. LGMA CEO Paul McSweeney said today that the agency would do so reluctantly, and that the second warning letters were currently being sent out to non-compliant householders. He added that 61% of households had paid the charge.
Mr McSweeney’s comments arise as local authorities around the country withhold grants to community-run sports clubs, disabled people and disadvantaged area schemes because of cuts to their budgets in the third quarter. Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said last month that he was ‘withholding’ parts of local authority funding — including millions for Cork City and County Councils — until compliance with the household charge was upped significantly. Cork County Council’s funding for June to September is down €1.7m, while Cork City Council is down by €421,325.
County Manager Martin Riordan appealed to owners of residential properties to register and pay the Household Charge as soon as possible so that services can be maintained’.
“This money is critical to fund essential local services like water, roads, open spaces and leisure amenities, libraries, planning and development, fire and emergency services – all facilities that benefit everyone in the community.”
Campaigners against the household tax have said that they will provide legal advice and support for anyone taken to court for non-payment. Spokesperson for the campaign in Cork, Cllr Mick Barry, said the comments by the LGMA were an attempt to “bully people into paying the household tax by threatening legal action.”