Council offices to open Saturday for 11th-hour payments

Carolyn Farrar

Reporter:

Carolyn Farrar

Donegal local authority offices will be open on Saturday for last-minute payments of the controversial €100 household charge in advance of the March 31st deadline.

Donegal local authority offices will be open on Saturday for last-minute payments of the controversial €100 household charge in advance of the March 31st deadline.

Phil Hogan, TD, minister for the environment, this week called on town and county councils to open on Saturday, to give the public another opportunity to register for and pay the charge before the deadline.

The department reported a substantial increase in registration for the charge in recent days, but media reports yesterday said that just 400,000 households had paid, out of 1.6 million households that are eligible.

Representatives of the Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay campaign in Donegal are planning to picket in front of the council’s public service centre in Dungloe on Saturday at 11am.

Calling resistance to the charge, “the biggest act of civil disobedience since the foundation of the state”, Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay Donegal committee member Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig said the group was protesting the council’s decision “to open on a Saturday in a last bid to try to convince people to pay this unjust tax”.

Garry Martin, the council’s director of finance, repeated his call on Highland Radio yesterday for Donegal people to pay the charge in advance of the deadline.

“We certainly encourage everyone who still has to pay to make every effort to do so before the end of this week, to ensure that they don’t fall foul of penalties and interest,” Mr. Martin said. He also urged people to pay the charge, “to ensure that moneys collected can go to the services we provide on a daily basis throughout the county.”

The council’s public services centres in Letterkenny, Milford, Carndonagh, Dungloe and Donegal Town; County House in Lifford and town council offices in Buncrana and Bundoran will be open from 9 am to 4.30 pm on Saturday.

Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay protesters said that the campaign will extend beyond March 31st.

Donegal County Council have confirmed no-one has been authorised to collect the household charge on their behalf. Householders should contact An Garda Siochana if they have any concerns about callers to their homes.