Only 45% of houses pay charge

Carolyn Farrar

Reporter:

Carolyn Farrar

Donegal County Council is awaiting completion of a national plan for the process of pursuing people who have not yet paid the household charge, a council spokesperson said yesterday.

Donegal County Council is awaiting completion of a national plan for the process of pursuing people who have not yet paid the household charge, a council spokesperson said yesterday.

In a statement, council also confirmed that about 45 per cent of Donegal households liable to pay the household charge have registered with the Local Government Management Agency. The council said 29,013 properties have been registered with the Local Government Management Agency to pay the charge, with an additional 317 households waiting to be updated to the system.

Donegal had one of the highest levels of nonpayment in the country by the March 31st deadline.

Last week Minister Phil Hogan, TD, said local authorities would be responsible for pursuing people who had not paid the charge. However, a spokesperson for Donegal Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay urged the public to disregard the minister’s comments.

“We’re urging people to hold firm,” said spokesperson Francis McCafferty. He pointed out that Donegal county councillors passed a motion calling on council officials not to use information from utility companies or social welfare data to pursue people who had not paid the charge. The motion, tabled by Sinn Féin Cllr. Jack Murray, was passed in April with support from Sinn Féin, Labour and Fianna Fáil.

County Manager Seamus Neely said at that meeting that he was obliged by law to pursue money that is owed to the council. He said the motion sought to take a decision on something that was an executive function of council.

In yesterday’s statement the council acknowledged all those who have paid the charge and urged all others to pay as soon as possible. The council said anyone who has not paid the charge now owes €113, including €100 for the charge and €13 in late payment charges, charges that will rise each month.

“A national plan is in the final stage of development to being the process of pursuing those who have not yet paid the household charge,” the council statement said.