Less than 2% of Limerick householders have paid controversial household charge

Gerard Fitzgibbon an

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon an

ONLY one per cent of County Limerick’s 50,000 residents have so far paid the controversial €100 household charge, Limerick County Council has confirmed.

ONLY one per cent of County Limerick’s 50,000 residents have so far paid the controversial €100 household charge, Limerick County Council has confirmed.

A total of 543 people have paid the €100 charge in cash at one of the County Council’s offices as of this Wednesday morning.

The council’s acting head of finance, Sean Coughlan, said that while several more are understood to have paid via credit card, cheque or online, exact figures of how many Limerick people have made the payment since it was introduced on January 1 have not yet been provided by the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), which is managing the charge.

In spite of large scale protests on a local and national level against the €100 charge, Mr Coughlan said that the amount of householders coming forward and declaring their liability under the scheme is increasing every day.

“We’re seeing a lot more people coming in now. We can only count what’s being paid over on the cash desk. People coming in with cheques are asked to make them payable to the LGMA, and people looking to pay by credit card fill out a form and it’s sent off to the LGMA. We assume that the majority of people are paying on line”.

As of this Tuesday, a total of 196,257 people nationally have come forward and paid the household charge. In Limerick City, a total of 536 out of 27,000 householders have so far paid by either cash or cheque.

Figures on the amount of people in the county who have so far paid the charge in cash were first published last Friday at a Limerick County Council meeting, following a request from Leas Cathaoirleach Cllr Damien Riedy.

In a separate question, Cllr Kevin Sheahan asked if the household charge would “generate additional financial resources” for the council this year, and if the council’s funding would be adversely affected if not all of the county’s 50,000 households do not pay.

Mr Coughlan said that proceeds from the household charge does not go directly to local councils, but is instead paid into the “national pot” of the Local Government Fund.

Mr Coughlan added that since Limerick County Council’s grant allocation from this fund has already been reduced by €2 million – 9.5 per cent – it is unlikely that the full proceeds from household charges levied in county Limerick will be paid back to the council.

The council estimate that 50,000 Limerick households are liable to pay the charge, which would generate €5m.