Just three per cent have paid household charge in Longford

Barely 300 homes across Co Longford have paid the Government’s controversial €100 household charge, just over a week before the March 31 deadline lapses.

Barely 300 homes across Co Longford have paid the Government’s controversial €100 household charge, just over a week before the March 31 deadline lapses.

New figures obtained by the Leader this week, reveal just three per cent out of a projected 12,000 homes liable for the charge have signed up, generating around €3,000 out of an expected €1.2m income.

That means over 1,000 homeowners will have to register for the payment every day until March 31 if full compliance with the new law is to be achieved.

In a statement, Longford County Council said the number of people who have paid could be much higher, with some having paid via credit card, cheque or online.

These figures, managed by the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) since its introduction on January 1, have so far remained undisclosed.

Despite the relatively low percentage of over the counter cash payments having been made at its headquarters in Longford town, local authority bosses insisted interest from homeowners keen to avoid fines and other penalties, has started to gather pace.

“Longford County Council has noted a high level of enquiries in relation to payment of the household charge and an increasing level of payments being made in the last two weeks,” the statement pointed out.

“The household charge bureau is not in a position to supply a breakdown by county. However, the national picture is that 80 per cent of transactions are being carried out online and approx €21m was received up to the end of last week. Locally we are directing people to pay the bureau service either online or by submitting payment through the post.”

But with the deadline for homeowners wishing to pay through direct debit terms in four €25 installments having passed, council chiefs are quietly optimistic of a late rush over the next week.

This, the council maintained would go a long way towards easing the burden on its day to day running costs across a broad range of sectors.

“The charges will go towards paying for essential local services including libraries, local amenities, fire and emergency services, street cleaning, public lighting, planning and development,” added the statement.