Final household charge tally exceeds 800k

Final figures show that a total of 805,569 properties had registered to pay the €100 household charge by the payment deadline of midnight last night.

This figure consisted 621,717 properties registered online and processed by the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), some 89,000 postal applications awaiting processing and 12,677 properties registered for a waiver.

Some 1.6m households are were liable to pay the controversial charge, with financial penalties now accruing for those who have not.

The LGMA said however that it was additionally expecting to receive a large number of applications early next week which were posted yesterday and Friday, and a definitive final figure of properties registered by the deadline would not be available for some days.

Socialist TD Joe Higgins contested the figure of 1.6m eligible households and said it was clear that people have resolved to keep opposing the tax.

“There is a major revolt against the home tax,” Deputy Higgins said.

“That will continue and will intensify.

“No amount of media distortion on behalf of the Government will change the determination of a huge cohort of working people, pensioners and social welfare recipients to fight until this regressive tax is withdrawn.”

A large crowd gathered in Dublin yesterday to protest against the tax.

The demonstration – which independent estimates said numbered around 5,00o people but which organisers claimed to be double that figure – massed outside Dublin’s Convention Centre yesterday afternoon ahead of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s keynote address to the Fine Gael Ard Fheis which was taking place inside.

Delivering his address last night the Taoiseach Enda Kenny warned his party had no cause to celebrate while hard-pressed families struggle.

“As we gather at this Ard Fheis, our purpose cannot be one of celebration,” said Mr Kenny.

“We will not celebrate until Ireland has reason to celebrate. Tonight, unemployment remains too high. Too many families are struggling to make ends meet. Too many worry about losing their homes. Too many of our children are still moving away.”

Earlier, Mr Kenny said he was heartened by those who had already paid the levy, which he described as the law of the land.

Nine TDs from the Technical Group had previously warned the Government would have a mass revolt of people power on its hands as a result of the levy.

In his speech, Mr Kenny acknowledged the hardship many are enduring, but insisted stabilising Ireland’s economy was the Government’s priority.

This was Mr Kenny’s first Ard Fheis as Taoiseach and the party’s first one in 16 years since it was last in Government.

“I know that for many people, the measures we have had to take have been painful,” he went on.

“But we are doing the best we can to protect the most vulnerable.”

Meanwhile, the media were up in arms during part of the Ard Fheis when Convention Centre staff closed window blinds to block their view of the anti-household charge protesters outside.

It is believed gardaí advised the blinds be shut for fear of people in the Convention Centre provoking those outside.

But a Garda spokesman refused to comment, saying if officers had ordered for the blinds to be shut, it would have been an operational matter.

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