Ministers admit to 'mistakes' in Govt handling of household charge

Ministers admit to 'mistakes' in Govt handling of household charge

Two junior ministers today admitted that the collection of the €100 household charge has been badly handled by the Government, but the coalition is still insisting that the levy will be collected in full.

Fianna Fáil is meanwhile accusing the Government of making a "complete dog's dinner" of the tax.

The party said the deadline for payment of this Saturday must be extended, as the current target of collecting the €100 fee from 1.6 million eligible homes will be impossible to meet.

Junior Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton earlier tpday admitted that clear mistakes have been made in the Government's handling of the issue.

Junior Minister Brian Hayes also said the Government must admit to its errors.

Minister Hayes, who has responsibility for the Office of Public Works, said any mistakes do not take away from the fact that the country needs the money the charge will generate.

"I've watched Fianna Fáil in office for the past 15-odd years, and I listened to their arrogance over that period of time," he said.

"If the Government gets things wrong it should put up its hand and say it got things wrong.

"Certainly there were things with this campaign that could have been done differently," he added.

"We've got to learn the mistakes from that.

"The bottom line is this, however - and all the shouting and roaring about 50% or 40% paying is not going to disguise the fact that we have a big black hole in our public finances that has got to be fixed."

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