Fewer than one third of homes in Ireland have paid the €100 Household Charge, as of midday today, as TDs campaigning against the charge have urged the public to revolt against it.
The latest figures from the Department of the Environment show that 453,796, or around 28% of the estimated 1.6 million households, have paid the controversial tax.
Today, the group of nine TDs supporting the boycott of the charge insist that the figures are proof that Irish people are saying no to this tax.
Homeowners have until the end of this coming Saturday to pay the €100 charge, after which financial penalties apply on an increasing basis each month.
People paying on June 30 will owe €113, those paying on December 31 will owe €129.
To assist in the collection of the charge, 95 local authority offices are opening across the country on Saturday, where homeowners will be able to pay their €100 charge and avoid penalties.
The Household Charge Bureau will remain open on Saturday from 9am-8.30pm to deal with queries on their LoCall number 1890 357 357.
TDs campaigning against the charge have urged the public that its mass revolt on the Government could make history.
Thousands are expected to flock to the Fine Gael Ard Fheis for a massive protest against the €100 levy.
Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins has urged the public to maintain the boycott.
“In a democracy, the people are not supposed to fear the Government, the Government is supposed to fear the people,” said Mr Higgins.
“This is the first time in the history of this State that such a massive movement of this kind has been crystallised in this way. It’s people power.”
The Dublin West TD said ordinary, hard-working people are being bullied into paying the charge as part of an austerity regime that is wrecking the country.
He also accused the Government of manipulating figures to save face from having such a low registration turn-out.
When the household charge was first introduced, the Government estimated around 1.8 million homes would be eligible but the official figure is 1.65 million.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett called on householders to come out en masse to Fine Gael’s annual conference, which would have ordinarily given the party a chance to make itself look good.
But with thousands at the gates, Taoiseach Enda Kenny may be left red-faced, particularly given the Coalition’s huge majority in the Dáil.
Independent TD Mick Wallace said the low number of people who have so registered is an incredible statement.
“This is a huge statement of no confidence in the Government. It’s unprecedented that so many Irish people would go to so many protests and to the streets,” said Mr Wallace.
He said unjust laws are there to be broken.
“When women in this country were on trains to go to Belfast to pick up contraceptives, they were breaking the law,” he said.
“If they never broke the law in South Africa, there would still be apartheid,” he said.
Earlier, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said he is confident the public will not be fooled by the campaigning TDs.
“I know that there are Deputies opposite who will support no tax, support no charge, support no cut,” said Mr Howlin.
“It’s the Darby O’Gill economics that people won’t be fooled by.
“They want this economy to recover and they know the path to recovery is a hard path, and they won’t be fooled by people pretending that you can fund local government, or anybody else, with magic money.”
Here is a breakdown of how the money has been collected so far:
Direct Debits Bureau: €408,700
Cards Bureau: €1,595,500
Cheques/PO's/bank drafts bureau: €5,409,500
Cards online: €34,155,500
Direct Debits Online: €3,810,400
Processed Online 84%
Processed by Bureau 16%