Fee now payable at post offices

Environment Minister Phil Hogan has caved in to demands to allow people pay the €100 household tax at post offices.

The move comes amid growing concern among backbench TDs that the issue has been badly handled and poorly communicated.

Just 250,000, or 15% of the country’s 1.6m households have registered to pay the charge as the Mar 31 deadline looms.

From Tuesday, registration forms will be available in all post offices where people will be able to pay by postal order.

It followed criticism of how the issue was handled, with Waterford Fine Gael TD John Deasy, describing it as “a shambles”. There was a “lack of preparation and planning”, he said.

Limerick Fine Gael TD, Kieran O’Donnell, said the website to pay the charge was “cumbersome” and slow. “People, in the main, want to pay the household charge but it makes it awkward for them,” he said.

Representations had been made to Mr Hogan from senior Labour Party TD Ciarán Lynch, who is also chairman of the Oireachtas environment committee, to make the payment available in post offices.

“With only two weeks to go until the payment deadline, even more needs to be done and it is important that the awareness campaign is stepped-up even further by the department,” said Mr Lynch.

Meanwhile, the department has been in contact with Citipost, the company contracted to distribute information leaflets on the charge, because of what it said was “anecdotal evidence” that not all homes had received them.

However, it dismissed claims that hundreds of thousands of homes have still not received the information and said they will be delivered to every home in the country.

The secretary general of the department, Geraldine Tallon, on Thursday told the Dáil Public Accounts Committee that she was “concerned” about the leaflet distribution.

“I would have to acknowledge that I haven’t received it either at this stage,” she said.

Criticism over how the matter is being handled is seen as an embarrassment for Mr Hogan, who was recently forced into a U-turn on septic tank registration charges.


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