Household charge collection shambles

MYLES BUCHANAN

Published 24/10/2012 | 11:14

WICKLOW COUNTY COUNCIL has been accused of bungling efforts to collect outstanding Household Charge monies by sending letters out to people who had already paid or have been long deceased.

Over 23,000 letters have been sent out to householders but the lack of a screening process means people who have already paid the charge have received reminder letters in recent weeks.

Cllr. Jimmy O'Shaughnessy has described the debacle as 'another blunder.'

'It's scandalous. Many of these letters were sent to people who had already paid the household charge. Others were sent to two and four members of the same family who don't have their own properties. But the most despicable act is the fact that letters were sent out to some family members who had passed away some years ago.

'I understand some families got letters for their fathers and mothers who had died 10 to 15, years ago. This is terribly upsetting for those families. The whole thing has been a big blunder, starting with Minister Hogan and now also involving high paid officials in Local Government.'

Postage alone spent on sending out the reminders has cost Wicklow County Council €14,000. The letters also ask those who have already paid the charge to contact a lo-call number so the householder can be added to the data base.

'I have never seen such anger out there. Everytime you step outside as a councillor you are getting it in the neck. We are the front line target but management really have made a hames of things. I dread to think what will happen when the council start issuing legal proceedings. Will people who have already paid the charge have to turn up in court as well?'

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