Wednesday 29 January 2020

Last-minute payers worried that charge is just tip of iceberg

Majella O'Sullivan and Elaine Keogh

THE man paying his household charge on Saturday refused to opt for the security question that asked his dog's name.

"They'll probably only come after me for the dog licence then," he said.

He was among the hundreds who turned up at Kerry County Council's offices on Saturday who said they were paying the charge under duress.

A steady stream of last-minute householders arrived, but the five staff members working at the Tralee office said it wasn't noticeably busier than any other day in the past week.

Fiona Costello, from Ardfert, said she originally wasn't going to pay. "What I'm afraid of is what it's going to be next year and the year after," she said.

Castlegregory woman Susan Browne said she had waited until the last minute in the hope "they'd change their mind".

Farmer John Brosnan, from Scartaglen, said he was paying "under protest".

"I think they should be able to manage on the tax they're getting. If I ran my farm the way the country is being run I'd be out of business," he said.

A B&B owner from Ballyheighue, who was paying the charge for his daughter, said he didn't mind the €100 charge, but wondered what it would be in two or three years' time.

"I already pay water charges for the B&B and none of my neighbours do," said Michael O'Connor.

Meanwhile in Dundalk, one woman arrived at Louth County Council offices with her €100 having made a tough decision.

"It was this or paying my car tax so my car will go untaxed, I can't afford to do both. And if I'm stopped (by the gardai) I will tell them that," she said.

There was a handful of people waiting for the council offices to open on Saturday.

A mother of five, who is in arrears with her mortgage and struggling to pay for her daughter's rented accommodation near Galway University, said: "I am paying the charge because I have to. I have had to take the €100 from the money for my ESB and Bord Gais bills and will have to carry those bills forward.

"If I was in a council flat I would not have a mortgage or be paying interest on it. We are stuck in the middle and we cannot save anything. We regret buying a house."

Irish Independent

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