Sunday 19 January 2020

Ruairi Quinn insists imposing the €100 tax is unavoidable

Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

THE Government is to proceed with the controversial household charge -- despite a High Court challenge and the fact that just 15pc of households have so far registered.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn insisted yesterday that imposing the €100 tax was unavoidable.

The Government hopes to raise €160m from the levy, which it claims will go towards funding public services.

Householders have until March 31 to register and the Government has warned that those who fail to pay up will be summoned to court.

But it was claimed yesterday that the failure of the Government to publish the household-charge legislation in Irish was denying citizens their "linguistic rights".

Solicitor and Fianna Fail councillor Tom Brabazon told the Irish Independent that the State had a duty to publish the law in both languages.

Mr Brabazon, whose firm is based in Fairview, Dublin, is representing a client who is challenging the legislation.

Boycott

On Wednesday, the High Court granted permission for the challenge on the basis that it was not published in Irish. Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill gave consent for the case to go ahead and it is due to come back before the court in two weeks.

Mr Brabazon said those who wish to read the legislation and take legal advice on it were unable to do so except by referring to the English version.

He made it clear that he was taking the case as a solicitor acting for a client, rather than as a public representative, and that the case was about making sure citizens had their linguistic rights.

However, in a statement the Department of the Environment said the law had been translated into Irish and that the Gaeilge version was scheduled to be printed and published "towards the end of next week".

It also reiterated that people were legally required to register and pay for the charge.

Some 85pc of households have still not registered for the levy. At the Dail yesterday, eight of the nine Independent and United Left Alliance TDs, who have spearheaded the Campaign Against the Household Charge, held a protest, calling for a mass boycott of the tax.

Irish Independent

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