Saturday 25 January 2020

Snatching victory from defeat

With over 888,000 households, more than 56pc of the total, now having registered for the household charge, it is clear that early reports that most households would not register for the charge have proved to be wide of the mark.

Ever since the Government first announced plans to introduce the household charge in last December's Budget, its opponents have mounted a campaign to dissuade people from registering.

Until very late in the day, with only a fifth of all households having registered two weeks before the March 31 deadline, it looked as if they were going to succeed.

However, we Irish are at heart a law-abiding people. Even when we don't like a law most of us will obey it. So it has proved with the household charge. As the March 31 deadline approached more and more householders, whatever their objections, registered for the household charge.

As of 4pm on Thursday the number of householders who had registered had climbed to over 888,000, a majority of the estimated 1.57 million households in the country.

More householders are likely to register in the coming weeks.

The Government, despite the botched preparations for the household charge, seems to have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Even so, important lessons need to be learned from this episode.

With the Government committed to introducing a fully fledged property tax in next December's Budget it is vital that, unlike what happened with the household charge, the necessary preparations are made well in advance.

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