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New broadcasting charge delay until after water tax bills

Homeowners will have some time to recover from the water charges before the broadcasting charge is introduced, the Herald can reveal.

The charge was due to be introduced next January, but this date has been pushed back in order to avoid a clash with the arrival of the first water charge bills through letterboxes at the same time.

The controversial charge is to replace the highly-inefficient TV licence, which one in five people fail to pay.

The fee, which is not expected to exceed the current licence fee of €160, is to be levied on all households irrespective of whether there is a TV present.

A senior government source said they were reviewing the date of introduction.

"Yes, there is a political consideration to when the broadcasting charge will come in," they said.

It has emerged that the Revenue Commissioners are being considered as collection agents of the new charge when it is finally introduced, given their success in collecting the Property Tax.


Former Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte, who originally announced the charge, said: "Revenue is a possibility in terms of collection. The efficacy of collection was central to consideration, no doubt about it."

Acknowledging the timing issues over the introduction of the charge, Mr Rabbitte said: "The last thing the citizens of Ireland want is another charge.

"And you are wasting your breath trying to explain this is not a new charge and it would not exceed the charge of the TV licence. It hasn't prevented the usual outcry."

New Communications Minister Alex White's department has confirmed the charge will not come in on January 1.

"The Public Service Broadcasting Charge will be considered by Minister White over the summer months, and it is unlikely that a final decision on the charge will be completed in time for introduction in January 2015," a representative said.

"Short-term measures such as the proposed legislation on TV licence evaders are being introduced in the interim."