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Payment system called a shambles as councils now say: we don't take cards

THE Household Charge payment system was described as a "shambles" after a new snag emerged.

Local authorities across the country will not be accepting over-the-counter laser or visa card payments for the levy.

If the payment was to be accepted by debit or credit card, the money would have to go through the councils' own accounts, which is something they do not want.

A Dublin City Council spokeswoman explained they were only collecting the money on behalf of the Department of the Environment.

The money has to go through the department's account and not appear on the local authority's balance sheet.

However, homeowners can submit a completed form, including card details, and it will be sent off to the fee headquarters.

A receipt will not be issued by the council. The proof of payment will only come from the centralised office after the form is processed.

It is feared this could put off many people using the method.

"The whole thing is an absolute shambles and gross incompetence," Independent TD Finian McGrath told the Herald. "People are so angry. I get a lot of complaints. People are totally confused and senior citizens are upset," the Dublin North Central TD said.

Mr McGrath said he would not be paying the charge, despite the penalties involved.

"I voted against it in the Dail. In the last week, the way they treated people made me more determined. They have been very insulting and insensitive to the taxpayer."


A department spokesman insisted there were ample methods of payment. Laser can be used online, he pointed out.

The deadline for payment is tomorrow, after which a sliding scale of penalties will be applied.

The amount of people who paid the fee was in the region of 30pc at the last count.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has admitted to flaws in the payment system.

He said "probably you could say we should have far more facilities to pay the €100 household charge".

But Environment Minister Phil Hogan has ruled out any extension to the deadline for payment.