Increase in numbers registering for household charge

The number of registrations for the household charge has jumped by 25% in the past week.

The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), which is responsible for collecting the €100 charge said the surge predicted in the run-up to the payment deadline is underway.

LGMA Chief Executive Paul McSweeney said they are confident their system will be able to cope with a last-minute rush.

Mr McSweeney has revealed that some members of staff on their helpline have been the target of abuse from people calling about the charge - but he says those callers will get "short shrift".

And he says he can understand why many people will wait until closer to the deadline to pay.

"Most people are looking at this as 'another bill I've got to pay, I'm going to pay and I'll get around to it'," he said.

"We've seen this pattern before with the Non-Principal Private Residence Charge, and even the Revenue Commissioners would see this in terms of income tax returns.

"It's a standard pattern."

Meanwhile Chambers Ireland has said that TDs calling for a boycott of the charge are "highly irresponsible".

“The idea that elected political representatives are actively encouraging citizens to break the law is deeply disappointing," said Chambers Ireland Deputy Chief Executive Seán Murphy.

"Given the challenges still to be faced in balancing the books of our local and national government systems, it is highly irresponsible for elected political representatives to be campaigning against taxes and charges that are being introduced by a Government with a democratic mandate."

A group of nine TDs who have spearheaded the Campaign Against the Household Charge held a protest at the Dáil yesterday.

United Left Alliance members Clare Daly, Joan Collins, Joe Higgins, Richard Boyd-Barrett and Seamus Healy, and Independent TDs Mick Wallace, Luke Flanagan, Thomas Pringle and John Halligan were in attendance.

They called for a mass boycott of the tax and appealed to citizens to stand together in solidarity against the Government.

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