Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has called on the Minister for Environment to move quickly to reassure the public about an apparent loophole in his Household Charge legislation. It follows confirmation from Minister Hogan to Deputy Troy that ‘the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 provides for a number of exemptions including residential property owned by a Minister of the Government.’
Deputy Troy said: “The rushed nature of the process surrounding this new charge has caused significant confusion. The lack of clarity in this language is another clear example of the Government’s failure to manage this process properly. Minister Hogan has confirmed to me in reply to a Parliamentary Question that residential property owned by a Minister, a housing authority or the HSE is exempt from the €100 charge.
“This is causing unnecessary confusion with some members of the public. The legislation was of course intended to exempt property owned by a Government Department and thus held in a Minister’s name, not a Minister’s own personal property. However, the langauge being used by Minister Hogan is not as clear as it should be. We cannot have a situation where an already frustrated public is under the impression that Ministers are not obligated to pay this charge.
“With just 11 days left for the public to pay the charge this must be addressed quickly. Minister Hogan should publicly acknowledge that the Government has completely mishandled the implementation of this charge, extend the deadline by which people can pay and allow for greater exemptions including those in negative equity, those in receipt of medical cards and those on the State pension,” concluded Deputy Troy.