790,000 have paid or registered for Household Charge

Monday 02 April 2012 11.35
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1.6 million households are liable for the €100 Household Charge
1.6 million households are liable for the €100 Household Charge
Thousands of people protested against the Household Charge today
Thousands of people protested against the Household Charge today

The Local Government Management Agency says that 790,000 householders have now paid or registered for the Household Charge.

That figure includes 80,000 who paid at local authority offices around the country.

Householders have until midnight tonight to do so. After that deadline penalties and interest will be added to the charge.

1.6 million households are liable for the €100 charge.

Thousands of people who oppose the €100 Household Charge gathered for a protest demonstration near the Convention Centre in central Dublin where Fine Gael is holding its Ard Fheis.

Gardai estimated the number of protesters to be 5,000. Protest organisers put the figure at 10,000.

Two protesters attempted to push their way through a security cordon but were pushed back by gardai.

People inside the Convention Centre have been told to move away from windows to avoid "antagonising the crowds".

A near riot broke out during the protests when a Fine Gael delegate who resembled Phil Hogan tried to pass through the crowd.

The man was engulfed by angry protesters and jostled before gardai came to his rescue.

As they attempted to escort him from the area they were surrounded by screaming protesters, some of whom shouted “shame on you Hogan.”

The man was visibly shaken as he was put into a Garda squad car and driven away at speed.

Earlier a number of Fine Gael delegates who ventured through the crowd were also subject to verbal abuse.

In his opening address to the Fine Gael Ard Fheis last night, Enda Kenny appealed to people to pay the charge.

Also speaking last night, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said that he thought Sinn Fein and the promised protesters should “get a life”.

In response, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams accused the Government of being “in denial” about public opinion.

"Justice Minister Alan Shatter is telling us to get a life. He is obviously in denial about the kind of life this Government has imposed on the citizens struggling with austerity.

"Fine Gael and Labour are in denial about the social consequences of their Government's policies.”

Mr Adams added: "The unemployed, the families whose loved ones have emigrated, the households in mortgage distress, those on hospitals trolleys and low and middle income households struggling to pay increasing bills and make ends meet will not be celebrating the Fine Gael Ard Fheis."

Socialist Party Councillor Ruth Coppinger said Mr Shatter’s remarks were “typical of the arrogance displayed by this Government”.

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