Minister of State Roisín Shortall has said "lessons need to be learned" from the experience of introducing the Household Charge.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, she said it was the first time a charge such as this had been tried and it "was far from ideal as a system and far from ideal how it was handled".

Ms Shortall dismissed suggestions it had been a "complete disaster", saying it had proved "problematic".

It is estimated that around half of all eligible households have paid the charge and Ms Shortall said those yet to do so needed to be "facilitated and encouraged to pay".

As of this afternoon a total of 829,312 people had registered to pay the charge, including waiver applicants. That is an increase of 25,000 on Saturday's figure.

628,460 people have paid online and 106,000 have paid by post.

There were 12,677 waiver applications, and 82,175 had paid with their local authority.

However, no campaigners continue to dispute a figure of 1.6m households being eligible, claiming it is closer to 1.8m.

By their calculation, they say that less than half have paid and insist that it has failed.

Household Charge 'reward' for councils criticised

A member of the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes has said that rewarding councils who “pull out all the stops” to collect the Household Charge would create massive inequality between wealthy and poorer council areas.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan had suggested the strategy as a way of incentivising councils to seek payment of the charge.

Socialist Party Cllr Ruth Coppinger said such a scheme would see boroughs with more wealthy residents given more Government funding, while less well-off districts would be penalised.

The councillor claimed this would be a recipe for further disadvantaging areas with higher unemployment and lower incomes.

Officials have warned that penalties for non-payment of the household charge begin from today, with increases every month unless the €100 charge is paid.

Elsewhere, Sinn Féin councillors walked out of a Dublin City Council meeting tonight after their emergency motion condemning the charge was ruled out of order.

Lord Mayor Andrew Montague (Labour) said the motion was not an emergency and accused Sinn Féin of trying to jump the queue to get its motion debated.

The five Sinn Féin councillors who had signed the motion protested and then walked out of the meeting.

Mr Montague said the Sinn Féin members were looking for attention.

A separate emergency motion from People Before Profit councillor Brid Smith to stop council employees being used to collect the charge was also ruled out of order.

City Manager John Tierney said councillors could not direct staff as this was the responsibility of the council executive.