Belfast Telegraph

Gilmore denies charge 'bully' claim

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has been forced to deny accusations of bully-boy tactics over the introduction of the household charge.

As the March 31 deadline for homeowners to register for the 100 euro levy approaches, he also shrugged off warnings of a mass revolt and insisted the charge and cut-off date will remain in place.

"I'm not bullying anybody, I'm not threatening anybody," said Mr Gilmore.

"I'm simply stating what is a fact. The fact is the Government introduced a household charge of 100 euro. We don't think that it serves any value for anybody to be bullying or threatening."

The Government has warned that householders who fail to pay the charge on time could face fines, late payment penalties and court action.

About three-quarters of householders have not yet registered for the charge despite the looming deadline.

Latest figures from the Department of the Environment have recorded another 31,754 households registered and been processed since 4pm, on Monday taking the total to 395,232.

Some 1.6 million homes are eligible and to date only 39.5 million euro has been raised.

Thousands flocked to the National Stadium on Saturday in protest against the charge while a huge rally is expected to be staged at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in Dublin this weekend.

The Government hopes to raise 1.6 billion euro, which will fund public services including parks, pathways and libraries.

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