By Juno McEnroe
Irish Examiner
March 23, 2012

A desperate last-minute information blitz by the Government has failed to persuade homeowners to pay the household charge.

Despite a nationwide pamphlet distribution campaign to homes which began yesterday, only a few extra thousand homeowners had registered for the charge by last night.

The leaflet drop is the second country-wide campaign to encourage homeowners to pay up.

But despite the move which began on Wednesday, only about 13,000 more homeowners had signed up to the levy by last night following the beginning of the nationwide leaflet drop.

The Department of Environment says the leaflet drop will not be complete until close to the payment deadline of Mar 31.

Opposition continues to mount against the €100 payment, with TDs set to meet with protestors this weekend.

Socialist Party leader Joe Higgins said the release of the Mahon Tribunal report yesterday on corrupt planning and payments to politicians would increase people’s anger against the charge.

He told the Dáil that the damning report would remind people about the “enormous greed and corruption of a tiny elite who plundered” society and this would “intensify the boycott against the household tax”.

Mr Higgins also claimed there was a “herd of elephants stampeding from Malin Head to Mizen Head” and that there was a “massive revolt” against the levy.

A national protest rally will be held in the National Stadium in Dublin tomorrow and trade unions are also backing opposition to the charge.

Figures last night show that 313,341 properties have now been registered for the charge, only about 13,000 extra in 24 hours, and that €31.3m has been collected in revenue. However, this is still far short of the estimated 1.6m homeowner payments the Government expects and the €160m it hopes to collect.

It has also emerged that it may be some months after the Mar 31 deadline before a complete database is available that shows the Government where all homes are for the proposed property tax, which will take over from the household charge.

The Department of Environment said last night that a comprehensive database which cross checked all addresses would not be ready for at least three months.

The spokeswoman insisted that non-payers of the charge could be pursued in April despite the software for the database not being fully in place by then.