Household Charge Defeated In Court

Household Charge Defeated In Court

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By Admin D

Household Charge Challenge

Solicitors for Mayo County Council (M.C.C.) today (5/3/15) withdrew charges for non-payment of the 2012 Household Charge against Peter Anthony Keegan, the first man to be charged with the “offence”.

Today’s siting of the Castlebar Circuit Court saw Peter Keegan summonsed by M.C.C. to appear before Judge Mary Devins, to face charges in relation to non payment of the Household Charge.

These charges have seen Peter attending Court many times over the last 2 years, arguing and counterclaiming that the Household Charge is unenforceable due to its unconstitutional nature.

Mr Keegan has challenged the Council and their legal team to prove to the court that the Charge applied to him and to disprove his claims of unconstitutionality, and after two years attending court on multiple occasions the case is finally over.

This morning solicitor Ward McEllin, acting for Mayo County Council (plaintiff), withdrew all charges on his client’s behalf before the case could be heard. Peter Keegan walked out of Castlebar Court, a happy man, accompanied by his family and supporters

McEllin Solicitors stated it was now a matter for Revenue to pursue. However, Revenue likewise would have to succeed where M.C.C. failed, in proving the Charge was constitutional.

Mr Keegan is now protected by the Law, in that he has shown the household charge to be unenforceable, and this has been acknowledged by Judge Devins and the Court Clerk with the withdrawal of charges.

Comment

The imposition of Local Property Tax, and its forerunner the Household Charge, on a primary residence has long been something DDI has stood against, noting that it was only introduced to fill the gap left when the Department of the Environment vastly reduced Local Government funding to pay off the bondholders and the subsequent bailout costs.

This test case is a potentially huge victory for the people against the government, so you would have thought the media would be all over this, but as yet, despite being informed, they have not covered the story.

As M.C.C. failed to prove the constitutionality of this Household Charge, or prove that it applied to Mr Keegan, this opens the possibility that everyone who paid the charge, generally under duress, should be entitled to a refund of their €100 plus penalties if applied.

Furthermore, those who were bullied, harassed, threatened or frightened into paying the charge may consider seeking redress for damages. We trust also that Mr Keegan will be applying for costs for his 2 years of work and worry.

The group behind the victory may now consider looking at the Local Property Tax with a view to testing its constitutionality in the near future.

Our core group at DDI have always pushed for legal solutions for these injustices, as we do in the water charges and the repossession scandals.

We recall the collapse of the many CAHWT groups after it was taken over by far left political groupings who later abandoned the cause. Sadly their sizable fund collected for a legal challenge ended up wasted on other activities and the attempted politicising of the cause.

So today’s court victory is a victory for the ordinary people who pursued this when others abandoned ship when it was no longer beneficial to them. It highlights that some political groups intentions, methods and agendas can be counter productive to the original worthy cause.

So, congratulations to all involved for showing people that they are not helpless against the State, and that they can use the courts to enforce what is right if they use them correctly.

Addendum Note

This is a win for Peter but only a step for others. It is not a legal precedent as such because there was no order by the judge as the case was withdrawn. Neither does it prove the Charge is unconstitutional because only the Supreme Court can make that judgement.

What it is is an indication that the State may be worried they do not have a strong enough case should it be appealed as far as the Supreme Court, and do not want to take the risk. Their hope being this will not be reported and will just vanish without the general public getting to hear about it. Well they know now so we’ll see who makes the next move.

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2 Comments

  • Posted August 2, 2015

    Barbara Doyle

    We were selling our house in 2013 , and our solicitor could not close the sale until the household charge and property tax was paid. We had no option but to pay. They held us to ransom. This is dictatorship. We were so annoyed, and as it turned out the sale fell through. I now have household and property tax bills here and have no intention of paying. My view is household and property tax surely must cover all services connected to my house and property as it says.

  • Posted August 2, 2015

    Rita Cahill

    Environment: Commission refers Germany to Court over incomplete cost recovery for water services
    Brussels, 31 May 2012 – The European Commission is concerned Germany is not fully applying the principle of cost recovery for water services. Under the Water Framework Directive, Member States must price water in a way that provides an adequate incentive to use it efficiently.

    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-12-536_en.htm

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