Meanwhile judging by the reaction of one senior civil servant on Morning Ireland, the government are expecting a last minute rush of payments by post (over a million paper forms have been sent out, and only a fraction have yet been returned), intimating (though not saying it) that they will spend a great deal of next week catching up with a massive backlog…
So the deadline gets softened, allowing for last minute ‘repentance’ amongst the sinners… and easing the thoughts of those who (like John) are feeling like suckers right now for paying a tax a sizeable number of their fellow citizens will not…
It will be interesting to see just what the non payment rate will end at… Pearse Doherty was suggesting over 50% this morning, though others are speculating it may come down to a 1/3… Either way, it’s a mess. Fianna Fail’s finance spokesperson Michael McGrath gives a relatively sober account of the government’s mishandling of the problem:
The Government, said Mr McGrath, had refused point blank to allow a waiver for people who had a genuine inability to pay.
Since then, he added, people had been given the wrong information and had been threatened, with genuine concerns dismissed out of hand.
Ministers, said Mr McGrath, had taken to the airwaves and publicly contradicted each other about the role of An Post, while people had been threatened that a council official would knock on their door to collect the charge.
Active Retirement Ireland and others had confirmed that fraudsters were knocking on the doors of vulnerable elderly people throughout the country looking for the €100, he said.
Mr McGrath suggested the only thing preventing people being allowed extra time to pay the charge was “the stubborn political pride of the Minister, Deputy Hogan and this Government’’.