"Ghost estate" a common view in Ireland as whole estates lie emptyGoogle Images

Irish Environment Minister Phil Hogan has confirmed that the proposed new household charge will be set at €100 a year, payable next year.

He said it would be an interim measure for two years, pending the introduction of a property tax.

Hogan said the levy was separate to water charges which would be payable by 2014 and would yield around €160 million.

Those receiving mortgage interest supplement will not have to pay the charge, nor will those living in social housing or so-called “ghost estates.” Commercial property will also be exempt, as will premises owned by a charity.

Exemptions are expected to number about 250,000 households. Other householders will be given three months to pay, with late payment penalties of €10 a month.

Hogan also said he intended to facilitate households in paying the charge over a number of installments. 
Speaking at the MacGill Summer School, ICTU general secretary David Begg said he was not surprised by the announcement, but that he would favor a site charge.

Professor Phillip Lane of the Department of Economics at TCD welcomed it as an intermediate measure and said he would favor a move to a charge based on the value of people's assets.

UCD economist Colm McCarthy said the charge was necessary as an intermediate measure because of the difficulty in re-introducing domestic rates. He said he hoped it would be collected with TV license fee to reduce the nuisance to people.

“I’d prefer not to be introducing any charges but I’m obliged because we have ceded our economic sovereignty as part of the EU/IMF agreement, to bring in a property tax,” Hogan said.