False Information About Avoiding Household Charge

The name of law firm McCann Fitzgerald has been appearing on documents, emails and leaflets that supposedly offer  legal “advice” on how to avoid the Household Charge.
The document claims that because it is a Statute-  that if members of the public do not “consent” to the household charge that the statute cannot affect them and they don’t have to pay it.

In a statement on its website, McCann Fitzgerald  said

McCann FitzGerald has learnt that a memorandum/e-mail purporting to come from the firm and relating to Household Charges is currently being distributed in social and other media. The memorandum/e-mail is not a McCann FitzGerald document, it has not been prepared by the firm, and it does not express a legal opinion of the firm.”

A Campaign Against the Household Charge spokesperson –  Gregor Kerr said .
“The campaign is very concerned that people are believing this information.  “It’s very important that in standing together we will resist this charge, with mass co-operation in the communities. The information in these emails goes against what the campaign stands for.”

When asked about this type of information that has been doing the rounds in emails and on Facebook – in a written response in the Dail on 14th Feb 2012  –  Minister Phil Hogan stated

Citizens and residents of the State are bound by the laws of the State which are enacted by the Oireachtas. This is underscored by the Constitution of Ireland. There is no validity in the suggestion put forward that a person can opt out of a law of the State by not consenting to it. Under the legislation, an owner of a residential property on the liability date of 1 January 2012 is required to make a declaration of liability and to pay the household charge by 31 March 2012, unless otherwise exempted or entitled to claim a waiver. The Act further provides for offences where a person contravenes these statutory requirements.