Household charge case adjourned

Household charge case adjourned

Peter Anthony (Tony) Keegan

The case against a Mayo man who is the first person in the country to be prosecuted for non-payment of the controversial Household Charge has been adjourned.

Peter Anthony (Tony) Keegan of Belclare, Westport, appeared before Westport District Court sitting in Castlebar on Thursday but the matter was put back to November 7 after Judge Mary Devins heard of two challenges Mr Keegan has lodged.

Mr Ward McEllin, solicitor for Mayo County Council, which is taking the prosecution, told the court that Mr Keegan has lodged a new challenge to the High Court against the Household Charge.

That is on top of a previous High Court challenge by Mr Keegan, which challenged the constitutionality of the Household Charge. That challenge was rejected last March, but Mr Keegan has appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.

Mr McEllin told Judge Mary Devins that the appeal to the Supreme Court was ‘getting no priority’ and that the Chief State Solicitor has applied to have the second High Court challenge struck out.

Mr Keegan was in court and was represented by James Hanley, instructed by John McCarthy Solicitors in Cork. Mr Keegan had previously represented himself.

Mr Keegan, who is being prosecuted for the non-payment of the Household Charge for six units in Westport, is on record as saying he will take his challenge of the charge ‘as far as Europe if we have to’. His first challenge saw him issue summonses against three Government ministers – Phil Hogan, Alan Shatter and Michael Noonan – saying that the charge had been ‘unlawfully concocted’.

Mr Keegan first appeared before Westport District Court on November 1 last.

A similar prosecution against Desmond Horan of Abbey Street, Ballina, Co Mayo was withdrawn on Thursday after Mr McEllin told the court that the issue had been ‘resolved’.

The case against Mr Keegan was put back to November 7 for further mention.

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