Leitrim’s county councillors have vowed that the Local Authority will not become Irish Water’s debt collection service after it emerged that, under the legislation, if Local Authority tenants fail to pay their water bills, the Council will be expected to add the Irish Water debt on to their weekly rent.
Speaking at the Budget meeting last week, Leitrim County Council CEO, Frank Curran, confirmed that where a Local Authority tenant was in arrears to Irish Water in excess of 12 months “the Local Authority will be required by law to collect the outstanding amount on behalf of Irish Water”.
He said the Council would look at putting payment plans in place but admitted “it is up to us (Leitrim County Council) to get the money and pass it on to Irish Water”.
Cllr Mary Bohan said she was vehemently against the Council being used as a debt collection service for Irish water and put forward a motion calling for the Council to reject this method of collection.
“I formally propose that we reject this out of hand. We were not consulted and we won’t be used as a debt collection service for Irish Water.”
Mr Curran explained that the Council had no option noting “there will be legislation coming on this”.
However Cathaoirleach, Cllr Paddy O’Rourke, noted that there was no appetite for the Council to fulfil such a role for Irish Water, especially in the current economic climate.
Cllr Bohan again put forward her motion and it was seconded.
“We want to send a clear message out there that we weren’t consulted. We don’t agree with this and we (Leitrim County Council) won’t be doing this for Irish Water,” she vowed.