Council instructed not to use utility bills to pursue charge

Donegal County Council has passed a controversial motion calling on officials not to use information from utility companies to pursue people who have not paid the household charge.

Donegal County Council has passed a controversial motion calling on officials not to use information from utility companies to pursue people who have not paid the household charge.

The motion from Sinn Féin councillor Jack Murray was passed by 11 votes to three after a recorded vote.

But County Manager Seamus Neely told the meeting that he is obliged by law to pursue money that is owed to the council. He said the motion was seeking to take a decision on something that is an executive function of council.

He added a very significant number of people in Donegal paid the charge which put the council in a better position to retain as much of its Local Government Fund as possible.

Mr Neely said a significant proportion of the Local Government Fund is dependent on the receipts of the household charge.

“There inevitably will be implications for services if fewer resources are available for us to spend this year,” he commented.