Residents’ fury over household charge letters

Sue Doherty

Reporter:

Sue Doherty

Angry local residents have contacted the Donegal Democrat over household charge reminder letters wrongly sent out by Donegal County Council.

Angry local residents have contacted the Donegal Democrat over household charge reminder letters wrongly sent out by Donegal County Council.

In one case, a woman from south-west Donegal who had paid the charge in March received a letter telling her and her husband that they now owed €127.

The woman, who does not wish to be named, has furnished a copy of the letter and the receipt for the original payment to the Democrat.

She said: “Luckily I have a receipt of this payment.”

The error, she continued, could be partly but not entirely explained by a technical glitch.

“When paying online, I had to leave out the ‘and’ between my husband’s name and my own, so both names could be included. The address used when I registered is the address at which we receive all our post.

“The letter looking for €127 included both names. My husband’s name was perfect but they changed mine to that on my birth certificate.

“Also the home address used is an old local name for the area. Neither my birth certificate name or this address is used on the electoral register.

“Who is compiling the lists, the names and addresses? Do they not know who has already paid? Have they lost all the data already? Are they just waiting for the phone calls so they can find out if you have a receipt of payment? I am fuming.”

The Democrat understands that at least three other residents in the locality who paid the charge also received reminder letters this week. There have also been reports of letters having been sent out in the names of people who are deceased.

Yesterday, Donegal County Council said that “a number” of reminder letters had been sent out in error.

A spokespeson said the mistake was “regrettable” and apologised for any inconvenience or stress caused..

The problems had arisen “as a result of a date matching exercise” carried out by the Local Government Management Agency for local authorities. Records were matched with the Property Registration Authority database, the spokesperson explained.

Anyone who has paid the charge and received a letter should contact either the Local Government Management Agency (tel 01 633 2200, email: info@lgma.ie) or their local Public Service Centre (contact details at www.donegalcoco.ie).