Letterkenny Sinn Féin Councillor, Gerry McMonagle, has welcomed assurances from Donegal County Council that they will not be writing to, or putting pressure on RAS Scheme tenants to pay water charges.
The county council said that while it was the occupier’s responsibility to pay the water charges, the council has no role to play in collecting water charges and as such, it will not be writing to any tenants on the RAS Scheme, Cllr. McMonagle said.
Cllr. McMonagle is now calling on the Tánaiste, Joan Burton, and the Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly, to assure RAS tenants, those in receipt of rent allowance and those in privately rented accommodation, that they will not be evicted from their homes for not paying water charges.
“I acknowledge that Joan Burton has said that she will be investigating the letters that were sent to RAS tenants by Wicklow County Council in which the threats were made,” Cllr. McMonagle said. “However, she has yet to assure such tenants that they will not be evicted from their homes if they do not pay water charges.”
He said that the tánaiste, “just doesn’t seem to understand that many people simply can’t afford to pay this unjust tax and that it will be the charge that breaks a great number of families.
“Rather than acknowledging this reality and scrapping water charges, this government has deemed it appropriate to bully these families with threats of eviction if they don’t pay,” he said.
“This approach has created a real fear amongst hard-pressed families who know that they will not be able to pay these charges,” the councillor said, saying that the government has a responsibility to assure families that they will not be evicted from their homes.
The councillor had sought assurances from Donegal County Council in relation to the security of RAS tenants who were unable to pay their water charges or who refused to do so, in the wake of letters sent by Wicklow County Council to their tenants.