Water cuts coming

Donegal County Council plans to begin water service disconnections for non-payment this week, councillors heard yesterday.

Donegal County Council plans to begin water service disconnections for non-payment this week, councillors heard yesterday.

At yesterday’s meeting of the Letterkenny Electoral Area Committee, Fitz Howard, senior executive engineer and area manager for water and environment services, said he had been instructed to begin disconnections for non-payment this week. Eunan Kelly, area manager, said there were fewer than 10 businesses in the area scheduled for disconnection. He said most businesses are working with the council.

“There’s a huge amount of money coming in,” Mr. Kelly said, adding that more than 5 million euro has been collected this year.

Speaking separately yesterday, Garry Martin, council director of finance, said most of the businesses on the disconnection list have either paid to a satisfactory level or agreed a payment plan. He said there was one planned disconnection this week of a customer in central Donegal.

“We are now working through a second schedule of targeted customers for disconnection,” Mr. Martin said. “This will continue for the foreseeable future as we continue our enforcement actions against those where charges have not been paid.” He said the council was pleased with the response to date, “given that our primary objective is the collection of outstanding charges, with disconnection being the last resort”.

He encouraged any customer in arrears to make immediate contact with the council to make arrangements for payment.

Mr. Howard told the committee that premises targeted for disconnection had not engaged with the council on payments that have been outstanding for several years, despite council’s continued efforts to contact them.

Area councillors emphasised that disconnection should be used only as a last resort. “I certainly wouldn’t like to see businesses close down because of it,” said Letterkenny mayor, Sinn Féin Cllr. Gerry McMonagle.