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This councillor doesn't know who filled out his Irish Water form, but it wasn't him

The Data Protection Commissioner has said that it has received a very small number of queries relating to Irish Water.

EARLIER THIS MONTH Donegal councillor Michéal Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig received a letter informing him that he was eligible for the €100 water conservation grant.

Initially Mac Giolla Easbuig believed that he had been registered without permission.

However, following further contact with Irish Water, he received the form that had been sent in to the utility with his details on it.

So if Mac Giolla Easbuig didn’t send it in, who did?

irish water form - no address The form that was sent in for Mac Giolla Easbuig

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, the councillor said that he had reported the case as potential identity theft to An Garda Síochána.

Irish Water has stated that information contained in the form has now been removed from their database.

It is understood that information about Mac Giolla Easbuig available to Irish Water from other state bodies will remain on the system.

In a letter to Mac Giolla Easbuig they said the incident was “not indicative of the customer feedback” they’d been receiving – however, a small number of similar incidents have been reported around the country.

Eileen Gabbett, a retired civil servant and member of the Anti-Austerity Alliance, was shocked when she received the conservation grant letter from the Department of Social Protection.

“I couldn’t believe it. I never in my life had I heard of anyone being offered anything from social welfare,” she said.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Independent Donegal TD Thomas Pringle said that he had been in contact with a number of his constituents who had received letters from the Department of Social Protection.

He went on to say:

They are adamant that they did not register with Irish Water and were shocked when they received a letter offering them the conservation grant.

In response to this, Irish Water categorically rejected any suggestion that the issue was one of data protection.

Irish Water cannot discuss the details of individual customer complaints with the media however we can confirm there have been no issues in relation to data protection in the case you are referring to and any suggestion that there is, is incorrect,” it said.  

Irish Water has thoroughly investigated this case and is satisfied that no system errors have occurred. (it would not be possible for a ‘system error’ to cause an application form to be filled out).

In response to a query from TheJournal.ie, the Data Protection Commissioner said that in recent weeks they had received a very small number of queries relating to Irish Water.

Irish Water is allowed to draw its contact database from a number of sources. Under the Water Services Act 2013 these include the Private Residential Tenancies Board, the Revenue Commissioners, the Minister for Social Protection and local authorities.

It was announced last November that every household in the country would be entitled to a €100 rebate from the Department of Social Protection if they signed up with the utility.

Decried by some opposition politicians as a ‘bribe’, the measure was one of several unveiled as part of the Government’s revised charging scheme, in the wake of a series of large-scale public protests against the proposed structure of water charges.

Read: Irish Water registered this Donegal councillor without his permission

Also: Things are looking up, but support for the coalition isn’t

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