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Irish Water is refusing to say how many people have paid their bills

The utility has outlined a number of reasons why it won’t release the figures at this stage.

IRISH WATER IS declining to say how many people have paid their bills to date.

The controversial utility began sending out its first bills to households across the country in April.

But today it declined to disclose how many people have actually paid these bills, saying it is in the middle of an eight-week billing cycle and therefore could not produce accurate figures.

Socialist TD Paul Murphy raised the issue with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil today, prompting a heated row which resulted in the house being suspended twice.

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Later in the day Murphy met with Irish Water officials at one of their regular briefings to politicians in Leinster House. But he said they refused to give him the information as they said it would “not be helpful at this stage”.

What Irish Water said is that they have the billing information, they know how many people have paid – they sent just over one million bills  out – and they’re refusing to give us that information.

Murphy claimed that it would not be helpful for the government if the figures were given out now as they would “illustrate a level of non-payment that shows the mass opposition that exists to the water charges”.

He said Irish Water officials had argued that non-payment would be overstated if they disclosed the figures at this stage. He said that officials indicated they would eventually release the figures by the middle of July.

His Socialist colleague, Ruth Coppinger, said an Irish Water official had the information, but would not tell TDs at the meeting what the figures are.

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“He said: ‘We have the information, but we’re not releasing the information because it wouldn’t be helpful at this stage.’”

Contacted for comment this afternoon, Irish Water said that some bills would have to be reissued during the current eight-week billing cycle and some may be cancelled.

In a statement, the utility said:

The full 8 week billing cycle does not conclude until mid-June.  Billed customers are already using the full range of payment options.Some bills will be reissued during the billing cycle with updated customer information. Bills may be cancelled if issued to households who are not customers but who are telling us this for the first time.Customers who received a default bill but who have subsequently registered have also been reissued with an accurate bill.

For these reasons we are not in a position to confirm payment information at this time.

Read: ‘They are looking for soft targets’: New whiskey maker hit with €500,000 Irish Water bill

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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