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Even more people have paid their water bills - but it's just over half of customers

New figures received by Paul Murphy also shed new light on the situation.
Oct 21st 2015, 3:25 PM 31,413 107

Updated 7pm

14/8/2015. Water Protests Press Conferences Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

NEW FIGURES HAVE revealed how many households have paid their water bills so far – and it’s more than last time around.

They show that a total of 830,000 households are now paying their water charges, a spokesperson for Irish Water said. This represents 55% of the total customer base.

That’s a jump from the 44% that paid in the previous billing cycle.

Paul Murphy

More figures related to Irish Water bills have also been released today, this time by Deputy Paul Murphy. These were the early Irish Water payment rates that the Taoiseach refused to disclose in the Dáil.

Enda Kenny told Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy to “toddle along” to a questions and answers session with Irish Water when the query was put to him during Leaders’ Questions in May.

The number of people who paid their first quarterly water charges bill was released later in July. At that point, 54% of customers had not paid.

A Freedom of Information request by Murphy has revealed that the rate of non-payment stood at 70% in May.

He believes this explains “the government’s and Irish Water’s silence and delaying tactics in releasing the payment figures”.

Had this figure been released in May, the non-payment figure for the first bill may well have been even higher than the 57% that it ended up being.

“It would seem that Irish Water are again trying to build a wall of silence around them or give information out on a need to know basis,” Murphy added.

It is understood the FOI was sent in May, when the billing cycle had not concluded. This meant that Irish Water did not yet have all of the information on who paid their bills.

When the question was put to him in May, Taoiseach Enda Kenny passed the issue on to Irish Water, saying:

“The Deputy’s speech is no different from the ones he has made before. He knows as well as I do that if he wants this detailed information, Irish Water will supply it to him. ”

I advise him to toddle along to the audio-visual room at 4pm today where Irish Water will give him the answers to any questions he wishes to ask.
That is open to every Deputy, including Deputy Paul Murphy. He can go and ask Irish Water instead of expecting me to spoon-feed him.

Murphy’s requests to Irish Water were previously refused on the grounds of commercial sensitivity and also that the information could result “in undue disturbance of the ordinary course of business generally, or any particular class of business, in the State and access to the record would involve disclosure of the information that would in all the circumstances be premature”.

Read: Irish Water ‘tightened controls’ after customer bank details were sent to the wrong people >>

More: Could it really cost just €13 million to abolish Irish Water? >

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Nicky Ryan

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