Thursday 23 March 2017

Council threat to cut schools' supply over failure to pay bills

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

SCHOOLS have been threatened with having their water supply disconnected because of non-payment of bills.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council issued 17 schools with disconnection notices late last year.

Most of the south Dublin schools have now come to an arrangement with the council, but a small number have made no effort to settle their arrears.

A council spokesperson said: " A small number have made no contact with the Council and risk the disconnection of their supply similar to other customers who have failed to honour their obligations to discharge their financial obligation to the Council.''

It is unclear whether Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown is alone in threatening disconnection, but other major councils in the Dublin area said yesterday that they had not taken any such action.

Local councillor Richard Boyd Barrett of the People Before Profit organisation said it "beggars belief that schools are being threatened with disconnection".

Water bills became a major issue last January when the implementation of full metered charges was introduced.

It meant that the average annual bill for a 250-pupil primary school doubled from €1,000 to €2,000 in a year. However, excess usage saw some bills increase by more than €2,000.

The Irish National Teachers Organisation said it was aware of dozens of schools throughout the country which were affected by broken pipes due to the bad weather, which will mean potentially greater charges by local authorities.

Irish Independent

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