Debt threat 'like a gun to the head'

MARIA HERLIHY

Published 14/02/2013 | 09:26

PEOPLE in Duhallow have received letters from Stubbs Gazette claiming that they owe money for unpaid bin charges.

The move, which was initiated by Cork County Council in an attempt to reclaim €1.8 million nationally, was highly criticised by councillors at the Kanturk area meeting on Friday morning.

Chairing the meeting, Cllr Gerard Murphy (FG) said the action by the council was akin to taking a "sledge hammer to crack a nut."

Cllr Murphy (FG) said: "People are naturally very afraid that their names will appear in the magazine, Stubbs Gazette, and this is causing great distress. A far more delicate approach is needed that this."

The council disposed of its refuse collection to a private company in September 2012, however, there are 6,800 people in who still owe an average of €264.70.

Cllr Murphy said the council must be approached and asked exactly why they chose to take this course of action and why this approach was deemed necessary.

Cllr Timmy Collins (Ind) said the move by the council should not have been allowed to happen.

"This Stubbs Gazette is like putting a gun to your head and saying, 'we will blow your brains out,'. This is very severe and must be stopped. This will cause untold stress to people," he said.

Cllr Noel Buckley (FG) said: "Stubbs Gazette should not have been brought into this at all and it should not be tolerated. It must stop as soon as possible."

Cllr Murphy (FG) proposed sending an email to the County Manager and outlining the upset felt by councillors that such a course of action was taken.

Cllr Batt Donegan (FF) claimed that one woman got a letter and it was her view that there was "no paper trail behind it."

Cllr Murphy (FG) said it is even more of a worry that some people have got letters and they do not owe one penny to the council.

A council spokesperson has confirmed that Stubbs Gazette are sending out the letters.

"A decision was taken in 2012 to outsource this and we went through the public tendering service. Stubbs Gazette won that and it is now sending out letters to people."

Corkman

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