Unpaid water charges remain a line in the sand

Sam Matthews


Sam Matthews



Unpaid water charges remain a line in the sand

Some local authority tenants excluded from the Government’s new Incremental Tenant Purchase Scheme may yet have some hope with two controversial exclusionary criteria back under the microscope.

When the details of the scheme were revealed last year, a number of local councillors criticised the fact that people living in Part V housing estates and those who had not paid water charges were left out.

Kilkenny County Council received 35 applications in 2016 for the scheme, which came into effect in January. From these, 13 offers have been made to eligible participants.

There is some speculation that there may be some amendments or ‘tweaking’ of the scheme going forward, but nothing has been confirmed. At a recent council meeting, senior executive officer Martin Mullally informed the elected members that he had forwarded on their comments, along with his own, to the Department. He noted that one of the biggest issues was the whole area around Part V estates.

Then, uncertainty over the future of water charges arose again at last week's meeting of the Piltown Municipal District, when Cllr Melissa O' Neill asked if people who had applied to purchase their own house had been denied on the basis they hadn't paid.

“Have you refused people buying out houses in Kilkenny because of water charges?” she asked staff from the council’s housing department.

“Can they be revisited?”

Director of services Mary Mulholland noted that the Public Water Forum had not yet finalised its recommendations.

“Until it does, we can't change the terms of the scheme,” she said.

“The criteria are still there.”