Nenagh post office has returned over 4,000 letters to Irish Water in the past month because they were incorrectly addressed. The new water utility’s data base has now been called into question by Cllr Seamus Morris, who works as a postman in Nenagh.
“This is happening nationally. An Post is returning thousands of letters because they are insufficiently addressed,” the Sinn Fein councillor told the Tipperary Star.
He pointed out that Irish Water was sending out correspondence addressed to “Resident” and queried how it was proposed to be able to state that letters were reaching the correct people.
“Their data base is shocking,” he said. “They are using the old data base used for the Household Charge.”
He said this system was a “hole in their argument that they are getting to the right people,” and warned: “If you can’t get the post data right from day one you are in trouble.”
He asked how people could trust Irish Water with their PPS numbers when the postal data was not right.
Cllr Morris has raised his concerns with Irish Water who told him that his query had been forwarded to the relevant department and a member of its team would be in contact “as soon as possible”.
Apologising for a delay in replying to him, Irish Water thanked him for his “patience”.
There was no response from An Post at the time of going to press for the Tipperary Star’s print edition in relation to Cllr Morris’s claims about returning the Irish Water letters. However, a spokesman subsequently stated that it had no knowledge of letters being returned and it was not the type of issue they would comment on in any case.
Cllr Morris also said that the setting up of Irish Water raised questions about who owned Lough Derg with the plan still there to extract 300 million litres of water a day from the lake to be pumped to Dublin and surrounding counties.
Meanwhile, beleagured Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly, is expected to announce shortly that water charges will be capped for a number of years, possibly to 2016.
Minister Kelly, who could not be contacted prior to going to press, admitted in the national media that there had been “major failings” in setting up Irish Water.
“I want to acknowledge that that were absolute mistakes made in relation to the scale of this project,” he said.
The Portroe native promised that changes to how water charges will be implemented.
“They are going to be changed. They are going to reflect the concerns of the people. I think the charges are going to modest and there is also a need for certainty over a long period of time,” he said.
It is thought that among the changes will be the introduction of a flat rate of around E150, with an allowance for senior citizens and those on welfare payments.
Minister Kelly said he would not rule out a referendum to ensure Irish Water stays in public ownership. However, he added that there may be another mechanism to address this through the Oireachtas.
Minister Kelly also said he did not tolerate bonuses, did not believe in them and did not think they were appropriate.
He said it will be the first item for the new board.
Meanwhile, the head of Irish Water, Terryglass-born John Tierney, apologised to customers for “mistakes that have been made” in setting up Irish Water and thet way water charges have been handled.
“I want to apologise to our customers for mistakes that have been made. We are working with the Government to address all of the issues that have arisen,” he said.