Sinn Féin’s Cllr Paul Hogan has criticised the transfer of council tenants’ details to Irish Water.
Cllr Hogan said he has learned that Westmeath County Council transferred the information to Irish Water without consulting the elected representatives, which he claims the council’s chief executive Pat Gallagher had agreed to do previously.
He said the move came just days before a Sinn Féin motion to request Westmeath County Council not to transfer the details.
“I believe this is a social injustice to our housing tenants and is a breach of their equality and privacy. The council has also impeded on the tenant’s individual power and reserve to decide for themselves whether to register with Irish Water or not.
“Irish Water wrote to Westmeath County Council twice in recent weeks requesting the council to transfer their details to the utility company. Westmeath County Council took this decision without informing the tenants involved or without informing the elected representatives,” said Cllr Hogan.
His party colleague Cllr Sorca Clarke, had tabled a motion not to transfer the details, to be debated at the next council meeting.
Cllr Hogan said the Government had “once again resorted to bully-boy tactics and scaremongering” with regard to water charges, with Minister Alan Kelly refusing to rule out deducting water charges from people’s wages and social welfare payments.
“Such behaviour, both from the Fine Gael/Labour Government and Westmeath County Council amounts to a clear threat to those who may oppose water charges. It will be an extremely stressful thing to hear for those who know that they will not be able to afford the charges.
“Sinn Féin stands with the ordinary people and those who protested in Dublin last weekend. The right to water is one of the most basic of human rights.”
Mr Gallagher was unavailable to comment.