Fine Gael Cllr Ger Deere has hit out at letters received by ratepayers who have fallen behind on their payments, in which warnings have been issued that their details would be published in Stubbs Gazette.
Cllr Deere raised the issue at the July meeting of the Castlebar Muncipal District, stating that he had been contacted by two ratepayers in the town who had received such letters from Mayo County Council, which he had then seen for himself.
He went on to say that for a lot of people, the mention of Stubbs Gazette has serious implications for business and could threaten them going forward, and asked that the council stop using such threatening language.
Fianna Fáil Cllr Blackie Gavin said that he was also aware of the situation and knew a man who employed a number of people in the town who received a similar letter. His party colleague, Cllr Al McDonnell, said that he was disappointed to hear that such letters were going out, and asked that the council have somebody from the rates office come in to explain whether there was a change in how they went about their business. That suggestion was backed by the elected members of the council.
Director of services for Mayo County Council, John Condon, told the meeting that enforcement was only taken by the council as a last resort and that the council could not comment on individual cases, but if ratepayers had difficulty in paying their rates, they should engage with the council to work out a solution to the problem.