One-third of Dublin fire brigade charges not paid

Thursday 15 November 2012 23.14
House fires were the top cause for domestic callouts with 193 cases
House fires were the top cause for domestic callouts with 193 cases

One-third of fire brigade charges in the Dublin area have not been paid and councillors claim that local authorities have been left with an "unfair burden".

A report to the city council's Finance Committee stated that over €1m in charges has not been paid to Dublin City Council, which operates on behalf of all four authorities in the region.

Council executive manager Gerry Geraghty said it has proven harder to collect the charges since the recession, with some of the difficulties being disputed bills and companies no longer trading.

The council has charged commercial customers since 2001, while charges were introduced for domestic callouts last January.

The report found that house fires were the top cause for domestic callouts with 193 cases, followed by 120 chimney fires and 118 apartment false alarms.

In total, €3.3m has been invoiced since 2007.

Chairman of the Finance Committee, Sinn Féin Cllr Mícheál Mac Donncha said householders have been left to sort the issue out with their insurance companies.

He said the committee will write to Environment Minister Phil Hogan complaining that Dublin local authorities have been left with an unfair burden over the unpaid charges.

A separate report to the Finance Committee revealed a breakdown of the housing rent arrears totalling nearly €20m.

It found that 75% of the highest arrears are from the northside of the city, usually involving three-bedroom houses.

The highest single arrears amount is over €32,000.

The typical person evicted for arrears is a single adult male, living in a flat in the inner city with arrears ranging from €1,800 to over €10,000.

Another report found the highest rate of non-payment in general was for commercial water charges, with 63% outstanding followed closely by domestic refuse at 62%.

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