NI Water challenged to refute water bills plans - Maskey
Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey party colleague Gerry Kelly MLA have called on NI Water to make it clear that no preparations are being made to charge anyone for water.
Speaking after letters were sent to homes in the Beechmount area asking for 'customer details' such as bank information and preferred payment options, Mr Maskey said;
"Residents in several areas of west Belfast have received alarming letters from NI Water informing them that they will receive a bill for water and requesting billing information.
"This is totally unacceptable and while I accept that NI Water has now come out and apologised and said it has no plans to issue bills for water it still has serious questions to answer.
"NI Water needs to explain how these bills were sent out in the first place. It also needs to state clearly why this information was being requested in the first place.
"If any householders have replied with the information requested then NI Water needs to explain what it now intends to do with this information.
"I am calling on NI Water to write to all residents who received this letter to admit their mistake, apologise and categorically state that they have no plans to introduce water charges."
Gerry Kelly said that he has requested a meeting with Regional Development minister Danny Kennedy to ensure that this won't happen again."
"NI Water also needs to move to reassure staff working on maintenance of the water network, who were on the receiving end of threats from armed gangs over this issue, that their safety has not been compromised by this blunder.
"Sinn Féin fought hard and successfully to prevent water charges being introduced in the North and will continue to do so. We are totally opposed to water charges north and south.
"I will be requesting an urgent meeting with Regional Development minister Danny Kennedy to find out exactly how this happened and to ensure this won’t happen again.”