Donegal anti water charge protesters disrupted Donegal County Council meeting in Lifford on Monday April 13. The protest was organised by the Donegal Right2Water group. Margo McGrory, Inishowen, handed a letter to the Chief Executive Seamus Neely, objecting that council tenant's private data was handed over to Irish Water.
The Letter Stated
" It is a great disappointment to learn that, although voted against by the majority of Councillors, Donegal County Council passed on council tenant's private information to Irish Water.
Residents in Donegal were not asked for their authorisation to have such details imparted but rather received a letter informing them of the decision taken on their behalf.
Much outrage and anger has been expressed by tenants who feel that this is a viotaion of their privacy.
It has been noted that when a tenant moves into a new Council house, the Council is under no obligation to pass their details on to ESB/Bord Gais etc.
Why in this instance would residents details automatically be passed on to Irish Water?
Residents would like to know why you overruled the Councillors decision as they feel totally betrayed as a consequence."
The meeting then continued on to the order of business. Some protesters were not happy with that and demanded an answer to their grievances.
Cllr Nicholas Crossan, Ind, who chaired the meeting adjourned the order of business for 10 minutes because members of the public demanded answers to their legitimate grievances. During the adjournment protesters expressed their anger while councillors sat in silence.
The meeting reconvened having agreed that Chief Executive Seamus Neely would address the issue after the item of business that was started before disruptions finished.
Cllr. Crossan said that they would ask the Chief Executive to give a reply during his Manager’s Report. He warned he would adjourn the meeting again if there were any interruptions.
In his report on the matter, Seamus Neely explained that since the time the councillors voted on the matter, they had received a request for data under Section 26 of the 2013 Water Services Act. He said that while councillors make some decisions, others are carried out by the council executive. He said that he pointed out at the time that if a request was made by Irish Water, he would be obliged to comply with it. He said that if he didn't arrange passing on the information, he would be disobeying a lawful request.