Socialist TD Paul Murphy has published figures for the payment of Irish Water bills as of mid-May, which he says clearly show why the Government was reluctant to release them at the time.
Mr Murphy finally secured the information following a Freedom of Information request and subsequent appeal, and after numerous obstacles to secure it.
They show that by May 18th last, 229,412 of 772,660 due bills had been paid, or about 30 per cent.
It emerged the following July that 46 per cent of households had paid their bills and while admitting his figures for May, which he received on Tuesday, were “old news” they illustrated the reason why there was a reluctance to release them.
“At that time we [anti-water charge campaigners] would have been relatively happy with mid 30 per cent non-payment but then when they continually refused to answer it was clear that they were hiding something and so we began to make noise that they were hiding something,” he told The Irish Times.
Mr Murphy believes the level of non-payment in May, had it been made public, would have buoyed their calls for mass-non-payment. Now, he says, renewed attention should be given to the level of payment for the second round of billing.
During leaders’ questions in May – two months before official payment figures were published – Taoiseach Enda Kenny told Mr Murphy to “toddle along” to a meeting with Irish Water to address his questions.
Posting on Facebook on Tuesday, Mr Murphy said: “Remember when they refused to answer as well? Remember that then they refused an FOI request? Remember a question to Minister Alan Kelly about it was ruled out of order for no good reason by the Ceann Comhairle?
“Now we know why….Five months later, after an appeal, we have the figures from Irish Water for payment levels on 18 May. 30 per cent payment – 70 per cent non-payment. No wonder they wouldn’t tell us, they had to try to bully some more into paying.”