More than €500,000 owed by households to Dublin Fire Brigade

Payment rates by households and businesses slip in 2014

Dublin Fire Brigade domestic charges and charges for attending the scene of car crashes came into force in January 2012

Dublin Fire Brigade domestic charges and charges for attending the scene of car crashes came into force in January 2012

 

Dublin Fire Brigade is owed more than half a million euro in unpaid call out fees to house fires and traffic collisions since charges were introduced three years ago.

Owners of commercial premises have had to pay charges to the fire brigade for attending fires and other emergency calls since 2003. The charges range from €610 for an initial call out to €915 for emergencies involving hazardous substances.

Domestic charges and charges for attending the scene of car crashes only came into force in January 2012 at a rate of €500 for attending domestic fires, chimney fires and false alarms, and €610 for road crashes.

The fire brigade has attended more than 2,800 domestic or traffic calls since the charge was introduced and should have earned almost €1.2 million from the work, but in the region of €517,000 remains outstanding.

Call out charges

Dublin City CouncilInsurance Federation

The charge should be passed directly by the householder or driver onto the insurance companies, the council said. Despite this, payment rates have not made it above 60 per cent since the domestic and traffic charge was introduced. In 2012, €328,720 was owed and almost 60 per cent was collected.

That slipped slightly in 2013 with just under 59 per cent of the €420,402 collected. Up to the end of November last year, just under 53 per cent of the €449,691 was collected.

Slipped

In 2013, only 67 per cent of commercial charges were paid with €357,662 collected, while to the end of November last year, just over 30 per cent of businesses paid their bills with €466,135 outstanding from businesses.

While there may be a time lag between the issuing of the charge and its payment, Independent Councillor Ruairí McGinley said payment rates for the domestic charge were poor since their introduction.

“People are putting the council at the back of the queue when it comes to paying bills and I think it’s time we moved to a third party debt collection service.”

The fire brigade charges are “a small offset” to what was an almost €100 million annual cost of running the fire service, he said, adding it is “the second largest area of spending after housing in local authority budgets which are funded by commercial rates and local property tax”.