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€19m owed to council

CLARE County Council’s debtors’ arrears bill of €19.6 million is adversely affecting its cash flow, a local government auditor has warned. Excluding cities, this is the third-highest amount of money owed to any local authority in the country. The two biggest debtors in 2012 were commercial rates of €9.814m and commercial water of €8.186m. In his latest audit of the council finances, local government auditor, Thomas O’Callaghan has described its collection rate for housing rents and annuities, commercial water, housing loans and commercial rates in 2012 as unsatisfactory. Mr O’Callaghan stated the total amount of money owed under these categories by December 31, 2012 is “having an adverse impact on the council’s cash flow”. The auditor noted the council has made accumulated provisions for bad debts of €12.6m. Describing the outstanding debts owed as “alarming”, Councillor PJ Kelly claimed this was caused by a “systems failure” and a “management deficit”. Stating that a lot of this “legacy debt” had built …

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