Wednesday 24 January 2018

Widow's horror as water bill arrives addressed to 'Alan Montague RIP'

By Fintan Lambe

The Irish Water bill addressed to Alan Montague RIP
The Irish Water bill addressed to Alan Montague RIP

THE County Wexford mother-of-two, who received a bill from Irish Water addressed to her deceased husband with the letters RIP printed next to his name, has said she has yet to be contacted directly by the company.

Jessica Montague posted a photograph of the letter on her Facebook page on Friday which clearly showed the bill addressed to 'Alan Montague RIP'.

'This morning's post,' she wrote. 'Two letters from (Irish Water) addressed to my deceased husband. Nearly six years dead and you dare to put that on a letter. No, I will not be contacting you to clarify your error.'

The offending letter quickly went viral on social media and got picked up in the national press. She explained that her young children saw the correspondence. One was a bill, while the other was an information pack and a leaflet.

She described the use of RIP as 'callous and distressing' as it was obvious the company knew the addressee was deceased.

Alan Montague died of a brain tumour in June 2009 when their children were three and six years old.

'I haven't been contacted directly as of yet, and I don't expect to be,' said Ms Montague.

She said she was shocked at the thought that other people out there may have received correspondence like this. She said she heard the apology from Irish Water spokesperson Elizabeth Arnett on the Marian Finucane show on RTE Radio 1 on Saturday.

Speaking on the programme, Ms Arnett apologised on behalf of Irish Water.

'I would firstly like to apologise to this family and for the upset that we have caused...there's no excuse for this. This simply shouldn't have happened.' She said that when she looked into it earlier that day, it seemed that some information that shouldn't have been transferred onto the address line, got transferred onto the address line.

'It really just is unacceptable and I'd like to offer my sincere apologies for the upset that that caused for this family,' she concluded.

Irish Water said it is sending bills to 1.5 million customers in the next eight weeks.

'It's a significant task and we expect to face challenges where we have incomplete customer information, where customers have not yet registered or where customer information needs to be updated,' the company said.

'We totally understand and apologise for upset caused by incorrect customer information.'

Wexford People

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