DUBLIN City Council is facing mounting pressure as speculation increases that it is on the verge of privatising its waste collection service.
Dublin’s three other local authorities – Fingal County Council, South Dublin Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County council – have already gone down the privatisation route and it’s expected that Dublin City Council will eventually follow suit.
At a full meeting of the council last Monday (September 5), a Sinn Féin motion opposing the privatisation of the service was adopted.
Artane Whitehall ward councillor Larry O’Toole (SF), who tabled the motion, said the democratically elected representatives of the people of Dublin have now voted against the privatisation of the household refuse collection service.
“Council management should implement this decision,” he told Northside People.
“This is a key council service and if it is ended householders will have to pay private providers.”
Cllr O’Toole believes that if the service is privatised there will be no protection for those currently holding waivers and many householders will face increased costs.
“There is a special responsibility on the Labour Party members of the council to see that this council decision to oppose privatisation is implemented,” stated Cllr O’Toole.
“Indeed, some of their members voted for the Sinn Féin motion.
“Labour is in Government and so can help ensure both at council and at Government level that this democratic decision is carried out.”
A spokesman for the council told Northside People: “Dublin City Council continues to collect waste and is in discussions with the unions concerning future restructuring of the waste collection service.”
Noel Nutley, from Raheny, who vehemently opposed the introduction of bin charges when they were controversially introduced, said he would have a number of concerns if the waste collection service was privatised.
Mr Nutley, who currently has a waiver from Dublin City Council, said if the service was privatised he would expect to hold onto the waiver.
He currently has an annual waiver on his grey bin but still has to pay for the lifts, while there is no charge for his green bin.
“Speaking on behalf of all pensioners, we would expect to have the exact same service, if not better, from a private company,” Mr Nutley told Northside People.
“If the service is going to be run by a private company, then the waiver must be one of the conditions of the contract.
“I’m sure somebody in the council did a costing of the service and found that it was losing money. “Therefore, I can’t understand why a private company would be interested in taking it on unless they were going to cut down on the same service.”
Mr Nutley, a member of Age Action, said he would also be worried about potential job losses in the council.
“You sometimes see three or four people going around carrying out the bin collections but now that could be reduced to one or two,” he added.
Northside councillor Mary Fitzpatrick (FF) said the Fianna Fail group on the council was very concerned by this development.
“It is unacceptable that such an important decision would be taken without first consulting with the city’s councillors,” she stated.
“The manager has informed us that the decision to enter into discussions with the unions is based on the findings of a review by third party private consultants of the Waste Management Service commissioned by Dublin City Council and the unions.
“I have asked that a copy of the review be circulated to all elected representatives and that a special meeting of the city council be held to debate this important policy issue before any further negotiations take place.”
“The Fianna Fail group of city councillors has indicated that it will oppose any short-term decision that would result in the privatisation of the city’s waste management service.”