Protest Planned As County Manager Moves To Fully Privatise Bin Collection

“The Mafia haven’t got a patch on these people.”

In a statement, the People Before Profit Alliance (PBPA) has condemned moves by Owen Keegan, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Co Council, County manager, who recently circulated a proposal to all Councillors to wind up the Council bin collection service – fully privatising waste collection in the County.

In response to this revelation and the recent moves by the Council to halt bin collection and hire in private debt collection companies to harass householders with bin tax arrears, PBPA are holding a demonstration outside the next meeting of the Council on Monday October 13th at 7pm.

Anti-bin tax campaigners in the Dublin City Council area have also condemned developments in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown. Cllr Joan Collins and Brid Smith have said that Dublin City Council will almost certainly attempt to follow suit in the near future.

Richard Boyd Barrett of the People Before Profit Alliance said:

“From the moment bin charges were first introduced, the Council’s agenda has been to privatise bin collection altogether. The proposal now being circulated by Owen Keegan is the final move in a long term and deliberate strategy to destroy the Council bin service. It is an absolute disgrace that Council management, whose salaries are paid for with taxpayers money, have for years facilitated a privatisation strategy in order to line the pockets of private waste companies.

At every turn, the Council has facilitated the interests of the private waste companies: first introducing charges; then allowing the private companies to undercut the Council; then selling Council wheelie bins to the private companies for €1; and most of all by bullying and intimidating people with arrears. It could not be clearer that the Council’s intention all along was to shut down the Council bin service and hand waste collection to profit hungry private companies.

We now know what the real agenda behind the Council’s escalation of bullying tactics over recent weeks. Leaving bins uncollected and hiring in debt collection firms were part of a last push to squeeze people for money before handing the whole service over to private operators.

The private waste companies now stand to make an absolute killing. They will now be able to drive up bin charges year on year. The claim that competition between private companies will keep bin charges low has been blown apart by the recent announcement that Greenstar are now in negotiations to buy out Panda. Greenstar, who are in turn owned by National Toll Roads, are well on the way to totally dominating the waste sector in this country. They will be able to charge what they like. The losers here, as always, will be ordinary hard-pressed householders and taxpayers, and bin workers who will have to put up with poorer wages and conditions.

The move to fully privatise the service is even worse, in the context of the current economic crisis. With workers being asked to take an effective pay-cut in the new national wage agreement and prices of essential goods going through the roof, ordinary working people will be even more crucified by unjust stealth taxes, such as bin charges.

And, of course, the worst is still to come. Throughout the country, local council’s are, as we speak, putting in place the physical infrastructure to meter water on all households. The only thing that has stopped them introducing water charges has been the resistance to paying bin taxes. Once bin collection has been fully privatised, water charges will follow rapidly. And then, after the taxpayer has footed the bill to the tune of tens of millions for installing water meters, they will then hand our water over to private companies as well. What we are witnessing is the daylight robbery of the taxpayer organised by those who are paid to represent the tax-payer. The Mafia haven’t got a patch on these people.”

Councillor Joan Collins said:

“This is what we feared as soon as bin taxes were introduced. The plan was always to lay the ground for the privatisation of the service. There is little doubt that Dublin City Council will move soon to try the same thing. We can also expect an attempt to reintroduce water charges. Although, in their usual dishonest fashion, the main political parties will ensure that this is not done until after the local elections are out of the way. The cynicism and dishonesty is staggering.”

Brid Smith added:

“Every one of the main political parties – Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour, the Greens – bear responsibility for bringing us to this sorry situation. They all voted year after year for bin charges to be levied and they all went along with the introduction of private waste companies. Hard-pressed householders will have their elected representatives to thank when they are further crucified with unjust bin and water charges over the coming years.”

Richard Boyd Barrett concluded:

“The Council meeting on October 13th is the last opportunity for people in Dun Laoghaire to block the privatisation plans. Before it is too late, we must mobilise massively to demand not only a halt to the privatisation plans but to demand the scrapping of bin charges altogether. Bin collection is a vital service not a business.”

For more info/confirmation contact:

Richard Boyd Barrett 087-6329511

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