herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Anger as €3m grass mowing bill beats cuts

CASH-strapped Dublin City Council will spend more on grass cutting than on road maintenance contractors in 2010.

There were calls for officials to review their practices today as it emerged that almost €3m will be spent cutting grass between 2010 and 2013.

Details of contracts revealed to the Herald show the council has locked itself into an agreement with four companies.

They will be paid between €84,000 and €1.5m each for a range of landscaping services.

As tens of thousands of city dwellers remain in dole queues, calls were made today for the council to consider taking on unemployed people to carry out the work.

"It could get some people off the dole and get them involved in their own communities," said Dublin North East Fine Gael TD Terence Flanagan. "It would definitely be much cheaper."

The total value of the contracts over the three-year period is €2,978,052, with the annual average being €992,684.

Much of the council's road maintenance is carried out using internal staff, but figures for contracted work shows that they spent €549,436 on external services last year.

The budget for contracted road maintenance in 2010 is €811,662.

The contracts were agreed as the council was forced into cutbacks that threatened three city swimming pools.

Since January 2009, the council has shelled out €396,000 cleaning up graffiti.

Companies from Dublin, Westmeath, Kildare and Tipperary are to benefit from the deals, but the TD says the local unemployed should be encouraged to get involved.

"Look at the cost going out for grass cutting. There is a lot of work to be done but €1m a year seems excessive.

"If you divided that by the average industrial wage you could hire a lot of people. It would give hope to those people," he told the Herald.

kdoyle@herald.ie

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