herald

Thursday 24 July 2014

Greyhound bins' boss parties as elderly hit with charges

DUBLIN'S bins service may be in crisis - but that didn't stop Greyhound Waste boss Brian Buckley partying at the weekend.

The wealthy rubbish chief hosted a "gangsters and molls" birthday bash at a city hotel.

The city council and Greyhound have come in for heavy criticism over the management of the city's new privatised waste collection.

Up to 18,000 homes face the prospect of not having their rubbish collected by Greyhound this week as the Taoiseach urged the company to show some flexibility.

The row about Dublins' bin service and threats not to collect rubbish from thousands of homes seemed a million miles away as Mr Buckley stepped from his Range Rover Vogue, valued at €100k new, to greet partygoers.

As around 50 guests arrived on Saturday evening, it was obvious they intended having a night of it.

The theme of the evening was "Gangsters and Molls" and many of the partygoers had spent quite a lot on their costumes.

And there to greet them was 40-year-old Greyhound boss Brian Buckley.

Luxury

He looked spectacular in tux and silky white scarf as he stepped from his luxury Range Rover Vogue.

He as at the birthday party with a blonde companion.

The godfather of the city's waste management service was one of the first to arrive at the Orwell Hotel on Orwell Road, Rathgar.

The backdrop of course is a city waste service which has been attracting acres of negative news headlines and dominated Joe Duffy's Liveline for three weeks.

Greyhound is set to impose full charges on Dublin's poorest and elderly residents.

Guests began to arrive at the lavish bash shortly after 8pm.

Many of the 50 or so guests were dressed to the nines in in expensivecostumes.

Mafia-style

"They had gone all out for the evening with 1920's mafia-style scarves, tacky one-piece suits and wigs. And that was only the men," said an onlooker.

"Apart from the gangsters' garb the music inside was pumping.

"Guests were welcomed in by two security people who made sure that no ordinary city folk could gate-crash."

But through the windows the revellers could be easily observed sipping champagne.

They then enjoyed a sit-down meal at the boutique hotel which designs special menus for such occasions.

The party lasted well into the early hours of Sunday morning.

Today Independent TD for Dublin North Central Finian McGrath told the Herald that the timing will come as a major insult to the thousands of families already angry about the city's bin crisis.

"This kind of carry on shows a complete lack of sensitivity and respect for thousands of hard-pressed customers," he said.

Arrogance

"For them to hold a party amid all the chaos in the city smacks of arrogance at the highest level.

"I have been inundated with calls from angry customers over the way they're being treated by Greyhound."

The hardship didn't seem to affect Mr Buckley, who was seen smiling as he stepped out of his SUV. Some 33,000 elderly and low-income households will soon be slapped with extra bin charges when the company abolishes the long-running waiver system.

A household gets the waiver if the household's total earnings are tax exempt and less than €600 per week.

It is availed of by the most hard-pressed of families and has been in existence in the city for over a decade.

The move has been dubbed "callous" and "disgraceful" by city representatives and charities representing the elderly.

It emerged at the weekend that the city council told Greyhound that there is the potential to make more than €18m per year off the city's families.

Chaos

Buckley is widely expected to increase the €100 annual service charge from next year.

City representatives fear the bins chaos will worsen this week, while dozens of families still claim they yet to even be contacted by Greyhound.

The company's workers were observed last week placing warning stickers on bins that were owned by people who have not yet paid the €100 annual service charge.

But despite being at the centre of a PR disaster, Greyhound are showing no mercy on the families who are living on the breadline.Mr Buckley, a former college rugby captain, appears to not give a damn about the thousands of families who are at risk of being cut off by his company.

Attempts by the Herald to gain access to the party, and challenge Mr Buckey over his company's treatment of Dubliners, were rebuffed by two door attendants.

"This is a private function, you cannot come in here," we were told.

Banker

The ex-investment banker and his accountant bother, Michael, run Greyhound from its Clondalkin headquarters.

The Herald previously revealed how the offices were subject to an inspection by the Data Protection Commissioners amid fears that private banking details belonging to thousands of former Dublin City Council customers had been transferred to Greyhound.

The Commissioner is expected to publish his findings shortly. The brothers spent tens of millions of euro developing their 12-acre site in west Dublin, which sorts hundreds of thousands of tonnes of rubbish.

Brian Buckley was captain of the TCD rugby team when he studied for a BESS at the university. The brothers' parents had set up a waste management business when the boys were children so both had a good understanding of the sector.

Brian has previously said: "There were literally tonnes of rubbish simply being dumped into landfill but much of it was worth money."

Councillors fear Greyhound will hike up prices even further, having given customers just weeks to pay the €100 charge.

hnews@herald.ie

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