herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Taxpayer to foot bill for uncollected bins

MESS: Council will have to clear rubbish in city streets

PUBLIC money will be used to keep Dublin's streets clean if bins are left uncollected, it has emerged.

Despite selling its waste service to Greyhound, Dublin City Council retains the responsibility for clearing away uncollected rubbish, as it is deemed litter.

Greyhound will cease taking away domestic waste from as many of 18,000 homes from tomorrow.

The situation was described as an "absolute shambles" by the Mayor.

"Greyhound will not collect bins from households after this Thursday unless a payment has been made towards the annual service charge and accounts are in credit to meet the cost of each bin collection," the firm insisted.

However, taxpayers will be left footing the bill for the cost of cleaning up uncollected rubbish.

While in theory householders who don't clear away their own bags can be accused of dumping, it is believed prosecutions will not be pursued.

Independent councillor Cieran Perry, who opposed the privatisation of the service, said he cannot advise residents to choose a specific operator. However, he strongly advised householders to make appropriate arrangements, including legally disposing of bags at one of the council's waste depots -- and not dumping them.

Shambles

Environment Minister Phil Hogan said "the buck stops with Dublin City Council" over the debacle. He added that he would not "micro-manage" local government.

"The buck stops with Dublin City Council, which made a democratic decision to exit from the public collection of household waste and give it over to the private sector," Mr Hogan said.

Lord Mayor Andrew Montague wants Greyhound to collect the bins of non-paying customers for another month because the changeover has been an "absolute shambles".

"People didn't get notification of the switchover until after it happened . . And people's bins haven't been collected when they should have been collected," the Labour councillor said.

He laid the blame with Greyhound for "very poor communication".

The company is insisting on residents paying at least half of the €100 annual service charge by tomorrow for their bins to be collected.

The council stopped providing a domestic waste service to its 140,000 customers on January 13.

The Department of the Environment said: "If waste is uncollected on Thursday and if health and safety issues arise then ultimate responsibility lies with the local authority, in this case Dublin City Council, as they implement the legislation.

"Therefore, responsibility for cleaning the streets lies with them."

hnews@herald.ie

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