Firm may charge waiver customers


Dublin waste firm Greyhound is threatening to charge more than 17,000 waiver customers in south Dublin a full bin collection fee if the council or the Department of Social Protection does not subsidise the service.

A waiver on the bin collection fee is given to households whose sole income is from social welfare or where the household income falls below the income tax threshold.

Greyhound agreed to provide the bin collection service to waiver customers for an initial 12-month period after South Dublin County Council deducted the cost from the agreed sale price when it sold the business to Greyhound last year.

As the agreement expires at the end of March, the private waste company today warned the council and the Minister for Social Protection that if the cost of the service, estimated at €2.8 million, is not subsidised it would have no other alternative but to charge waiver customers for the service.

Greyhound chief executive Michael Buckley said: "We need a resolution. These customers are struggling to survive financially, and they cannot afford to pay for the service. On the other hand we are a private operator and we can not provide an ongoing service free of charge."

"We are informing our wavier customers in South County Dublin of the situation and are presenting them with a choice of payment plans which are the cheapest in the market.

"These customers are under no obligation to choose our service, and we accept that many simply can not afford to pay for a bin service,” he added.

Greyhound was at the centre of controversy earlier this month when it threatened to stop collecting bins from Dublin City Council households who had not signed up for the recently privatised service.

However, many Dublin City householders complained the company was not providing an adequate service and their refuse was not being collected on their designated collection day.

Greyhound has adopted a similar strategy in the Dublin City area, agreeing to service the council’s 33,000 waiver customers for an initial 12-month period up to the end of December this year.

It also today called on Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton to clarify whether her Department will subsidise the cost of providing an ongoing service to these customers.

“Greyhound has been presented with an enormous financial challenge after acquiring two loss making businesses. This is the basis of our pre-paid model. We are confident in our strategy to restore the businesses to profitability while providing customers with the cheapest prices and best service in the market,” said Mr Buckley.