Waste firm urged to show 'flexibility'

Thu, Feb 16, 2012, 00:00

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has called on the company that has taken over the collection of Dublin city refuse to show “flexibility” in its operations.

He reiterated the comments of the Taoiseach and the Minister for Environment that Greyhound Waste and Recycling, which took over the waste service last month, should deal with the difficulties with the council and the householders.

There were heated and rowdy exchanges in the Dáil this morning on the controversy over the privatisation of the council’s waste service and the warning by the operator it would not to collect the refuse of 18,000 householders who had not paid an advance charge for the service.

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Éamon Ó Cuív asked if the Government would deal with the issue and stop the city becoming a “cesspool” of waste.

He suggested the Minister for Health might have to be called in to deal with the public health consequences of waste being left on the city’s streets.

But Mr Gilmore said he would “take no lectures” from the deputy who had campaigned around the country, advising people not to pay the “modest registration charge” for their septic tanks.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said the Tánaiste, as leader of the Labour Party, “should feel ashamed, diminished and humiliated” at the "handing over" of the service. He said Labour held the lord mayorship of the city, had 19 of the 52 council seats and had a “crushing majority” with Fine Gael on the council.

But Mr Gilmore in turn accused Mr Higgins in his previous campaign against bin charges of doing “more to undermine the public service that was being proved by the public authorities than anybody else”.

The Tánaiste told Mr Higgins “there is a consequence for your actions is that Dublin city council and other local authorities ended up privatising their services”.

Mr Higgins then claimed that Mr Gilmore as a councillor issued a press release claiming he was the first person to advocate against charging for bin services.

Mr Gilmore told the Dublin West TD to “take your head out of the archives”.

He said the Taoiseach had also called for flexibility and Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan had told the Dáil he would not intervene in an issue which was a matter for the council and the company.

In the Dáil on Tuesday, Mr Hogan said he would not “micromanage” the council and that the council had voted to support Dublin city council management’s decision to privatise the service.

However, Labour Party councillor Dermot Lacey rejected this claim and said there was “almost unanimous opposition” to privatisation.