Ó Cuív warns of waste 'cesspool'


Fianna Fáil deputy leader Éamon Ó Cuív has called on the Government to intervene in the row over the transfer of Dublin City bin collection services to a private company.

Up to 18,000 households in Dublin face a loss of bin services from today as the deadline for payment of fees passes.

Greyhound Recycling and Recovery, which bought the council’s waste collection business, has said it will stop collecting bins from former bin customers who have not yet signed contracts with the company.

There were heated and rowdy exchanges in the Dáil today about the controversy with several opposition TDs rounding on the Government over the council's handling of the issue.

Mr Ó Cuív urged the Government to intervene to stop parts of 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.

However, Tánaiste Eamon 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.

</p> <p>Reiterating recent comments by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Environment, Mr Gilmore called on the Greyhound Recycling to show “flexibility” in its operations, saying the firm should deal with the difficulties with the council and the householders.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>Greyhound said yesterday it had not received a payment of at least €62 from these customers.</p> <p>It is not known how many of the 18,000 households have chosen an alternative private company since the council divested itself of its waste-collection business last month.</p> <p>The council last December sold its list of 140,000 customers to Greyhound, but householders are not obliged to sign up to the service.</p> <p>Private waste firm Oxigen said it has signed up new customers across Dublin city.</p> <p>The company would not say what proportion of the 18,000 customers it had secured, but a spokeswoman said it has had particular success with attracting custom from the north side of the city and Dublin 6.<br/> <br/> “There has been an explosion of calls. We have been slammed at the centre, 12 hours a day the phones are going all the time,” a spokeswoman said.<br/> <br/> Unlike Greyhound, Oxigen allows customers to avoid paying annual standing charges if they pay a higher charge per lift.</p> <p>Oxigen had no plans to increase its charges mid-year as it had already factored in the increase in landfill levies due in July, the spokeswoman said.</p> <p>Customers wishing to have Greyhound collections must pay the annual service charge of €100 or a six-month payment of €50 if they sign up to an automatic top-up payment, which requires them to maintain €12 credit with the company for their lift charges.</p> <p>In a statement yesterday, Greyhound chief executive Michael Buckley said there would be “no exceptions” to that policy. He added that Greyhound was the cheapest operator in the market.</p> <p>Greyhound says up to 18,000 customers have not signed up to its service, although the number of households not intending to pay its charges could be far higher. The 33,000 customers who are in receipt of a waiver of the annual standing charge do not have to pay the fee by today.</p> <p>These customers do have to pay the lift charges of €6 for the large grey bin, €3.60 for the small bin, €3 for those using bags and €2 for the brown bin before their bin will be collected.</p> <p>Greyhound would not answer queries yesterday so it is not known how many of the 33,000 customers have made pre-payments.</p>