Bray council reinstates bin collection on charge basis

 

Bray Urban District Council last night passed a Section 4 motion instructing the county manager to reinstate the council refuse collection on a charge per bag basis.

Before the council meeting more than 500 protesters surrounded Bray Town Hall waving placards, chanting songs and demanding the privatisation of the refuse collection, voted in at the estimates meeting in November, be overturned.

Councillors entering the town hall were heckled and there was considerable anger when only 35 people were allowed into the council chamber to watch proceedings.

A large number gardai were on hand to prevent access to the crowd.

The protest continued for almost four hours and the jeering and shouting could be heard clearly at the council meeting upstairs.

Fianna Fail councillor, Mr John Behan, criticised the legal advice given to councillors late last night, "effectively telling us we would be criminals if we brought back the refuse collection service".

He dismissed the legal advice as a technicality as did local deputy councillor, Ms Liz McManus, who said it "is not worth the paper its written on".

She said the mess had been created in Bray "as a result of political cowardice and gross mismanagement".

Fianna Fail's Mr Michael Lawlor, who alleged he was kicked as he entered the chamber, suggested the council would provide 10 bags a year for old-age pensioners as "they have very little rubbish".

Labour councillor, Ms Ann Ferris, said the privatisation of the refuse collection was "a stupid decision", and to shouts of loud applause said the county manager should be renamed "the county damager".

Labour councillor, Mr John McManus, asked whether the county manager would implement the resolution if it was passed and urged "cutting the coat-tails with Wicklow County Council".

The assistant county manager, Mr Hubert Fitzpatrick, told councillors that in order to compete with private operators the council would have to subsidise the service by £200,000 a year. Council chairman, Fianna Fail's Mr David Grant, demanded the manager produce all the relevant figures so councillors could make up their own minds about the finance available.

Mr Fitzpatrick agreed to bring the figures before the members but warned the council would need another 5,000 customers in order to break even.

A vote was then taken on the Section 4 motion, with 10 councillors voting in favour, Mr Lawlor voting against and Fianna Fail's Mr Pat Vance abstaining.

The council will reconvene next week to consider the figures for the reimplementation of the service as well as the implications of the Section 4 motion.

Fifty-five SIPTU employees of Bray UDC have been on strike for the past week in protest at the council's decision to privatise its refuse collection service.