Private refuse company to pursue arrears


PRIVATE BIN company Greyhound Recycling and Recovery has been charged by Dublin City Council with pursuing householders in arrears with refuse charges, assistant city manager Séamus Lyons has confirmed.

Some €6.7 million is owed to the council by householders for the collection of their rubbish up until last Friday, when the council ended its bin collection service.

“Yes, Greyhound are going to pursue those debts on our behalf. We expect to get some of the money back that is owed to us, but probably not all,” he said.

A spokesman for Greyhound said it had been contracted to pursue the debts “using the normal debt-collection processes”.

The company would not be retaining a percentage or “cut” of the debts, but that a “rate has been agreed with Dublin City Council for the collection of those debts”.

Greyhound, which took over the collection of bins across the city on Monday, has also insisted householders must pay the €100 annual charge by February 15th if their bins are to be collected after that.

“That is our stated position and is not going to change,” a spokesman said yesterday.

The charge will not apply this year to householders currently on waivers. However, the company said it would review this allowance for 2013.

The Greyhound spokesman restated the position that customers had 30 days from January 16th to pay the annual service charge.

“The company will collect grey and brown bins during this period as long as customers have sufficient credit on the accounts to cover the respective grey (€6) and brown (€2) bin-lift charges. Green bins will be collected during the 30-day period free of charge.

“By February 15th, customers must have paid the €100 annual service charge and ensured that their account is in credit to meet the respective cost of each black and brown bin-lift to maintain service. After February 15th, green bins will only be collected from customers who have paid the annual service charge.”

This follows calls from a number of public representatives for a facility to be put in place whereby householders can pay the €100 annual charge in two or four portions throughout the year.

There has also been confusion in areas across the city about collection days.

Fine Gael city councillor Gerry Breen said he wanted a “reversal” of the €100 annual payment up front. People were already juggling household bills.

“We want quarterly payment, not the €100 up front.”

He said city councillors had been led to believe the same arrangements as had been in place under Dublin City Council – where the annual charge was collected quarterly – would continue under the Greyhound regime.

People Before Profit councillor Bríd Smith described the up-front charge as “legalised extortion”. She condemned the fact that Greyhound had been tasked to pursue customers in arrears with the council.

“No information has been provided on how much money will go back to the council . . . Instead a private company has been given the right to harass people who are already stressed out by huge bills.”

In the Kilmainham area of the South Circular Road, the bins of residents who were told their new collection day would be Monday remained uncollected yesterday.

Householder Brendan McGrath said he was “quite pissed off” about it. “Not an inspiring start for the supposed super-duper new collection arrangement with Greyhound.”

A Greyhound spokesman said Mr McGrath’s house was on the “periphery of the Monday collection area and a driver may have stopped a few houses early”. His and his neighbours’ rubbish would be collected by yesterday evening, said the spokesman.