Waste wars continue
After the Louth County Manager's u-turn last week on refuse collection in Drogheda and the reinstatement of the town's binmen, council refuse collection has resumed. The council, however, is still threatening to bring in charges of £110 per annum, where previously householders did not pay any additional charges for the service.
In Bray too, the binmen have won and their refuse collection service is back under the aegis of the local authority, but throughout the rest of County Wicklow, all the binmen are still out on strike against the privatisation which County Manager Hubert Fitzpatrick intends imposing. The situation grows increasingly complex, with questions raised in the council concerning the lack of audited accounts, inappropriate expenditures in connection with waste management, and the recent resignation of County Manager Blaise Treacy.
Meanwhile, in a very important step towards developing proper waste management countrywide, Wicklow Green Party Councillor Deirdre de Burca was granted leave on Monday, 7 February, to seek a judicial review of the local authority's decision to end its waste collection service. De Burca argued that the European Communities (Waste) Regulations of 1997 impose a statutory duty on the council to arrange for collection and implement a waste management plan for the county.
Lawyer Peter Bland (for de Burca) further submitted that it was an offence for householders to give waste to any party other than the council or a person with a permit granted under the 1979 regulations. The private operators suggested to householders by the County Manager as suitable operators to collect their refuse did not have such permits.
De Burca also sought an interim court order directing the council to reinstate its refuse collection service, which was refused.
Meanwhile Wicklow binmen are going to the Labour Relations Commission on Friday, though they are not hopeful of a resolution.