Ireland: Gearing up for bins battle

THE CAMPAIGNS against bin charges around Dublin are gearing up for battle as the government is preparing to introduce a new "Environmental Waste Management Act" with powers to stop collection to non-payers.

In the three and a half years since the bin tax was first introduced in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council and subsequently in the other Dublin Councils, resistance against the double tax has been huge. Mass non-payment is a fact in all council areas, despite various intimidations and legal threats from the councils. The campaigns against the bin tax have thousands of members around the city and have organised many more in a principled stand of non-payment.

However, ever since this tax was introduced we have warned that there was more to it than just an attempt to get some extra money out of us. This tax is the battering ram of a strategy to reintroduce some form of local tax of up to Û1,000 a year! It is also part of the commitment of this government to privatisation of essential services.

This underlying agenda is now coming out in the open. In Fingal, the Council has threatened privatisation of the service. Examples around the country warn us of the consequences: cut backs in the service and lay-offs for the bin workers, rocketing prices for householders.

The government is also trying to get new legislation through the Dail before the summer. As it stands, the councils are obliged to collect all rubbish, whether you have paid the bin tax or not, as established by the High Court case Joe Higgins and Clare Daly took at the end of 2001. The new legislation proposes to take this obligation away. The government is arming the councils with a new weapon to threaten money out of us: the threat of non-collection. Organised resistance can defeat this threat. We must stand firm or face privatisation and a massive hike in local taxation. Can you afford not to get involved?

What the proposed legislation means:

  • It will remove all control over waste management, including landfill and incinerator sites from elected councillors and gives county managers all the power
  • Unelected county managers rather than councillors will be given the power to levy the amount of bin tax charged every year.
  • It gives the councils the right to leave bins uncollected where householders are boycotting the bin tax.

Oppose this legislation! Ring your local Fianna Fail TDs to register your opposition.

More importantly, get in touch with your local campaign against the bin tax and find out about upcoming meetings and protests in your area:

Fingal: Ruth Coppinger (Dublin West) 087 6730187 or Clare Daly (Dublin North) 8408059

Dublin City: Hotline 087 2837989 for local campaign numbers

Dublin South: Mick Murphy 4934696

Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown: Lisa Maher 4934696

From Socialist Voice, paper of the Socialist Party, CWI in Ireland

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May 2003