Article from the Feb. 2005 issue of the Socialist
newspaper of the Socialist Party, Irish section of the CWI

Anti-bin charges campaign

Dublin City Council imposes non-collection

by Kevin McLoughlin

DUBLIN CITY Council has created a mess and a health hazard through its policy of non-collection of refuse. Many inner city areas have been affected by non-collection and communities have been resisting the Council's attack in East Wall and the Liberties. A number of anti-bin activists have received letters from Dublin City Council threatening to take them to court if they don't desist from protesting.

The TV adverts and government propaganda would have you believe that the bin tax is about protecting the environment. Look around the streets of Dublin and Cork, and you will see the evidence that by not collecting rubbish the Councils are destroying the environment in working class areas. The bin tax is simply another stealth tax to fleece money from the working class.

While at present non-collection only affects areas where people still use black bags, the whole of the Anti-Bin Tax Campaign in the city area should have been organising against this attack.

In East Wall and the Liberties residents have organised weekly protests to try and ensure that all of the rubbish is collected by direct community action. When significant numbers of local residents have participated in these protests, they have successfully been able to put the black bags into the back of the bin trucks. On other occasions where the number of local protestors has been smaller, bin trucks have been stopped, the police have intervened and or the bin truck has just been taken out of the area, and the refuse hasn't been collected. So far the council have left untagged rubbish for a few days but then have tended to lift it, which shows that they think they can boost payment of the bin tax by causing non-payers limited hassle but that they are still nervous about causing a waste crisis.

In order to defeat the Council's tactics of non-collection the Dublin city Anti-Bin Tax Campaign should have organised solidarity action and support for the residents of East Wall and the Liberties. Co-ordinated protest action could have put pressure on the Council and affected their non-collection strategy. The lesson from the last few weeks is that local campaigns in areas where non-collection has yet to be imposed need to mobilise large numbers of protesters if they are to effectively take on non-collection.

All parts of Dublin city are likely to be hit with non-collection after April. The Anti-Bin Tax Campaign faces a difficult challenge but the only way we can defeat these charges is to mobilise and convince large numbers of working class people from local communities to become active in direct action protests aimed at forcing the council to collect all refuse.

European capital of rubbish

CORK CITY Council's hardline stance of refusing to collect rubbish from bin charges non-payers and arrears-holders and from untagged bins resulted in widespread dumping on city streets and green areas.

The Socialist Party is totally opposed to the dumping of black bags but you would not have to be a rocket scientist to have foreseen it. The Council's policy of hiking charges (Euro255 this year plus Euro5/Euro3 tags), doubling prices at the city dump, slashing the waiver scheme and non-collection made it a virtual inevitability.

The Council's attack on the waiver system has been particularly disgusting. Low-income households on disability, on social welfare and on the minimum wage now have to pay Euro5 /Euro3 per collection for tags, equivalent to nearly 200 a year for some households.

Socialist Party Councillor Mick Barry along with a Green Party Councillor and two Sinn Fein Councillors staged a six hour occupation of City Manager Joe Gavin's office on 31 January to demand an end to the policy of refusing to collect the rubbish.

City Hall organised a partial cleanup but pressure needs to be kept on and increased.

SIPTU should break from their policy of partnership with the City Manager and forge a new partnership with working-class communities by collecting all bins and uncollected waste and pledging total support for any worker threatened with victimisation for doing so.

The Litter Pollution Act, 1997 section 5 states "Certain activities not prohibited. 5 - Nothing in section 3 shall be construed as prohibiting (a) the deposit of waste in a receptacle or place provided for the purpose of such waste". Because of the refusal of the Council to collect the rubbish, communities should organise to put uncollected waste in the back of bin trucks to prevent a health hazard developing on their doorstep.

Euro12.7 million bin fine

NEWS THAT anti-bin tax activists could be fined up to Euro12.7 million for protesting against Dublin City Council's non-collection of refuse policy will flabbergast most people.

It is of course ridiculous. If you had Euro12.7 million you wouldn't be out on freezing cold mornings putting rubbish into the back of bin trucks!

The fact that letters have been sent to protestors stating that they could be fined these vast sums of money and/or jailed for ten years will anger working class people. Compare this to how corrupt politicians have been treated, especially the likes of Ray Burke who only got six months for doing a hell of a lot more than putting bags of rubbish into a bin truck.

Earlier reports om the bin charges campaign are available in our sitemap

More articles from this issue of the Socialist are listed here.

More articles from the SP archives of are available in our sitemap