Socialist Voice March 2002

Here are two reports from the March 2002 edition of Socialist Voice on the Bin charges (double taxation) campaign. Also added are updates with press statements issued by Joe Higgins, TD with Councillor Clare Daly.

High Court Tells Fingal Council - Collect All Bins

By Michael Murphy

SOCIALIST PARTY councillors Clare Daly and Joe Higgins TD won a high court injunction against Fingal County Council on 1 March which forces the council to collect all bins regardless of whether the newly introduced bin tax is paid or not. Fingal Council had stated that they would refuse to collect any bin which did not have a "tag" attached indicating that the householder had paid their €5 or €3 weekly bin charge.

The Socialist Party had raised on a number of occasions with the county manager that refusal to collect the bins was an abdication of their responsibility to collect all waste as defined in the Waste Management Act. This was the viewpoint adopted by the Supreme Court in a case taken last November in regards to Cork. This is a big victory for the Fingal Anti Bin Tax Campaign.

The Council was all set to go for 4 March and this decision has dealt a real blow to their plans. The injunction will hold pending a judicial review, which will take place in the next number of weeks. If the court upholds that all bins must be collected then this will make the councils campaign a farce. They will literally have to try and take the name and addresses of every householder who doesn't have a tag and find other ways of penalising them.

On 11 March a proposal will come before the council to introduce an on the spot fine of €25 for anyone without a tag. Even if the fine is implemented, it will not become effective until 10 April. If they attempt to enforce it, we will urge residents to refuse to pay and if the Council wants to pursue them through the courts, we will have a legal team to defend everyone. The bin tax and the fine will be un-collectable.

Fingal County Manager Willie Soffe continues to ban Councillor Clare Daly from using the photocopying facilities in the council. Her code had been withdraw when it was "brought to the manager attention" that Councillor Daly was using council facilities to inform people of the new bin tax and encourage them to boycott the tax. He has refused to lift this ban until Councillor Daly pays €100 for material produced and give an undertaking not to produce anti bin tax material. This continued banning of a democratically elected councillor by an unelected bureaucrat is a completely unacceptable.

The Socialist party is currently seeking legal advice on the issue. Watch this space....

Press Statement – 22nd March 2002

Refuse Charges Controversy:

Give Bin Tax the Red Card- Not Householders:
Clare Daly and Joe Higgins Blast Fingal County Council’s Tag System as Asinine and Unworkable

Cllr. Clare Daly and Cllr. Joe Higgins T.D.

The plan by the management of Fingal County Council to have teams of employees tailing domestic refuse collection trucks and doling out yellow or red cards to householders who are boycotting the new Fingal bin tax is asinine and unworkable.

The fact is that this tax has no democratic or moral credibility, being introduced by the political parties who never mentioned their intentions to impose it in the 1999 Local Election campaign.

There is huge opposition from PAYE householders to this new regime of local taxation, which is being foisted on them. The idea of Fingal County Council clogging up the courts with thousands of householders on foot of a refusal to pay some multiple of €5 tags will anger further those who have paid for decades while many banks and big businesses cheated.

Householders are involuntary receivers of waste - not its creators. Successive Governments have utterly refused to compel reduction at source and to invest in radical programmes of reuse and recycling.

The Campaign of mass non-payment of the bin tax continues. The campaign will defend all householders victimised in any way by Fingal County Council.

For Further information, contact Cllr. Clare Daly at 087 241 5576 or Cllr. Joe Higgins T.D. at (01) 618 3038.

March 14th 2001: Update on Bin Tax

Socialist Party Councillors’ High Court Action and People Power Means:
Threat of Non collection of Bins Withdrawn by Fingal County Council;
Threat of €25 Fine for No Tag Dropped By Fingal County Council.

Fingal County Council has been forced to withdraw its threat not to collect household refuse bins which did not have a charge tag. This resulted from a High Court injunction taken out on March 1st by Socialist Party Councillors Joe Higgins T.D. and Clare Daly.

The threat to impose a fine of €25 on householders who would boycott the bin tax and refuse to put a tag on their bins is also being dropped. The Council was in blatant breach of the 1996 Waste management Act which obliges local authorities to collect bins. There has been huge opposition to the new tax among the decent taxpayers with nearly 2,000 people sending written objections into Fingal County Council.

Protest at Special Meeting, Thursday, March 21st
Meet at 3 pm Outside Fingal County Council in Swords

The first attempt to impose the new bin tax is in a shambles. However, Council management is attempting to devise a new proposal, which is to go to a special meeting on Thursday, March 21st. Householders should intensely lobby the local Councillors against a new tax, as it is the Councillors who will vote on it, and attend the protest advertised above.

Solving the Waste Problem: Reduction at Source and
Major Investment in Reuse and Recycling Programmes

The vast majority of householders want to assist in resolving the problem of waste in a way that protects the environment. But householders are waste receivers rather than waste producers. The Government has failed dismally to reduce waste at source.

It is big business, manufacturers and retailers who continue to force us to take home unnecessary packaging that becomes waste. The Government will not compel them to reduce at source.

Forcing companies to reduce waste at source is crucial. So is major investment in programmes providing for reuse and recycling of materials. The tax reduction given to big corporations in the Budget (cost to the Exchequer: €329 million per year) would have funded all the necessary programmes. But the Government parties prefer to hit the compliant PAYE taxpayers and self-employed instead.

For further information, to help with our fight against the bin tax, or to help out in the campaign to re-elect Joe Higgins in Dublin West in the upcoming General Election, please contact Orla in the office of Joe Higgins T.D. at telephone: 618 3702.

Bin Tax Campaign

By Diarmuid Naessens

A WHOLE series of successful public meetings have been held to counter the widely distributed letter from Dublin City Council which threatened non-payers with court action. Socialist Party members who are activists in the campaign have been involved in meetings in the Liberties, Drimnagh, Crumlin, Walkinstown, North Inner City, Cabra, East Wall, Phibsboro and Finglas.

Undoubtedly the letters were designed to intimidate people who may be nervous of being brought to court. As when such intimidation was tried during the water charges, it is inevitable that some people will reluctantly pay or part pay the charge. But what was a feature at all the meetings was the intensified anger that many residents felt about being threatened with court. A whole layer of people are more resolved than ever on this issue. Liam Lawlor was mentioned in a humorous but not a very complementary way at many of the meetings.

Some residents groups were provoked into contacting the campaign by the letters. The meeting in Finglas on 12 February clearly demonstrated the mood. 200 packed into the meeting room. How residents can successfully defy the courts was explained and gave confidence to those in attendance. There was a strong mood of anger and defiance. Over €700 was paid in on the night by well over 100 residents who joined the campaign.

With the election campaign due to start in about five weeks time, we need to make sure that the city based politicians and parties who imposed this tax will get it in the neck on the doorsteps. That's if they turn up on our doorsteps. Protests will be organised with the possibility of an all Dublin march in the middle of the election campaign. While it is unlikely that the City Council will actually summons people to court before the election, the campaign will be monitoring the situation closely.

For other articles from Socialist Voice visit the Paper files or for material on the anti-Bin Charges campaigns go to the sitemap.
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