Article from the Nov 2004 edition, the Socialist

20% rise in Fingal bin tax vindicates campaign

THE DECISION of Fingal Council management to increase the bin tax by 20% vindicates the massive campaign of resistance and boycott by the anti bin tax campaign.
By Councillor Ruth Coppinger

Having foisted the bin charge on residents through intimidation, jailings and court threats over the past year, management now feels confident to ratchet up the weekly charge from Euro5 to Euro6 - an increase of 20%.

No doubt, Council management and the political parties who support the bin tax will try to sell the idea that Euro1 a week extra is nothing. However, for the average family putting out a bin each week it is a rise of Euro52 and will bring their yearly bin charge to Euro312 - a hefty household bill by any standards.

Following a country-wide pattern this is only the beginning of what will become regular increases in the bin tax, more than five times above the inflation rate and follows a countrywide pattern.

Residents should pressurise the political parties who will vote on the bin tax increase as part of the Council's annual estimates. In particular, Labour, as part of the ruling "rainbow alliance", should be lobbied strongly on what stance they intend to take on this increase. Will they stand by the people who elected them and vote down the estimates or meekly vote this through to protect their new careers and positions on the Council?

Dublin bin charges:- Prepare for non-collection

TWO-HUNDRED anti-bin tax campaigners pro-tested outside the meeting of Dublin City Council on 1 November demanding that the Council, scrap the bin tax in this years budget.

by Diarmuid Naessens

A further demonstration will take place outside the Council meeting on 29 November the night the vote on the budget is due to take place. At this meeting Labour, Sinn Fein and the independent councillors will be able to fulfil their election promise and oppose the bin tax.

Some Labour Party councillors have already stated that they will not vote against the budget because then the government would abolish the Council. However it is questionable whether Fianna Fail would be prepared to go down that road as it would create a major political crisis. After the hammering they got at the local elections this would threaten to hit them hard at the next general election. Any Labour councillor who supports the budget and the bin tax will be doing so simply to further their political careers, rather than defending the working people who elected them.

On 10 November, a Circuit Court Judge referred to the Supreme Court legal arguments, which the Dublin Anti Bin Tax Campaign raised against the legality of how Dublin City Council had levied refuse tax on householders.

The Campaign argued that the City Council was in breach of waste legislation by not giving incentives to householders to reduce waste.

The main benefit of the referral is that it curtails the City Council dragging hundreds of householders into the District Court on foot of boycotting the bin tax for the past three years. These cases are now on hold until the Supreme Court rules, which will be well into the New Year. However, it is crucial to state that the Council can proceed to attack bin tax non-payers by bringing in a "pay by weight" scheme or even a bin tag system. It does not have to wait for the Supreme Court to implement these steps or to stop collecting the bins of non-payers.

It is crucial that all local campaigns now meet to discuss the various direct action tactics that the anti-bin tax campaign can employ to stop the government's non-collection policy in the new year. As it now seems likely that Labour will vote for the bin tax, the battle against non-collection in the new year will be the decisive battle. The anti-bin tax campaigns and residents can't depend on anyone but themselves to fight this battle.

Earlier articles on the Bin Charges Campaign

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