Exploding Garbage Trucks

LUSK -- Bernie Goldbach asks what answers the protestors have to alternative payment for the refuse collection. Oddly enough, the protestors seem to be a little short on answers as to how rubbish collection should be funded. As I pointed out in my original posting, IMO waste collection and disposal is too important an issue to privatise.

Minister Martin Cullen [Irish Environment minister] has already gone on record to say that waste management should be addressed from a national perspective, and not by the councils. So where does the alternative lie? Should central government assume responsibility for waste collection and disposal? Should such activity be paid for by central funds?

I spoke to a refuse collector this morning - he asked me if I was 'one of them' and 'was I going to cause trouble?'. I explained to him I was a resident in Lusk and I was putting my bin out for collection. He was driving a different lorry today - a road sweeper - having 'paid his dues' this week having been ambushed in the middle of a street collection in Santry yesterday. 'You pay road tax for a car, why shouldn't you pay bin tax for your refuse collection?'. 'Because I can choose not to have a car' I replied.

The radio stations seems to be getting a lot of mileage from requests for

'My old man's a dustman,
he wears a dustman's hat,
he wears 'cor blimey trousers
and he lives in a council flat.'

Trouble is beginning to brew in City Centre Dublin also. The council there is determined to adopt the same policy as Fingal did this week - no tag, then no collection.

Rural people in Ireland are looking in on the protests ensuing on the streets of Dublin with some consternation, since many rural areas have paid for refuse collection for years. They pay water rates too.

We are still waiting for our bin to be collected today. Only in Ireland. The waste disposal truck got 'ambushed' in Skerries a few miles to the coast, and still hasn't made it to Lusk.

Meanwhile, Fingal County Council should really learn from these incidents. It has become painfully obvious that they have been wrongfooted on this one. A truck is still in Santry, abandoned save for a lone security guard, as protestors have hemmed it in. Fingal CoCo's public relations department have been reduced to issuing warning statements - saying that a waste disposal truck that can't release its load becomes 'a timebomb' due to the build up of methane.

'One wrong cigarette and the whole thing could go up' said one council official.

September 12, 2003 in Lusk | Permalink | Comments (0)

Refuse Refusal in Lusk and Fingal

LUSK -- Fingal County Council is facing increasing opposition over its plans for charging householders refuse removal charges - also known as the 'bin tax'. Following the introduction of a law earlier this year enabling the council to ignore those bins placed for collection without the paid-for 'bin tag' attached, Fingal Council have this week tried to implement this policy - with mixed results. Yesterday five refuse vehicles from a total of ten were hemmed in by people peacefully protesting about the introduction of this tax.

anti bin tax fingal
The tax amounts to some 550 Euro per year [and that's money that we have already paid tax on] - and the service is not yet privatised. Irish Minister for the Environment Martin Cullen, who signed the new directive into law, has stated that each household should be paying around 700 Euro a year. Thanks Fianna Fail. One can only imagine the charges in place were this service to go private.

Fingal Council have been trying to put this tax in place for the last two years - and have met with strong opposition throughout their campaign to make householders pay for rubbish collection. Protesters against the tax see the charge as a stealth tax, a tax on money that has already been taxed, as anti-family and as a precursor to privatisation of refuse collection.

Now I am all for proper management of waste - I was behind the NIL Campaign [No Incineration Lusk] and have campaigned the last three years to get Fingal County Council to come good on their promises to close Baleally Landfill Dump - situated a mile or so from my home. I feel that they are being very disingenuous about this latest tax though. This is why.

We were promised recycling bins some two years ago. We're still waiting for these to arrive, so we have very little control over waste disposal for recyclable materials, short of taking them to collection centres ourselves. If the reduction of waste is such a pressing problem as Fingal Council claim, why do we still not have recycling facilities? Fingal Council are trying to persuade people that there is no need to place a full trolley bin out each week - but with a family of five we find our bins full with two days to go to collection day. Yes we compact everything. Dinkies [dual income no kids] could probably go a month without a bin collection. Families can't.

And yes, I believe that this is a precursor to privatisation. There's money to be made in waste. The more waste you produce, the more waste companies make money. Waste collection charges soared in Galway from 70 Euro per annum to over 250 Euro within three years on privatisation. I believe waste to be such a burning issue, if you'll pardon the pun, that management of waste services and facilities are in the public interest and should be left in that domain.

Councillor Clare Daly is leading the protests against the bin tax. I had the pleasure to meet Clare last year as she was running for the Dail. She was most supportive in our campaign against the [failed] incinerator planned for Lusk by Treasury Holdings. She speaks plainly and forcefully, a people's champion. If anyone can rid us of this most unfair tax against the PAYE worker in this county then Clare can.

Our waste is being collected tomorrow. Or maybe it won't be. We'll be running a first for North Dublin - a live protest campaign blog - as it happens, - on the doorstep so to speak.

I will not be attaching a bin tag to the bin. I've paid buckets of tax, and I don't see why I now have to go out to try and find another 1000 Euro from somewhere to pay to get my bins emptied. Why am I paying taxes in the first place if not for that? I see the tax as punitive and fundamentally unfair, as it biases towards individuals and not households. I will be exercising my democratic right to conscientiously object.


And the latest news at 20:29 Thursday from RTE --

Anti-waste charge campaigners say they will continue their campaign of protests despite an injunction from the High Court warning them not to obstruct bin collections.

The chairperson of the Fingal anti-bin tax campaign, Claire Daly, said protests were planned for Balbriggan, Rush, Lusk, Skerries, Portrane, and Donnabate where refuse collections are due to take place tomorrow.

One lorry is still being blocked by protestors, which include Socialist Party TD, Joe Higgins, in the Royal Oak Estate in Santry in North Dublin.

Fingal Anti Bin Tax Campaign [A Doop Site!]

September 11, 2003 in Lusk | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ross's First Day at School

images/ross_first_schoolRoss had his first day at school yesterday - and the school had its first day of pupils. The newest Educate Together School opened in Rush - the Rush and Lusk Educate Together School.

I think that I had more nerves than he did - he seemed to enjoy it immensely - although his two-year old brother Tim was most miffed that he couldn't go along also.

The principal was at the door as the first day's class ended - handing out bags of sweets - now there's one thing that I can't recall on my first day.

Five years gone in the blink of an eye.

September 2, 2003 in Lusk | Permalink | Comments (0)

Vega City comes to Lusk

Well the news is out - a group of Irish and International property developers want to build Vega City - the biggest theme park in the world - right bang in the centre of Lusk parish. Calling it the 'biggest construction project in the history of the state' the developers are out there now offering 115 000 Euro per acre to hapless farmers and landowners who must be laughing all the way back to the barns.

If you believe the developers, the Lusk Ireland theme park will cost 7 billion Euros, and provide permanent employment to some 25 000 people. A glass-covered dome will protect the ridees from the worst rigours of the Irish weather, while a conference centre, a large watersports lake and many apartments and hotels will be slotted in around the jamboree. Don't forget the casino.

As the Evening Herald pointed out tonight, wouldn't this be a wonderful way of turning a huge chunk - that's 2 000 acres - of prime Dublin green belt into zoned residential from its current status of zoned agricultural. No Hollywood studio has as yet stood up to sponsor the park.

This one, pardon the pun, will run and run.

August 29, 2003 in Lusk | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Irish Carribean

I have just spent two glorious days on Rush beach in North County Dublin with my three little boys. It was a pleasure to see them with sand between their toes, and darting in and out of rockpools catching shrimps and crabs. The hours flew by under the glorious sunshine that we have been blessed with in Ireland recently. Armed with serious-looking spades, Ross and Tim must have dredged most of the rockpools on the beach - and some fearsome looking crabs they caught too . . .

Well the weather is meant ot last another couple of days, so I guess that we will make hay while the sun shines. Just as well - my inbox is beginning to pile up!

August 13, 2003 in Lusk | Permalink | Comments (0)