Mayor of South Dublin Mark Ward had a motion passed at the March Council meeting calling on the local authorities to work together in returning the waste collection service back into state control.

Speaking at the meeting Mayor Ward said: “I and the Sinn Fein group recently met with SIPTU and employees of the Council. It was based on this meeting that I tabled this motion.” “I have had similar motions passed previously but what is different this time is that what I am calling for is backed by a report by the CCPC (Competition and Consumer Protection Commission)” “There is a trend towards the re-municipalisation of previously privatised services across the EU and globally and in particular in water, energy and waste. The mechanism used by the majority of local authorities in returning previously privatised services to public provision has been simply by not renewing the contract.”

“As it states in the managers’ report Ireland’s domestic waste service is atypical. It is the exception within the EU as it persists with side by side competition. In fact Ireland is the only EU member that has side-by-side competition in the domestic waste collection market and that 23% of households have no domestic waste collection service.” “South Dublin County Council has spent almost €6 million on cleaning up illegal dumping over the last 4 years.  If you add in the environmental impact of having multiple trucks on the road which increases the carbon emissions. There are also additional carbon emissions and toxic pollutants if you take into consideration the illegal burning of waste.” “The CCPC report found that the provision of our domestic waste collection service was a natural monopoly and that the only home for a natural monopoly is for it to be provided by the state”

“A fundamental shift has taken place over the last 40 years that saw the state’s role change to a procurer rather than a provider of services. There are approx. 6000 employed in the domestic waste service. Typically the rates of pay are poor. General operatives are on minimum wage and drivers in the region of €10- €13 per hour.  The rates of pay are so low that the state often ends up subsidising them through FIS and other social supports to employees and their dependents.” “What SIPTU would like to see happen and I support them fully is to eliminate side by side competition, establish a provider of last resort. An innovative approach to public enterprise that would see local authorities working together to provide a domestic waste service and the re-introduction of a waiver system for those who fall below a certain income-threshold.”

“So what this motion is basically calling for is the CEO of South Dublin to establish a review of the current tendering process with a view to: ending side-by-side competition and furthermore calls upon the CEO to enter into discussions with the other Dublin County and City councils with a view to re-entering the domestic waste collection service” “This is an important step into returning waste management to state control”