1 December 2005 Edition
New City Council coalition slammed
Alternative to bin charges outlined
Sinn Féin Dublin City councillors have slammed the formation of a "new coalition" of Labour, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael on Dublin City Council to force through a budget including a 5% rise in bin charges.
Speaking during a City Council estimates debate on Monday 28 November, Sinn Féin's Daithí Doolan said: "An unholy coalition was formed tonight with a view to colluding with the threat to dissolve the City Council and vote for the increase in bin charges. It is true to say that Sinn Féin is now the only opposition party here in Dublin. Bin charges are a double taxation, are unjust and continue to be unworkable."
Doolan pointed out that while city residents are forced to pay bin charges to the tune of €22m, state occupied buildings continue to be exempt from rates resulting in a loss of over €22m to Dublin.
The Sinn Féin representative for Dublin Southeast also called on the City Manager to grant an amnesty to those in arrears with bin charges arrears and to "stop dragging people through the courts, the same courts that have found bin charges illegal".
Earlier in the day at a press conference chaired by Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member Caoilfhionn Ní Dhonnabháin and addressed by Councillors Daithí Doolan, and Larry O'Toole, Sinn Féin pledged that all its ten city councillors would vote against the estimates and outlined its alternatives in a document entitled Delivering for Dublin.
Daithí Doolan highlighted the deliberate undermining of local government by central government. "Sinn Féin believes in strong local government, which can deliver for the people of Dublin City," he said.
He called for local government reform and change spending priorities to invest in the key areas of childcare, parks and play areas and housing.
Larry O'Toole said the proposed Council Estimates would again contain "the regressive stealth tax known as the bin charges" and he pointed out:
"Such was the success of the campaign in Dublin in opposition to these charges, a campaign that saw members of Sinn Féin imprisoned, that the Government changed the law to take the power to set the rate on Bin Charges out of the hands of the elected representatives of the people and put it in the hands of the City and County managers across the state.
"We opposed this legislation in Leinster House and on the streets of Dublin. We will continue to oppose its outworkings in the Council chamber and as a result tonight all ten Sinn Féin councillors will be voting no to the Estimates."