10 January 2002 Edition

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Laois waste charges hike slammed

Sinn Féin Portlaoise Councillor Brian Stanley has slammed the recent hike in refuse collection charges in County Laois as a "rip off."

"The increases just introduced are outrageous and represent an increase of between 50% and 60%," he said. "A standard household bin is now €34 or £26.78 per month. The refuse collection company, which is now operating as a cartel, cannot justify this increase. Landfill charges have been increased by the County Council but not by this amount and it also needs to be taken into account that landfill charges only represent part of their operating cost. The question must be asked - have the refuse companies given their workers a 55% wage increase?

"Those political parties that voted for the privatisation of the refuse service said there would be competition and that householders would have a choice as to which company collected their waste. The reality in Laois is there has been a price cartel between the two refuse companies and now we have a situation where these are now amalgamated into one. This means the company has a monopoly and can charge what they like."

Stanley said that illegal dumping has increased in recent weeks and can only get worse as the price increases come into effect. With little or no progress on the provision of recycling facilities, waste management in Laois is in a shambles. "Those politicians who are in favour of this service remaining under private control must now explain their position."

Stanley is calling on Laois County Council to take control of the service away from the private company and to begin providing a proper and affordable refuse collection service to householders in the county.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1