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Bin charges row set to escalate as council pursues 'get tough' policy

FURTHER protests are expected today following Fingal County Council's insistence last night it will press ahead with its new policy of collecting only the bins of householders who have paid their charges.

Bins were left uncollected in many parts of north Dublin yesterday as protesters objecting to bin charges took to the streets.

Binmen found their paths blocked by protesters offering them cups of tea as they attempted to enforce the new council policy.

According to the council, people whose bins were uncollected yesterday will have to wait until next week to have them removed.

One option the council could exercise is to go to the High Court today to seek an injunction to halt protests.

During the protests, the crew of one bin lorry was trapped in a housing estate for nearly 16 hours.

The crew had arrived at Willow Estate in Hartstown, Clonsilla at about 8.30am, but soon found themselves caught by a picket. The truck finally pulled out of the area around midnight after the protesters moved out of the way. A second lorry was also held in the area into the evening.

A spokesman said two out of 10 householders in the city had yet to pay charges, and the council would target these. In Fingal yesterday, officials attempted to thwart protests by sending more than the usual 10 bin lorries, many before schedule.

But protest tactics meant several lorries found their paths blocked and bins on their routes later remained unemptied - despite many having been tagged, indicating charges had been paid.

Those taking part in the protests had their names and addresses taken by gardai and were warned they could face prosecution.

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Socialist Party councillor Clare Daly said further protests were planned for Blanchardstown, Castleknock, and Swords today.

A council spokeswoman said it would also be today before they would know how many bins were uncollected yesterday.

The council estimates 25pc of people would be entitled to a bin charge waiver due to low incomes, unemployed, or elderly status. The tags' cost is ?5 for a black plastic bin plus a green recycling bin, and ?3 for those who do not have a recycling bin.

Many households said yesterday that, while they objected to charges, they would prefer to pay rather than have bins uncollected.

In Portmarnock, leaflets were pushed through doors urging people who had tagged their bins to remove them, while council officials claimed protesters had removed tags from many bins in parts of Blanchardstown and Portmarnock.

A statement from a group calling itself the Dublin City Campaign Against the Bin Tax said they planned to protest outside Dublin City Council refuse depots.

Spokeswoman Brid Smith said the protests were being organised to show solidarity with the people of Fingal.

The Fingal County Council spokeswoman said the purpose of the bin charges was to encourage people to reduce waste and to recycle, and was based on the principle of people paying according to the amount of rubbish they produced.

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