Swords survey sparks call for alternative bin service

Deputy Clare Daly TD and activist, Dean Mulligan launching their report on bin services, in Swords.

John ManningFingal Independent

A Swords TD has pledged to work to develop an alternative 'cooperative, not-for-profit' alternative to private bin collection services in Fingal after a survey she conducted in Swords revealed deep dissatisfaction with the rising costs of household waste collection.

A new survey conducted in Swords has found massive opposition to new bin charges being phased in for local customers and shows more than 90% of locals favour bin collection services being put back in public hands or being run on a 'not-for-profit' basis.

Independents4Change TD, Clare Daly and local activist, Dean Mulligan conducted the survey among almost 1,000 households in the River Valley are of Swords which has recently been seeing evidence of bin collection price hikes in the bills dropping through their letterboxes.

The survey, conducted in 930 households in the area, revealed that over 86% of those private bin collection company customers felt their bills were too high.

Respondents were even stronger in their conviction that the service should go back under the control of Fingal County Council, with just over 91.1% favouring that move while an even higher figure, 98.5% would support the establishment of a 'not-for-profit cooperative bin service for the Fingal area'.

Commenting on the results of the survey which was launched on Monday in Swords, at the council depot and bottle bank at Watery Lane, local TD, Clare Daly said: 'With the introduction of recent bin charge hikes to cover recycling costs the wheel has come full circle on the bin tax issue.

'Fifteen years ago communities across north county Dublin campaigned against the introduction of bin charges, warning they would lead to privatization of the service & price increases.

'This was denied, we were told it was a measure to encourage recycling, that 'you only pay for what you throw away', as if residents were the producers of waste. If this was about recycling they would have tackled the packaging companies and the real producers of waste',

Deputy Daly added: 'With the new recycling charges, bins are being rejected for the slightest contamination in recycling bins with extra charges and bins being left behind.

'Already this has led to a sharp rise in items going into black bins and reports of even worse than usual illegal dumping in our rural communities.'

The Swords TD said: 'The report commissioned by my office, with the survey conducted by Dean Mulligan is incredibly timely.

'There is a massive desire for the remunicipalisation of the service with 91.1% of residents supporting it and deep discontent with the present situation. We look forward to bringing the information back to the community and actively developing an alternative co-operative service.'

Dean Mulligan said: 'Conducting the survey was an incredible experience.

'We spoke to 930 households in River Valley and the anger was enormous. The report presents our findings.

'It puts the issue squarely in the context of privatization & the history of waste collection in Ireland over the past number of years. In terms of recycling only 35.7% believe they get adequate advice and information on recycling with almost two out of three people believing that they don't. There is a total lack of awareness of the impact of the legislation.'

Mr Mulligan concluded: 'The key finding we will be moving on is the fact that 98.5% of residents expressed interest in a local not for profit co-operative waste collection service. I will be going back on the doorsteps with the survey and working with Trademark who prepared the report for us to make this a reality, and convening a follow-on meeting in the coming weeks.'