Families told -- pay up or bin service will stop

Cormac Murphy

THOUSANDS of families looking for reduced bin charges have been warned their collection service may be withdrawn.

Dublin City Council issued the letters to up to 16,000 households who have sought bin waivers under the local authority's reformed system.

But the council told the Herald the situation has arisen as it has been unable to process all the applications because of the sheer number of claims.

"There were so many people applying for the waiver that it was impossible to process them all in the time frame. With the downturn in the economy, there have been far more applications for waivers," a spokesman said.


The confusion was caused after changes to the waiver regime, forcing potential recipients to re-apply for the discounted charges.

The changes were introduced after revelations that some households on more than €1,000 a week had reduced fees.

Earlier this year, the local authority imposed a maximum household income limit of €600 on customers if they were to qualify for the waiver. As a result of the large number of applicants, the council has yet to process 16,000 claims for 2011.

While many of these applicants would qualify, they have been sent letters seeking payment of the full charge.

Householders who don't pay could have their collection service withdrawn, says the letter.

Families have now been assured by the council that if they qualify for a waiver, they will have the standing charge reimbursed.

A review of the waste collection system earlier this year showed some households earning more than €1,000 a week were receiving a waiver.

It included a household of four with a total weekly income of €1,186.10 and a household of seven with a combined weekly income of €1,331.30.

The earnings in question were either social welfare or old age pension benefits. However, families earning less money were unable to qualify because there was a person working and paying tax in the household.

"To ensure fairness to all customers it is considered reasonable that there should be an upper income limit for qualification for a waiver of waste management charges," it had said. A figure of €600 for weekly household income is considered reasonable as an upper limit, it added.