Greyhound only collect 10pc of €12m bin debts

Niall O'Connor

GREYHOUND Recycling has collected less than 10pc of the multi-million-euro bin debt it is chasing on behalf of Dublin City Council, new figures reveal.

The waste collection firm has recouped just over €1.6m since taking over the service -- with close to €12m still being pursued.

The amount still owed to the taxpayer is sure to alarm city bosses, with well placed sources suggesting that it will result in Greyhound adopting "more aggressive tactics" when pursuing householders.

The sum still owed lays bare how much the service was losing when it was under public ownership.

The figures come just weeks after the Herald revealed that Greyhound had employed a Cork-based debt collector to chase householders who are still in arrears.

The boss of Payaway Debt Management Solutions confirmed that the company does hire people to call directly to homes to collect debts.

The news prompted outrage among city councillors, who fear the elderly and hard-pressed families would be frightened if collectors knocked on their doors.

rigorous

However council bosses are seriously concerned at the amount of debt.

According to the figures supplied to Independent councillor Mannix Flynn, €11.6m is still outstanding, €2.42m of it relating to the final quarter of 2011.

Damian Drumm, council executive manager, described the arrears as "challenging".

He added: "The agreement reached provides that Greyhound will use reasonable endeavours, in accordance with its own policies and procedures for collecting arrears and applying methods no more (but no less) rigorous than it would if the debts were owed directly to Greyhound, to collect, or procure the collection of the debts for and on behalf of the City Council."

Cllr Flynn said that it is "highly important" that the outstanding debt is collected while still respecting those in arrears.

"The fact of the matter is we have two companies profiting from the misery of families, while at the same time debt is not being collected properly or efficiently. It's essential that we know how much Greyhound is getting to collect this money."

Greyhound declined to comment.

hnews@herald.ie