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Families on €500 to be hit by bin charge

SOCIAL welfare recipients and pensioners with a combined household income of over €500 a week will not be entitled to a waste waiver scheme under a stealth rule introduced by Dublin City Council.

Councillors slammed what was described as a "cunning" rule, claiming council officials did not consult with them before the rule -- which could leave householders with bills running into hundreds of euro -- was changed.

According to councillors, Dublin City Council outlined in its earlier Waste Management Plan that elderly people and those below the low-income threshold would be automatically entitled to the waiver.

However, a reverse decision by the council manager in recent weeks means households with an upper weekly income limit above €500 will not be entitled to the scheme.

Assistant city manager Seamus Lyons said a "huge disparity" in the income wage of those applying for the scheme raised serious concern.



investigation

It was outlined that a massive 41,000 people applied for the scheme last year -- but an investigation into household incomes found that some families were "well able to afford" waste management, without having to apply for the scheme, he said.

Councillors angrily opposed the rule. They accused the council of "targeting the vulnerable in society."

Cllr Deirdre Heney (FF) said the fact that there was no consultation process before the rule change is enough cause for questions to be asked.

She said the council failed to take into account elderly people and those on social welfare.

She said she is sure there are "opportunistic" people applying for the scheme, but she argued that there are also "genuine people applying for the scheme".

In response Mr Lyons said he had no choice but to impose the upper income limit on households.

Cllr Brid Smith (PBP) also accused the council of "targeting the poor" and "secretly amending the rules".

Following the backlash, Mr Lyons said he would review the rule and report back to the council in two weeks.

hnews@herald.ie


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