Fórsa has welcomed the allocation of €75,000 to investigate the feasibility of bringing Dublin City Council’s refuse and waste management services back into local authority control. The decision, which is included in the council’s 2020 budget, comes on foot of recommendations by a working group on remunicipalisation of the service, which was privatised in 2011.
The council will now seek tenders for a research project in partnership with a third level institution. It is expected that the duration of the project will be between a year and 18 months, which means it will report within the lifetime of the existing council.
Earlier this year, a waste management proposal was put to the council by the working group – made up of councillors and union representatives – on foot of a cross-party composite motion, which called for the remunicipalisation of household waste services. The motion was passed last July.
The council working group responsible for the remunicipalisation of waste services recommended that Dublin City Council should use the research to develop a roadmap to a new waste management system for the capital. Other recommendations included examining the challenges that face the project and ensuring that people with the necessary expertise are included in its planning and execution.
Peter Nolan, who heads Fórsa’s Municipal Employees’ and Local Government divisions, said the current system of unregulated private waste collection had led to a chaotic market, increased costs and a huge growth in illegal dumping in and around the capital. “Given the evidence, it is clear that a public waste collection service will provide a more efficient service to the citizens of Dublin. We need a new approach that expands the scope and quality of refuse and waste services so that Dublin can reach its full potential as a place to live, work, visit and do business,” he said.
Fórsa and other unions in the local government sector, which collectively represent over 30,000 council staff, have been campaigning for increased local authority powers and functions, and for directly-elected mayors and restored and expanded town councils. Their 'More Power to You' campaign calls for substantially increased revenue and funding powers for local authorities.
They have published research that shows Irish councils have less autonomy from central government than their counterparts in 39 European countries, that only 8% of Irish public spending occurs at local government level compared to an EU23 average of over 23%, and that a quarter of the Irish spend is not fully under local authority control. With just one city or county council for every 148,507 people, Ireland has far fewer local municipalities than similar-sized European countries.