Aileen Hahesy and Eamonn Wynne
Fears are mounting among South Tipperary’s public representatives that the illegal dumping of rubbish will increase when the county’s refuse charges waiver scheme for people on low incomes ends in November.
Such is their concern that a letter from the County Council is to be sent to Environment and Local Government Minister Phil Hogan urging him to announce the date when the proposed new national refuse charges waiver scheme will be set up.
Councillors have also appealed to County Council management to request the private waste company, Country Clean, that has taken over the local authority’s waste collection service to continue the existing waiver scheme operating in the county until a national one is set up.
When the Council sold its waste collection service last year, it was agreed that the refuse charges waiver scheme available to those in financial hardship would continue for a further 12 months. That free refuse service will end on October 31.
The Council’s Senior Engineer in Environment and Water Services, Denis Holland, informed the local authority’s monthly meeting that it was the Government’s intention to introduce a national household refuse charges waiver scheme and other alternative schemes for those on low income.
An inter-departmental working group examining the issue was to report back to the Government by October with recommendations on measures to minimise the impact of waste charges on people with low incomes, he explained.
But Cllr. Pat English pointed out that this meant there wouldn’t be a new waiver scheme in place by October and requested that the Council write to the Minister asking him to set a date for the national waiver scheme.
It was agreed to do this and at the request of Cllrs Michael Murphy and Michael Fitzgerald, Mr Holland agreed to have discussions with Country Clean in relation to continuing the free refuse service until an alternative national waiver scheme is put in place.
Speaking at the monthly meeting of Cashel Town Council, Cllr Joe Moloney said the cut-off date was drawing near and this would be very serious for many Council tenants.
He warned that people would come crying to the Council about this - “they won’t go anywhere else” - because the waiver system had been set up by the Council.
Town Manager Sean Keating said it had been agreed in principle that there would be a national waiver scheme. All that had to be decided was how it would be implemented.