Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Press Release - South Dublin Bin Charge Hike Due to Fianna Fáil, says Looney

Labour Party Cllr Dermot Looney has said Fianna Fáil are to blame for a 31% increase in bin charges in South Dublin County Council. Looney was commenting in the wake of yesterday’s (July 12th) decision by the County Manager to proceed with the bin charge increase despite Councillors passing a motion proposed by Looney against the hike.

Looney’s motion against the rise in bin charges, which won support from all Cllrs other than the three Fianna Fáil members present, noted the VAT charge of 13.5% and Minister Gormley’s increased landfill levy as part of the reason for the increase. In a speech on the motion, Looney also noted the decision by Fianna Fáil in Government in 2003 via the so-called “Protection of the Environment Act” to take away powers on waste charges from elected Councillors and give them to unelected County Managers.

“Fianna Fáil’s latest assault on local residents comes in the form of another jumped-up stealth tax,” said Looney, “and despite all the guff we heard at Monday’s Council meeting, they are squarely to blame for the increase.”

“Fianna Fáil attempts to blame Labour or any other party for the increase are beyond hypocrisy. Fianna Fáil decided in 2003 to take away powers from Councillors to impose and decide the level of charges and hand them to the County Manager. The Government are imposing 13.5% VAT on the charges by transposing an EU directive which benefits private waste conglomerates at the expense of ordinary people. Fianna Fáil and the Greens support year-on-year increases in Minister Gormley’s landfill levy, which has doubled since 2006 at a cost of millions to South Dublin.”

“Moreover, Minister Gormley and the FF/Green Government continue to give the two fingers to South Dublin by crediting the residents in our county with the lowest Local Government Fund allocation in Ireland. The chronic shortfall in support from central government has led to the further stretching of Council finances.”

“It is regrettable that the County Manager over-rode the decision of the people’s representatives on the Council – but let’s not forget who is to blame for this lack of democracy,” said Looney.

Charges for the standard black bin and newly-introduced brown bin will increase by almost a third from August 1st. Charges for black bins, currently at €8 per lift, will rise to €10.50, while the charge for brown bins, which deal with food and garden waste, is set to rise from €4 per lift to €5.25. Looney has said that the announcement could mean an extra €100 per year burden on local families as well as a further economic and environmental cost to the area because of increased fly-tipping and dumping.


Motion below

Motion Pursuant to Headed Item 12; Proposed Cllr Dermot Looney

We the elected members of South Dublin County Council oppose and condemn the decision by the Fianna Fáil/Green Government to impose VAT on the bin collection charge. Furthermore we condemn the increase of the Landfill Tax which has led to this proposed hike in the household bin charge. We call on the Manager not to increase bin charges.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Press Release: Looney urges no deal with Veolia on SDCC over Israeli involvement

Cllr. Dermot Looney, a Labour party representative on South Dublin County Council, is demanding that the Council refuse to deal with French multinational company Veolia given their role in building an illegal light rail system in East Jerusalem. Looney is bringing a motion to tomorrow’s (July 12th) full Council meeting to highlight the construction of a light rail system linking Israel to illegal settlements in East Jerusalem, and the involvement of Veolia, who run the LUAS service in Dublin as well as waste and water services across the world.

Looney’s motion comes on foot of similar motions passing in Dublin City Council, Galway City Council, Sligo County Council, Donegal County Council and Castlebar Town Council, and has the full support of the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. A similar motion will also be brought to Fingal County Council tomorrow by Labour Councillor Patrick Nulty.

“Veolia’s involvement in this project is utterly illegal and immoral,” stated Looney “and I am asking South Dublin Councillors to join forces in demanding that the County Manager does not sign any contracts with Veolia.”

“Ireland has a long record of international solidarity, including the historic role of Irish people in opposing apartheid in South Africa through boycotts and other actions. I believe that the representatives of a quarter of a million citizens in South Dublin are right to demand an ethical procurement policy which will rule out Veolia until such time as they disinvest from this illegal light rail system,” said Looney.

John Dorman, Divestment Officer with the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said that "the IPSC fully supports Cllr. Looney's motion, and strongly encourages all councillors in South Dublin County Council to vote in favour of it. They will be following in the proud footsteps of their colleagues in councils in Dublin, Galway and Sligo who have also adopted similar motions saying 'no' to a company that collaborates with the Israeli.state's theft of Palestinian land. Furthermore, the IPSC encourages all Irish town, city and county councils to pass such motions."


Text of motion is as follows;


“That this Council, in light of the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people, recognises (1) that Veolia is a leading partner in the consortium contracted to build a light railway system linking Israel to illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, (2) that the Irish government and the U.N does not recognise Israel’s annexation and occupation of East Jerusalem and have repeatedly stated their views that the Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank contravene international law and (3) that Veolia’s involvement in the project is in contravention of the UN’s stated demand that Israeli settlement activities and occupation should not be supported, and calls on the County Manager not to sign any new or renew any existing contracts with Veolia.”

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Press Release: Looney Slams Bin Charge Hike in South Dublin

Cllr Dermot Looney, a Labour Party representative on South Dublin County Council, has said news of an increase in bin charges in South Dublin is a further blow to hard-pressed local residents. Charges for the standard black bin and newly-introduced brown bin will increase by almost a third from August 1st. Charges for black bins, currently at €8 per lift, will rise to €10.50, while the charge for brown bins, which deal with food and garden waste, is set to rise from €4 per lift to €5.25. Looney has said that the announcement could mean an extra €100 per year burden on local families.

“Local residents are already bearing the brunt of the recession with job losses, pay cuts and cutbacks to community services,” said Cllr Looney. “One of the few hoped-for benefits would have been a freeze on costs due to the low inflation or even deflation in the economy. Instead, though, one of the necessary services upon which hard-pressed local residents rely is set to jump by a third.”

“For a large family who need to leave out a black bin and a brown bin every two weeks, this represents an increase of €97.50, from €312 per annum to €409.50. As well as the economic cost to local people, there is evidence to show an environmental impact to such decisions, with fly-tipping and dumping set to rise.”

“The increases come in part from an EU decision to level the playing field between public and private waste operators, meaning that local authorities now have to charge VAT on their bin collections; great news for private waste companies, but not for local citizens. Furthermore, the fact that South Dublin County Council receive less per head of population than any other local authority from Minister Gormley’s Local Government Fund means that Council finances are already at a stretch.”

“These increases are an executive function of the Council, meaning that they are introduced by Council officials without the involvement of local elected representatives. Nevertheless, I will be calling on officials to cancel the increase and safeguard the under-threat waiver system at the full Council meeting next Monday.”