Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Labour City Councillors to Table Motion on Greyhound Rubbish Collection

Statement by Dublin City Council Labour Group

The Dublin City Council Labour Group has today continued to express its disappointment at the behaviour of the Greyhound Waste Management Company and Dublin City Council management and will be raising the issue at the Finance and the Environment and Engineering Committees tomorrow.

The Group will also be meeting with the Dublin City Manager and other senior officials to seek the necessary changes. "We are deeply alarmed with the requirement of customers to pay an up-front fee of €100 in order to have the service provided. Councillors had not been told about this in advance. Given that we are in the post-Christmas period, not least recognising the financial difficulties which many are already experiencing, we are calling for a change in the ways which people can pay.

The City Manager must renegotiate the terms of the agreement, and allow residents to pay the standing charge in stages rather than a once off "up front" payment. Also methods of payment like Standing order must be made available to customers.

"We are puzzled by Fianna Fail councillors’ sudden eagerness on this issue. They appear to have forgotten that it was their own party in 2004 which stripped away powers from City Councillors to deal with waste management issues like this. The time for hypocritical political posturing is gone, we are now asking for proper dialogue to occur to solve this issue.

"The Labour Party Group is dedicated to working for real Local Government Reform. As local representatives we are asking for Dublin City Council management to engage with us so that a better, more transparent and user friendly service can be offered to the citizens of Dublin. We have also arranged a delegation to meet the City Manager on the issue also tomorrow, and we are hopeful that a resolution can reached. "

Monday, January 16, 2012

Proinsias de Rossa - A Tireless Campaigner and a Great MEP for Dublin

I wish to pay tribute to Proinsias de Rossa who has indicated that he is to stand down as MEP next month.

Since 1999, the people of Dublin has been very well represented by Proinsias, a man who has given a lifetime to public service as a TD, Minister and MEP. Proinsias has been a tireless campaigner for civil and human rights, both at home and abroad, and in particular has been to the fore in campaigning for workers’ rights and for the rights of women.
He has championed the marginalised and less well off in our society, and as Minister for Social Welfare in the 90s, affected many changes including establishment of the first National Anti-Poverty Strategy. As an MEP he has played a leading role in trying to bring about solutions to the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict. He will be a hard act to follow.

I was deeply honoured to have been elected in March 2009, by members of the Labour Party to go before the people of Dublin as first substitute in the 2009 European Election, and I am delighted to have the opportunity now, to succeed Proinsias as MEP. I am looking forward to taking up the challenge of serving the people of Dublin. I believe that my experience as a City Councillor and particularly as former Lord Mayor of Dublin will be invaluable in representing Dubliners’ interests in Europe. In particular I look forward to taking up the place on the European Parliament Employment and Social Affairs Committee, and bringing to it, the benefit of my own experience from the Lord Mayor’s Commission on Employment which I established in 2009.

Chaos as Dublin City Council hands over Waste Contract to Greyhound

The Dublin City Council bin service is being handed over to Greyhound Recycling from the week beginning 16th January. The Labour group on the City Council opposed the privatisation of this service, but under the Protection of the Environment Act 2003, which was enacted by Fianna Fail, the decision to privatise the service was within the power of Dublin City Council management. The Council voted on a number of occasions to oppose the privatisation, but our wishes were ignored by the Council management.
With a drip feed of information to both Councillors and residents, there has been significant problems with the bin service today and there is likely to be further confusion. If you are experiencing problems with your service you can contact to Greyhound Recycling directly on 1890 98 99 98 by email dublincity@greyhound.ie Please copy the email to me at emer.costello@dublincity.ie
City Councillors were dismayed at the January City Council meeting to learn of the arrangments or lack of arrangements which had been put in place.
(See Evening Herald Report: Outrage over upfront fee in bins shake-up)
Please find below a list of key details relating to the changeover which you may find helpful.
Payment to Greyhound
You have 30 days from 16 January to pay the standing charge which remains at the 2011 price. After 15 February, Greyhound will not collect bins from households who have not paid the Annual The Labour Group on Dublin City Council is putting forward proposals to the City Manager seeking a phased payment in relation to the standing charge.
Service Charge
The current annual service charge is:
240 litre Black Bin - €100
140 litre Black Bin - €80
Price Per Lift
240 litre Black Bin - €6
140 litre Black Bin - €3.60
Brown Bin - €2
Please note that Greyhound is proposing to operate a pre pay system. You are required to ensure that your Greyhound account has .sufficient funds to meet the current cost of each black and brown bin lift. If you do not have sufficient funds in your account for the cost of a Black or Brown bin, you will not have your bin collected. You can top up - On-line at http://www.greyhound.ie/, at local shops using Payzone or at any post office
Green Bins
You will receive a bar-coded label for your green bin once you have paid the Annual Service Charge. Once you place this label on your green bin, you will have your green bin collected free of charge. Green bins presented for collection without the bar-coded label will not be collected.
Bag Collection Tags
If you use bag collection tags Greyhound will continue to provide this service for areas that have no bins. Your Dublin City Council tags will still be valid until 16th March 2012. After this you can buy Greyhound issued tags from your normal outlets. The cost for bag labels will remain unchanged for an initial period of at least 6 months.
Green bags can continue to be used in conjunction with the waste collection. Greyhound will continue to print and deliver their own green bags in bag areas.
Waivers
Any customer who had a waiver of the standing charge approved by the City Council at 9th December 2011 will continue to benefit from a waiver with Greyhound for 2012.
As a waiver customer you are not required to pay the annual charge for 2012.
If your account is in credit
Any credit that you may have on your account will not transfer to Greyhound Recycling. Refunds will be considered on application to the Revenue Unit of Dublin City Council accompanied with proof of who made the initial payment.
Outstanding Charges
Dublin City Council operated a system of quarterly payments. You will receive a bill to cover the period 1st October 2011 to the 16th January 2012. The bill will be issued by Greyhound Recycling who will be collecting outstanding monies on behalf of Dublin City Council.
Arrears
If you currently have arrears on your account after 16th January 2012, customers pay Greyhound directly for any outstanding monies owed.
Dublin City Council Recycling Centres
Dublin City Council’s Recycling Centres will continue to operate as normal. Bagged household domestic waste will continue to be accepted at both Ringsend and North Strand Recycling Centres. A charge of €4 applies for each 80 litre bag of domestic waste disposed of.
bFurther information can be obtained from the FAQ page on the Dublin City Council website




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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Good News Stories for the North Inner City

It is heartening despite the current difficult times to see a number of local and national strategic projects being carried out in the North Inner City.
Work is due to commence on the €650 million Children's Hospital on Eccles Street this year.
The Luas BXD which will run from St Stephen's Green to Broombridge via Grangegorman and linking the two existing Luas lines will go ahead as planned.
The Smithfield Enhancement Project is a €5.2 million Project funded jointly by Dublin City Council and the European Union is almost complete. The first two phases are complete and the work is due to be complete by Summer 2012.
The Lighthouse Cinema on Smithfield is set to reopen and will play host to events for the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.
Dublin City Council has ambitious plans for the redevelopment of the Fruit and Vegetable Market as a Food Retail Hall along the lines of the English Market in Cork.
Work is progressing apace on the replacement Mental Health Facility for St Brendan's Hospital at Grangegorman. Work commenced in July 2011 and is due to be complete by October 2012.
Plans are proceeding to deliver DIT Campus at Grangegorman the project on a phased basis.
Work on the long awaited Fairview Park and Playground commenced on 12 December and is due to be complete by summer 2012.
Dublin City Council recently secured funding for a Multi User Games Area (MUGA) at Augrhrim Street/Drumalee. which is due to be opened shortly.
Plans are continuing for the redevelopment of O'Devaney Gardens and Dominick Street.
Dublin City Council has agreed to sell a site at Dominick Street (subject to planning permission) for a replacement school for Colaiste Mhuire Primary School currently located at Parnell Square.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Smart Cities Need to Maximise Use of New Technology during Emergencies


The Dublin Floods of 24th October were discussed at the monthly City Council meeting tonight.
Moving tributes were paid to Garda Ciaran Jones and Nurse Cecilia Jesus who tragically lost their lives in the floods.
While the efforts of the Emergency Services, including the Fire Brigade, Civil Defence, Gardai and City Council staff were commended, Counclllors were critical of the Council's communications handling of the event.
It is still not clear why no flood warning was issued in the course of the day -given the intensity of the rain. It is unacceptable that the "Emergency Plan" was not activated until 8pm by which time much of the City was immersed in water.
I witnessed at first hand the floods in Sheriff Street, East Wall and North Strand on the night and visited many homes in Cabra the following day. I saw the devastation the floods caused to people's homes and their lives. I listened to the complaints of residents who relayed stories of how they could not get through to the emergency numbers and that promises of updates and to return calls were not fulfilled. I was struck with the number of people who expressed their frustration that the City Council website contained no information or updates - even on matters as basic as where to access sandbags.
The aftermath of the floods will pose their own problems - financial assistance for those whose homes were destroyed, insurance issues, flood prevention in the future.
It is time we ensured that we maximise the use of existing technology and social networking to get the information to people during an emergency.
Link to my full statement after City Council meeting is here