Householders hoarding rubbish in homes to avoid refuse charges

Householders in Kerry are increasingly hoarding waste in spare rooms, backyards, and attics because they cannot afford refuse charges, a council meeting heard.

Council workers in Kerry are now carrying out inspections of local authority properties on foot of complaints from neighbours and in some cases, family members.

The matter arose at a council meeting of the South and West Municipal District in Killorglin. It heard that the storage of the rubbish is leading to problems with rats in Killarney.

The practice is also growing in other parts of the region including Killorglin, Kenmare, Cahirciveen, and Dingle, said Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Cahill.

“This is not confined to local authority properties — it is taking place in privately owned dwellings too. It’s a worrying trend and it is on the increase. It is all down to financial pressure. People are in dire straits, and the recession in Kerry is far from over. In fact it is only kicking now in many cases,” he said.

Some people simply cannot afford refuse charges, and Mr Cahill wants the council to intervene and declare “an amnesty”. In some cases, it might be necessary for council workers to be called in to clear houses of waste, he said.

Kerry County Council’s housing department has said it is” aware of some issues” and was actively carrying out inspections of properties where the matter has been brought to its attention.

“We would also carry out regular inspections of areas where an incident of hoarding rubbish had previously occurred to ensure it did not develop again,” said a spokesperson.

Waste collection was now privatised in Kerry, the council could not intervene in the costs associated with it, and there was no funding available to the housing department to subsidise refuse disposal costs for individual households, it also said.

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