THE country’s largest local authority is expected to axe its refuse collection service, which will affect 37,000 commercial and domestic customers.
Sources within Cork County Council have indicated it cannot continue to fund the loss-making service and will shortly seek “expressions of interest” from the private sector.
Council management will meet with staff unions this afternoon and Eddie Mullins of SIPTU has said the council will have a “problem” if it tries to force through the outsourcing without agreement.
No date has yet been fixed for the termination of the council’s service, but it’s expected it will happen before the end of the year.
County manager Martin Riordan was asked yesterday to comment on persistent rumours that he was about to pull the plug on the service amid speculation he had already put out feelers to the private sector.
Labour Councillor John Mulvihill tried to have the issue raised in County Hall. But Mr Riordan said he wouldn’t be making any public statement at present, although he admitted the service was experiencing “difficulties”.
However, after the meeting Mr Riordan held private talks with party leaders and outlined the situation with the service, which is projected to make a €3.5 million loss in the next year.
It is believed the council is preparing to bring in experts to value the business before it puts it out to tender. Talks will then take place with unions representing refuse truck workers, who are likely to be redeployed to other jobs within the council.
It is as yet unclear what the council intends to do with a €50m superdump it has developed at Bottlehill, 22km north of Cork city.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved