Councillor breaks ranks over rubbish crisis

WATERFORD county councillor Brendan Mansfield has broken ranks with his council colleagues by making public details of private discussions on solutions to an impending waste crisis in the area.

The Sinn Féin councillor says he is not going to be “muzzled” by local authority management and will give the public whatever information he feels is in their interest, irrespective of any penalties threatened against him.

The council met in private to discuss the possible privatisation of the brown, organic bin collection in the county.

While management said it was prudent to hold such a session in private, Mr Mansfield says neither he nor the party believe that such sessions should be held in private.

“As an elected representative, I feel that the public which elected me have every right to know exactly what is going on within Waterford County Council. I do not feel it would be in the public interest to keep this information to myself. Sinn Féin will not be sucked in or become part of any cosy cartel. The elected representatives were informed by the County Manager that if information from this meeting was given to the media that he would take a very dim view of it and in future may make decisions without consulting with any councillors.

“Sinn Féin view this as a derogation of responsibilities by the County Manager,” Mr Mansfield said.

“Certain unelected officials seem to have the view that information is a gift, Sinn Féin would like to point out to them that information is not a gift: it is the right of all councillors as elected officials to receive information and if necessary, Sinn Féin would be prepared to go through the courts to receive any information which they feel they need.”

County Manager Ray O’Dwyer declined to comment last night.

Four proposals were mooted to councillors at the session as a way of dealing with the organic bin collection service, the most costly of the three bin services operated by the county council.

The first option discussed was to increase the price of the tag for the Organic Brown Bin Collection from €7.50 to €8. But another hike would be likely after Christmas. The second option mooted was to cut the number of council lorries on the road and extend the service from once a fortnight to every three weeks.

Option three was to introduce an annual fee of €35 and a tag-a-bin system, while option four would be to privatise the service.

More in this section