Cork faces health crisis over waste, council told

Eoin English

“There are now thousands of black bags lining the streets of Cork,” Green Party Cllr Chris O’Leary said.

“The city manager’s only response so far has been to put illegal dumping stickers on the bags.

“While it is vital to tackle the issue of illegal dumping, simply leaving the bags on the streets, as is currently happening in Cork, is not the answer.

“As a result we are now faced with a serious health and safety crisis,” he said.

Rats have been spotted near piles of bags in some parts of the city, he said.

But his suggestions of a waste crisis were dismissed.

Manager Joe Gavin said the dumping was being carried out by a small minority of people.

“We will pursue them through the courts,” he said.

Cllr Mary Shields said she hadn’t had any complaints from people in her ward about the new bins system.

Cllr Fergal Dennehy said: “I toured my ward and there is no problem.”

He also criticised the Householders Against Service Charges (HASC) group for plastering posters advertising a public meeting last night onto dozens of street poles.

Cllr Damian Wallace said he believed the rise in illegal dumping was part of an orchestrated campaign.

“There is an onus on you, manager, irrespective of the personal intimidation directed at you, to pursue these people and you will have the full support of council,” he said.

After the council meeting, the 70 people who attended a HASC meeting were encouraged to dump uncollected rubbish bags into bin lorries themselves if the council sticks to its policy of non-collection.

People were also encouraged to put pressure on SIPTU, which represents the most of council’s bin collectors, to ensure uncollected bags are removed from communities.

A massive city centre rally is also being planned.

“This is not a campaign of non-payment. This is a campaign of not paying twice for the service,” HASC’s Paddy Mulcahy said.

Mr Mulcahy, who was jailed in 1991 for non-payment of water charges, described the council’s new pay-by-use domestic refuse collection system as an “unjust double taxation”.

Fianna Fáil Cllr Terry Shannon described the HASC meeting as a “gathering of rabble”.

He warned the people of Cork to be wary of public pronouncements from “this well organised political campaign.”

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