EFFORTS to return waste management services to public ownership have begun in Cork.
Sinn Féin will table a motion in the coming weeks seeking to reclaim bin collections from private companies.
City councillors Kenneth Collins, Fiona Kerins and Henry Cremin have lodged a joint motion asking the council to set up a working group comprising of party members, group representatives and management to consider the economic viability of re-municipalising waste collection in the city.
Cork city’s waste collection services were privatised in 2012 despite public outcry.
The group proposed by Sinn Féin would be tasked with delivering a report to council members in November on the costs of delivering waste management across the city ahead of the local authority’s annual budget. Staff, fleet management, equipment and disposal costs would all have to be factored into estimates.
Dublin City Council has started a similar process to research how much returning waste collection to public ownership would cost.
The last year has seen a spate of high-profile illegal dumping incidents in the city, most notably at Spring Lane in Ballyvolane where the council had to fork out €53,000 for a large-scale clean-up operation.
The city council has issued 375 litter fines so far in 2019, with 116 of these paid and 23 prosecutions taken.
Mr Collins believes costs associated with private bin collections and illegal dumping are connected and believes Cork City Council should provide the service.
“[Waste collection] should never have been sold off in the first place and waste management is something that the local authority should be providing,” Mr Collins told The Echo.
“Over 95% of people pay their refuse charges at the moment but there is a small element that don’t and you can see the effects of that with the amount of illegal dumping that currently goes on in the city.
“Dublin City Council has already started a process to potentially bring waste management back into public ownership and we should follow suit in Cork.
“We want a committee set up that will look at how economically viable this is.
“The costs for the consumer in the private market are putting pressure on households where €5 a week can make a big difference. It can often be the difference between a pint of milk and a loaf of bread or a bag of nappies being bought, that’s the reality,” Mr Collins added.