The meeting was chaired by Richard Boyd Barrett who was also the only speaker (a man of miracles and coming shortly to a local election near you &endash; cynical moi?)
In fairness to him he did a really excellent job of outlining the double taxation arguments, pointing out who the real polluters where and so on. He also, again, repeated the crucial point that non payment is much higher in Dun Laoghaire then any where else and has increased &endash; according to our Freedom of Information request to the council in June (??) &endash; 48,000 out of 62,000 owed money and even THEIR OWN FIGURES in the disconnection letter sent out this week 53% STILL owe money
So this is the situation so far as I can understand it from him and from a friendly bin man who turned up to support us and said that the lads were with us to a man
Either next week or the week after &endash; but quite probably next week the council will implement their "strategy"
The bins will all be emptied then a second lorry will be right behind this accompanied by supervisors with clip boards &endash; their job will be to use the serial numbers on the bins or the addresses people have painted on to identify wheelie bins of non payers. These will then be lifted into the second lorry and borne away
Our response &endash; which was adopted unanimously by this meeting and one in Rathsallagh/Skankill will be
1. To follow the bin lorries and wrest the bins back into people's houses &endash; If it is on their property it cannot be taken
2. obscure the numbers on the bins OR swap bins with people who are willing to do it ONLY
3. Blockades will be considered but only as a measure of last resort
The mood at the meeting was very angry and about 50 people volunteered to take part in 4 separate groups to start action from next week. The point was also made many times that we must not be splitinto payers and non payers &endash; many have only paid because they have too and that we should aim to have ALL BINS collected
The lad who was there from the bins made some very interesting points both there and after the meeting:
The bin workers completely support us and believe that losing this will be privatisation for them &endash; I would say the bin men in Dun Loaghaire seem to be closer to the campaign then any other area
They intend to pick up all rubbish if it is put out in black bags even if wheelie bins are taken
He expressed severe doubt as to whether "spare men" could be found to actually take people bins as it was no way a part of their normal duties
He believed that if Sandy ford was picketed the men would refuse to go out
He proposed (and it is being done) that we circulate a petition to all SIPTU bin men in 4 areas so they could, at least, express their support for non payment &endash; obviously it would be very difficult for them to take action
They are receiving no backing from SIPTU he proposed a picket &endash; even a sit-in in liberty hall to make them implement their anti service charges policy
There are further meetings upcoming in Sallynoggin and Monkstown I think. I have also heard that there was a large meeting 100+ in Dundrum &endash; further info below
(Here's a report from Terry who is the editor of http://www.stopthebintax.com on the Dundrum meeting)
Note the "speculation" below is now actuality eg THEY WILL TRY TO TAKE THE BINS - BE VIGILINT !
Sept 24th 2003 - Report on the Dundrum Meeting against the Service Charges
The meeting last night was packed out with well over 120 people attending. The mood was angry and defiant. One of the things that kept coming upon was that the union leadership are not in touch with their membership's wishes. Indeed one person derided the union saying that nobody attended branch meetings anymore. Presumably this is because power long ago slipped away from the membership and up towards the leadership. Another important theme was the digust by the public that the council has consistently lied about their payment figures which has been proved over and over again with figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. (See also Union Leadership Fighting Against Us )
Lisa Maher reported on the campaign so far and what is and has been happening in the Fingal area and the blockades. The overwhelming majority were up for taking some form of action and it was agreed this will soon happen. The idea is for people to get in contact with people on their own estates and neighbouring areas too. That there are many things you can do, and it doesn't necessarily having to be standing in front of a bin lorry. You can help by communicating to others for example; when the bin lorries are in the area, calling on neigbours, coming out on the roads and walking along with the bin lorries making sure they collect all rubbish.
It was pointed out that in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, the council owns the bin and 'rents' them to you. It has been speculated they may take your rubbish and then a truck following behind will collect those bins of those who have not paid. It was stated that these officials do not have the right to come on to your property to take these bins off you. Therefore as soon as your bin is collected, we should be ready to immediately pull them back into our gardens and to do likewise for our neighbours if they are not there.
Mick Murphy reported from Dublin South and how the anger is very evident there. Over 75% have not paid and he pointed out that we have a real chance of victory, because the councils have barely made a dent into the heartlands of these areas and that they are really up against massive opposition.
related link: http://www.stopthebintax.com