South Dublin County Council &endash; rattled by the huge levels of non-payment of the bin tax &endash; has initiated what it describes as a "Pay By Volume Trial" in 5 selected areas across the County. The Council's own figures show that over two-thirds of those eligible to pay are boycotting what is widely viewed as an unfair double tax. Now they hope to make the tax appear more acceptable by making it a weekly rather than an annual payment.
Residents in the 5 selected trial areas &endash; in West Tallaght, Rathfarnham, North Clondalkin, Firhouse/Ballycullen and Lucan &endash; have been receiving trial packs of bin liners from the Council. These have the South Dublin County Council logo on them and householders are asked to use these liners in their wheelie bins. If the trial is successful, the Council intends to use this tactic as a means of identifying who has paid the charge. Under legislation passed by the Dáil before the summer, local authorities now have the right to refuse to collect bins from people who don't pay the tax.
The Council is also attempting to sell this initiative by claiming that it will be cheaper on the householder. In promotional literature sent to residents' associations in the affected areas, the Council claims "The customer effectively pays for the waste collection on each occasion that a bin is presented for collection, as opposed to the standard charge that is levied at present. "
They don't of course tell how much they intend to charge for the bin liners, or &endash; more importantly &endash; how much they will be charging for them in a few years' time.
The Campaign Against Refuse Charges has responded swiftly to the Council's latest initiative. Before the trial packs of bin liners were even delivered by the council, all households had received a leaflet from the Campaign describing the trial as a con and urging a boycott of it. "They still don't seem to realise that the reason why the refuse charge is being resisted by householders is because WE'VE ALREADY PAID. "
It is the strength and solidarity of a united campaign which will put an end to this bin tax. Just as the water charges were defeated five years ago, this tax too can be beaten.
This edition is No77 published in September 2003