Barna Recycling to take over city council refuse service

Barna Waste has reinvented itself as Barna Recycling after being named this week as the preferred bidder to take over Galway City Council’s household waste collection service.

The tending process for the privatisation of the council’s waste collection service began on September 12 this year. According to a statement received from the local authority this week, “following a shortlisting of interested candidates and the completion of the evaluation process Barna Waste has emerged as the preferred bidder for the provision of household waste collection services”. Galway City Council is currently in discussions with the successful bidder with regards the transition arrangements and will communicate further with existing customers when these arrangements have been agreed. The local authority added that no contract will be entered into before Monday, November 18.

Already promoting itself as the ‘winner of Galway City Council waste collection contract’ Barna Waste, now known as Barna Recycling, has promised a seamless transition for council customers and will be in contact with all customers in the coming weeks to finalise all bin collection details.

Managing director Sean Curran said: “We are delighted to have been selected as the preferred bidder by Galway City Council for their bin collection contract. For more than 20 years we have been providing waste collection services to customers in Galway and throughout the west of Ireland.

“Our commitment to providing an excellent waste collection service remains our number one priority. Barna Recycling operates a state of the art facility at Carrowbrowne, on the outskirts of town that is fully equipped to manage recycling, compost and general waste. We currently manage waste for more than 60,000 household and business customers in Connacht.

“We will be in contact will all current city council customers in the coming weeks once all of the details have been finalised with the city council. We promise a seamless transition.”

This news comes after a battle of wills between the council executive and many elected members who were fervently against the privatisation of the refuse service. At the September meeting, city manager Brendan McGrath announced that the decision had been made in order to save the financial position of the council which had been adversely affected by the dwindling customer base of the refuse service - from 21,000 to just 10,500, increased competition, and a deficit of €1.6 million.

In June of this year, a refuse review report found the refuse service was not “financially sustainable for the council to continue to provide a full range of household services”. This was met with fierce opposition with many councillors seeking to invoke a Section 140 of the Local Government Act 2001 which gives power to the elected members to request that the executive decision not be proceeded with. However, legal opinion received by the council found that “elected members do not have the authority to rescind” the city manager’s decision by “invoking Section 140 of the act”. Councillors then sought their own independent legal advise, however, this too proved unhelpful to their cause as it found that the privatisation of household waste collection service is an executive function of the city manager that cannot be interfered with. Throughout all of this, Mr McGrath remained firm in his decision to save the financial position of the council and continued with the bidding process.

Speaking to the Advertiser yesterday city mayor Pádraig Conneely confirmed that the estimated 2,400 customers in receipt of waivers for the council refuse service will be protect until January 2016 and that Barna Recycling will have to take over this aspect of the service free of charge.

“This was an very important issue. I got that worked into the contract to be signed by the private operator so that the waivers are protected fully for two years,” said Mayor Conneely.

Customers can direct queries to Galway City Council’s customer services section at 091-536809 or visit www.galwaycity.ie

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