Council refuse service to be privatised?

City Hall has taken a temporary vow of silence over allegations from a leading city councillor that the local authority is to privatise its refuse service.

Independent city councillor Catherine Connolly yesterday issued a statement that Galway city manager Brendan McGrath will propose, at Monday’s city council meeting, that the service be privatised.

Cllr Connolly further alleged that the proposal is “by way of information only” and that the decision on the service will rest with council officials, with councillors having no say in the matter.

In response, a spokesperson for City Hall told the Galway Advertiser, that it has “no statement to issue on the matter at this time”. The council will not be revealing publicly what is planned until councillors have first been informed.

“The refuse service is on the agenda for Monday’s meeting,” the spokesperson said. “At that point councillors will be informed of the review of the service that has been taking place.”

However any attempt to privatise the council’s refuse service will be met with concern by councillors and the public.

“It is utterly contemptuous of city management to undermine the service and propose privatisation,” said Cllr Connolly.

City Hall provides a waiver system to more than 2,000 households which cannot afford to pay and it enjoys one of the most successful recycling rates in the State. A council report published in March report indicated household recycling rates in the city stood at 71.95 per cent.

Previous mentions of possible privatisations of the service has met opposition, as councillor’s fear private operators would scrap the waiver system; put the accumulation of profit ahead of the commitment to recycle; and abandon City Hall’s system of no house paying more than €229 per year, in addition to a bulky collection service with prices as low as €6.

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