Thursday, 16 February 2012

In Dublin's Unfair City

Fáilte romhaibh!

This is my first venture into the world of blogging.

It's been a long journey from writing articles on A4 refill pads with a blue biro in the offices of An Phoblacht in pre-computer days. Now we have instant communication, by-passing print altogether.

With this blog I'll try to do what can't be done on facebook and keep you up to date, as well as sample some of my ramblings on politics and other matters.

This week the focus of news has been unusually sharp on the tangled affairs of Dublin City Council. The bin privatisation has been an absolute fiasco, exactly as we in Sinn Féin predicted it would be. When this was raised in the Dáil Enda Kenny called on Greyhound to step back and not refuse to lift the some 18,000 bins from households who have not paid some or all of the annual €100 standing charge.

However, this is hypocrisy as Kenny's Environment Minister Phil Hogan presides over waste management and fully supports privatisation. He even falsely claimed in the Dáil earlier this week when challenged by Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald TD that Dublin City Councillors voted for privatisation. False! Three times the Council voted by a majority to reject privatisation. But under legislation brought in by Fianna Fáil the City Manager was able to impose privatisation over the heads of the Councillors. Fine Gael and Labour in Government have done nothing to over-turn this legislation or to introduce a State-wide waiver scheme to exempt low-income households from the waste charges.

And a further note on the bins fiasco: I recently asked the Dublin City Manager what additional measures are being taken this year to compel the industrial and commerical producers of waste - excess packaging and the other stuff that fills our bins - to eliminate or reduce their waste. The answer was that no extra measures are being taken. There is still no real pressure on producers to eliminate or reduce their waste before it enters the waste stream, forcing citizens to pay for collection and the city to pay for land-fill.

The same Minister Hogan refuses to meet the residents of Priory Hall. They were marching for justice again last Sunday and I was privileged to join them and speak, together with councillors and TDs from other parties. The issues was raised by Mary Lou McDonald in the Dáil this morning (Thursday). Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore tried to score a few cheap political points by trying to link the Priory Hall developer to Sinn Féin. For the record this unscrupulous developer has nothing to do with Sinn Féin. He was an IRA prisoner and hunger striker in the early 1980s but long ago severed his connection with republicans and, by his treatment of the Priory Hall residents, he has betrayed everything he once stood for. But this is a distraction - the main point is to keep supporting the Priory Hall residents' fight for justice.

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