‘OUR environment section is letting us down here in West Cork.’
That was the stinging rebuke made by Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) at a meeting of the West Cork Municipal District in Dunmanway recently.
The councillor was speaking on a motion that called for the reinstatement of a recyclable collection service in Bantry.
Every Monday and Friday – between the hours of 1pm and 4pm – a truck used to travel to the car park at Harbour View to take away domestic recyclables, such as paper and plastic.
The car park already has the town’s bottle bank, so Cllr Collins said it offered people ‘a very complete service’ – that is until it was discontinued just before lockdown.
The councillor was critical of a report submitted by the Council’s director of services for the environment.
The report, prepared by Louis Duffy, said the contractor informed the Council that the cost of the service has gone up, and that the company would not resume the Bantry service unless the Council agreed to the increased charges.
Mr Duffy said the Council was examining its options, but it was his additional statement, ‘If the service is to resume, it will need to be procured in compliance with the Council and national procurement guidance,’ that left Cllr Collins scratching his head.
Cllr Collins said, ‘there are a lot of big words in that but it doesn’t make any sense to me.’
Twice a week, he said there would normally be a queue of people – who don’t have cars but want to get rid of their recyclables responsibly – at the car park.
‘What are they to do now?’ asked Cllr Collins. ‘What is to become of their rubbish. Where is it to go?’
The Independent councillor said people are so desperate to see the service reinstated that they are willing to make a contribution towards the cost.
‘For four months,’ he added, ‘we have been without this service, how are we expected to keep our town and countryside clean?’