‘THE issue has been well ventilated,’ a senior Council official stated after fly-tipping and the need for recycling facilities was raised at a meeting of the Western Committee.
Ted O’Leary, deputising for the director of environment, explained: ‘What it boils down to is that it is a budget issue.
He added that the former practice of using CCTV for catching fly-tippers had now hit a wall, since a recent GDPR ruling.
‘The Council cannot finance the restoration of the recycling (in Dunmanway and Bantry) and has no plans to do so unless there is a budget put in place under the West Cork Municipal District,’ he said.
The local Council is being asked to come up with the money – from its 2022 budget – to restore a cardboard and plastics recycling service adjacent to the Family Resource Centre in Dunmanway, as well as restoring the twice-weekly collection truck in Bantry.
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) complained about the recent price increases. He said it is people on lower incomes who are being affected most. ‘A 4kg used to cost €2, but now it has gone up to €5,’ he said.
Mr O’Leary said the new fees – that were signed off on March 1st – were not targeted at any group.
The primary aim is to bridge the €2.2m deficit that the Council incurred in relation to its waste management charges every year, he noted.
‘It is not our intention to cause hardship, and I would argue that the charges are not significant,’ he added. ‘The disposal of waste is a costly business. What people pay represents reasonable value.’
Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) asked: ‘How can we fund Dunmanway and a return of the service in 2022?’ He also called on the Council to find a suitable site for existing bottle banks and bring banks for Ballineen. Mr O’Leary said an alternative site has not been found and asked the councillors to assist them find a new one.
Cllr Ross O’Connell (SD) said a Council official previously said there was ‘no correlation between raising of fees and fly-tipping,’ but he disagrees.
‘Fly-tipping is now widespread around the area,’ said Cllr O’Connell, who mentioned the huge amount of refuse on the roadside and in the ditches between Ballydehob and Skibbereen.
He said the use of CCTV in an attempt to catch the culprits would be ‘a step in the right direction.’
But Mr O’Leary said there has been a national data protection ruling, which has left the use of CCTV in ‘a bit of a limbo’.
‘We are hoping that legislation will provide us with the cover to use CCTV in the manner we have used it in the past. If permitted,’ he added, ‘we will increase our monitoring and patrol the area more frequently to see if we can identify the culprits.’
Cllr Danny Collis (Ind) said fly-tipping is a ‘a big issue in the Bantry electoral area’ and agreed that CCTV would be a good deterrent.