The privatisation of waste collection services in the city could transfer the €105,000 cost of the City Council’s waiver scheme to the less well off in the city.

Some 4,692 Social Welfare recipients and pensioners currently avail of free bin collection but this could cease, if City Manager Michael Walsh proceeds with his proposed privatisation of the service.

The Manager met members of the Council this week to discuss his plans, after failing to receive political support for a 2% increases in commercial rates and domestic refuse charges hike (to €8 for a grey bin and €4 for a green bin). However the ultimate decision whether or nor to proceed with privatising the service will rest with the manager and not the elected officials.

Local Sinn Fein representatives have said they will vehemently oppose any bid by the Manager to privatise the service in the upcoming Estimates and do everything in their power to retain the public service, protect jobs and the most vulnerable in our city.

“What is even more unacceptable is to hinge the future of the service on changes to the waiver scheme’, Cllr David Cullinane has stated. “The future of the service should not depend on councillors or anyone else targeting the most vulnerable in Waterford.”

“Last week Sinn Féin met with members of the Trades Council,SIPTU and the Chamber of Commerce. We are acutely aware of the deep concerns people have on any increases in local charges. Our responsibility is to protect public services, local businesses and ordinary people from unnecessary hardship.

“It is worth repeating that we would not be in this position if the Government had not cut City Council funding by over 7%. We appreciate the difficulties being faced by the City Manager in trying to frame a budget in these challenging times. However in so doing privatising services or targeting the most vulnerable are not viable options and will be resisted by Sinn Féin.”