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Order of Business

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

In recent days newspapers have covered further publicity about the question of having a single mayor for the greater Dublin area and four county councils or local authorities. I noticed, also in the newspapers, a reference to the annual budget for Dublin City Council which is now close to €1 billion a year with 6,000 staff. Then I considered in that context the appalling squalor which existed in Crumlin as exposed by the "Prime Time Investigates" programme where people are being housed in subhuman conditions with bunk beds in tiny bedrooms for want of inspection by the local authority. All of that makes me very cynical about the standard of local government in the Dublin area.
One particular issue from which local government has withdrawn was that of refuse collection. I have recently received a communication from one councillor in Dublin called Councillor Keith Redmond. He has told me that he has followed up the issue of what he considers to be prima facie evidence of a cartel among the waste collection companies whereby they are dividing the city, geographically, and not really competing with each other. If the whole idea of privatising waste collection and introducing pay-by-weight and deregulating charges was to increase efficiency, it would be a complete travesty if it turned out that there is not any effective competition and that the companies involved are engaging in geographical division and no-go areas.
The alarming thing that Councillor Redmond told me was that he had been engaged in a phone conversation, on behalf of one of his constituents, with a particular company. The person he dealt with at the end of the phone, and I will not mention the company or the person, indicated that there was such a territorial divide. So surprised was Councillor Redmond to hear the news that he decided to record the balance of the conversation and has, apparently, clear evidence of such a divide up. If that is the case then the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Deputy Murphy, or his Minister of State, Deputy English-----