Over the past few months, Dublin has seen increasing resistance to newly-introduced rubbish-removal charges, or as they’re being called, ‘the bin tax’.
The charges are:
- levied in addition to the ‘local services’ charges in income tax,
- which already cover rubbish removal.
- 80 Euro to 150 Euro per annum currently, with one government report suggesting that they could rise to 635 Euro per annum.
- a flat fee per year, regardless of quantity — so there’s no incentive to recycle or compost your rubbish to bring that down.
- not tied to any recycling initiative. The rubbish is still heading for a landfill, in most regions.
- a flat fee for everyone, regardless of income. So the better-off pay exactly the same amount as a welfare recipient. (There is a waiver of 75 Euro for welfare recipients, but it’s discretionary and reportedly not always granted).
The last point is key — UK residents may be reminded of a similar flat-rate tax introduced by Thatcher in the 80’s… and we all know how that ended.
The result is that a large number, 75% of the population in the affected areas, have taken the course of non-payment of the charges.
There’s been lots of organised protest throughout Dublin, with constant picketing outside bin depots. Joe Higgins TD (a member of the Dail, the Irish parliament) and County Councillor Clare Daly have spent three weeks in jail so far, due to protesting on this issue.
Now, things are really starting to heat up — reportedly, the bin workers are starting to support the campaign, refusing to cross protest lines and refusing to drive lorries from depots if protesters are present. In some depots, they have even joined the picketers!
It’s not all good though — yesterday, national news shocking footage (SMIL) of a protester being dragged for several hundred feet by a speeding van.
This one’s getting interesting.