By Finian Coghlan
THE vexed state of overflowing bins around Naas has raised its ugly head again, with three councillors highly critical of the local authority.
Councillors Bill Clear, Carmel Kelly and Colm Kenny re-submitted a motion originally tabled in January to re-visit a litter policy all three felt is not fit for purpose.
“The Tidy Towns should not be complementing the council’s work…and yet we’re still the first people called at the weekend to report the overflowing bins,” said the councillor who famously picked up 2,000 coffee cups in one weekend on the car-free canal.
“The bins are simply not doing their job,” Cllr Clear added.
“Tidy Towns have no time to do anything else, and it has been going for years. I have an email from 15 years ago about overflowing bins,” said the councillor who returns to the Social Democrat fold next Monday (21 February), after a six-month of whip suspension for a Covid breach.
He was joined in the criticism by co-author of the motion Cllr Carmel Kelly who finds herself in a similar bind.
“It was hugely emotive over Christmas, and it can’t be volunteer-led,” she said.
“I’m first called when the bin at the [Sallins] playground is full. I have an agreement with the council for me or my husband, and I have a box of black bags to empty this bin,” she said.
“We need this review, because the talking time is now over,” she said, referring to the crux of their motion that the elected members “be permitted to contribute” to the Draft Litter Management Plan currently being put together at the Environment Section.
Cllr Seamie Moore threw in his tuppenceworth.
“I am extremely disappointed with the Environment Section,” he said.
“This whole damn thing has been going on for months. It’s painful, it’s absolutely painful to watch,” he said.
“We’ve started a number of campaigns for a culture change. I had suggested putting in bigger bins along the canal, but nothing’s happening. I am very disappointed with the Environment Section,” he stated.
“I hear what the councillors are saying about the bins,” said Ken Kavanagh from the Environment Section.
“Naas is sort of caught between two offices. Joe [Boland, head of Environment] and Celina [Barrett, head of Development Control] are trying to thrash this out,” he said.
“I agree with Cllr Moore on the bigger bins, and I hope to be rolling them out soon,” he offered.
“But at the moment nobody’s happy. You’re not happy, I’m not happy, the Tidy Towns is not happy,” he added.
“Is there a timescale on the white smoke?” asked Cathaoirleach Fintan Brett.
“Joe Boland has been in contact on this,” Mr Kavanagh confirmed.
“This matter was considered by the Environment SPC [and] an objective has been included in the Draft Litter Management Plan to review current arrangements with a view to secure greater equity among municipal districts in terms of service delivery,” said Mr Boland.
However, it is accepted by the SPC members that the issues are not so straightforward and that there are matters of logistics, custom and practice, societal culture and, in particular, issues of cost which need to be taken into account.
“Indeed, the latter are particularly notable given the scale of current costs at around €2.17m a year, and the ongoing requests to extend the service further,” he concluded..
He confirmed the adoption of the Draft Litter Management Plan will be on the agenda of the February monthly meeting of full council.