Council Briefs: New Secure Bins in Oliver Bond House, a Lack of Motions at Monthly Meetings, Air Quality Since Covid-19 and More

Rubbish and Rats

Dublin City Council plans to install new secure storage for rubbish bins at five locations within the Oliver Bond House complex, with CCTV cameras in operation to discourage illegal dumping.

The new system will facilitate recycling and composting by providing for the black bin, green bin and brown bins to be housed in wooden sheds within the complex.

Residents in Oliver Bond House will be provided with a reusable recycling bag, a food bin and compostable bags to get started.

The chair of the environment committee, Green Party Councillor Michael Pidgeon said that the bin stores were being introduced because of rats.

Council tenants tend to contact the council first, who in turn contact the HSE, by that stage “there is a whole new generation of rats charging around the place,” said independent councillor Mannix Flynn.

Flynn asked the manager to invite the HSE pest control department to attend a meeting of the environment committee and Labour Councillor Joe Costello backed that idea.

“There is an epidemic of rats around the city,” said Costello. He asked whether the enclosed bin stores being installed in Oliver Bond House will be rolled out eventually in the council’s other housing complexes.

Dublin City Council Executive Manager Celine Reilly said the council has been rolling education and training programmes in some housing complexes. It is time-intensive work but is paying off and “the recycling rate has improved hugely,” she said.

Oliver Bond House is a “special case at the moment,” she said, but the education programme will be rolled out across the city in time.

A Lack of Motions

Dublin City Council will hold another meeting of the full council on Monday 13 July to tackle a backlog of outstanding motions which have built up over the last few months as well as any emergency motions that arise.

Motions are formal proposals tabled by councillors which are debated and can be agreed or rejected by their fellow councillors.

The last time the council debated motions was 2 March.

The full council meeting on Monday 6 July didn’t include any motions from councillors because it was restricted to two hours duration, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Sinn Féin Councillor Daithí Doolan called for an extraordinary meeting of the council to be held before the summer break, in August as otherwise no motions would be heard until September, he said.

He called for the special meeting to focus solely on councillors motions. “It is really important that we send out a signal tonight that the council is open for business democratically, accountability and transparently,” he said.

Dublin City Council Senior Executive Officer Deirdre Ní Raghallaigh said it would be easier to adjourn the current meeting to the following Monday when it ended, rather than to arrange a special meeting.

The council agreed to add the list of outstanding motions to the agenda of the 6 July meeting and to adjourn the meeting when it was over, until Monday 13 July, when they will meet for two hours, to deal with motions exclusively.

Speaking after the meeting Doolan said he will table an emergency motion at next Monday’s meeting to call for action on rat infestations in some of Dublin City Council’s housing complexes.

Homeless Prevention

At Monday’s full council meeting independent Councillor Cieran Perry queried whether the council’s approach to preventing homelessness has changed in the last month and a half.

Homeless prevention has always been part of the homeless strategy, but lately, some advocates say that the rules seem to have changed so that people can only access homeless services once they have been witnessed by outreach teams sleeping rough.

This issue had been raised by independent Councillor Anthony Flynn at the last full council meeting on 6 June, when he said that people are sleeping rough as a result of a change in the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive’s policy.

“Homeless people appear to be required to enter the homeless system rather than [Dublin City Council] preventing them from doing so,” he said.

There is no change to the homeless prevention strategy, said Dublin City Council housing manager, Brendan Kenny.”I’m not aware of any changes in homeless facilities,” he said. “If you have any particular questions you can come back to me.”

Air Quality

A report comparing air quality in Dublin from February to June this year with the same period in 2019 was presented to the environment committee of Dublin City Council on 1 July.

The report, which found an improvement in air quality, examined the period of time when traffic was reduced due to the Covid-19 shutdown.

Testing was carried out to discover the prevalence of two pollutants: particulate matter —which consists of materials such as dust smoke and soot—and nitrogen dioxide — which is a gas that is produced from the burning of fossil fuels.

Samples were taken from four locations in Dublin city, St John’s Road near Sandymount, the council’s Civic Offices on Winetavern Street, Davitt Road in Drimnagh and also in Ballyfermot.

“There have been some clear reductions in the levels of pollutants emitted at each site in Dublin following the government restrictions put in place on the 27th of March, in response to Covid-19,” says the report.

Nitrogen dioxide levels were also significantly reduced at two of the sites tested, at the Civic Offices which are just off the Quays in the city centre and at St John’s Road.

The report will be discussed at a special meeting of the environment committee later this month.

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Author:

Laoise Neylon: Laoise Neylon is a city reporter for Dublin Inquirer. You can reach her at [email protected]

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