THE DECISION taken by Limerick County Council to “pull the plug” on a so-called Scrap Saturday in Patrickswell showed a “lack of commons sense” according to the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government.
Minister Phil Hogan made the comments during a Dail session when the issue of ‘Scrap Saturdays’ - which have become hugely popular as a fundraising vehicle for clubs across the county - was being discussed.
Deputy Niall Collins TD explained that his own local club, Patrickswell, organised a ‘Scrap Saturday’ - whereby the community brings waste scrap to the local GAA grounds and it in turn sells it on - but the local authority pulled the plug on it because it did not have the correct permit.
“It was a disgrace. When the Minister is conducting a review of the permit arrangement, he should look at the activities of legitimate voluntary clubs and organisations because they are, in effect, providing an environmental service. The decision of Limerick County Council beat all. Other clubs in the county had been engaging in similar activities under the radar and raised significant amounts of money towards the running costs of the clubs which we all support and promote. I just wanted to make the Minister aware of this,” said Deputy Collins.
Last month Limerick County Council issued a warning to the GAA that the collection of waste including old cars and electrical goods is illegal without the proper authorisations being in place.
The local authority said they were aware that unauthorised events have occurred and it was their duty to advise that this illegal practice should be discontinued.
“Limerick County Council recognises the good work that the GAA carries out and would like to offer our assistance in the planning of any such events. We are obliged however, to equally advise that clubs engaging in future collections, without authorisation, will be subject to the appropriate penalties in law under the Waste Management Act 1996 as amended, “ said a spokesperson for Limerick County Council when the warning was issued.
In response to Deputy Collins’ remarks, Minister Phil Hogan said that “the lack of common sense in such matters displayed by Limerick County Council is not worthy of the work being done”.
“Given that there was no criminal involvement and that it was clear the activity was community-related, the local authority should have been much more flexible in its arrangements,” said Deputy Hogan.
“I invite Deputies, to make submissions on such matters to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and feed into the forum we have established under the Garda Síochána. I hope we will be in a position to deal with these matters. It used to be the case that one followed the money, now one follows the metal,” he said.
There are two private sites within the county which can be used for such collections located in Tournafulla and in Eastway Businesss Park, Limerick.
The council also has its own recycling centre collection points in Kilmallock, Newcastle West and Mungret where special arrangements can be discussed.