PAC Meeting | Sept 18, 2014
Chairman John McGuinness: Correspondence dated 8 September 2014 received from Deputy Joe Costello re the ongoing dispute at Greyhound Recycling. Does Deputy Costello wish to comment?
Deputy Joe Costello: I wrote that letter in the context of the very bitter industrial dispute ongoing between Greyhound and the approximately 80 SIPTU employees. It has been the focus of media attention so it is well known. This matter is both an industrial dispute and also a matter to do with the national strategy on waste management, recovery and recycling. It relates to the issue of the Poolbeg incinerator which is the disposal mechanism for waste. It also relates to the licensing and permit system which has shifted dramatically in recent years and the manner in which local authorities deal with it. I refer to the manner in which the private sector is involved in a very free-for-all marketing. There is no tendering process and all the players engage in the market. This is an issue for the public sector in the areas of health and sanitation and the waste management strategy. It is an issue that in my view comes within the remit of this committee. The dispute is an immediate issue but there are broader issues regarding its implications and impact.
Deputy John Deasy: I disagree. I do not think we should bring industrial disputes into the committee. The matter is before the courts. I do not believe it is the remit of this committee to become involved in what is an ongoing industrial dispute. The public purse is only two degrees of separation away from everything in this country and in my view it is a bit tenuous to attach the jurisdiction of this committee to this issue.
Chairman: It is a matter within the remit of the local authority. It has been raised time and again that, unfortunately, this committee cannot deal directly with the funding for local authorities. We have had the local government auditor before us to explain all of this.
We cannot get involved in the examination of that issue not only because it is before the courts and is an industrial issue in a private company, but also because it involves a local authority.
Deputy Joe Costello: Are we precluded from becoming involved?
Deputy Joe Costello: It is the policy issue which has brought it into the arena of industrial dispute. I do not consider that a major issue. Neither is the court case a major issue as that will be dealt with without the committee being part and parcel of the court's determinations or considerations. However, if there is a difficulty with the local authorities involved-----
Chairman: It is also a matter of policy. Policy and local authority funding are dealt with by the environment committee. It is more appropriate for that committee to discuss the policy and the funding.