SIPTU has strongly criticised the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, for failing, to date, to meet with Union representatives to discuss the threatened privatisation of Bord na Mona Recycling, which they say will be detrimental to the environment and workers.

SIPTU Transport, Aviation, Energy and Construction Divisional Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “SIPTU representatives wrote to Minister Ryan on 24th May asking for an urgent meeting concerning reports that the State intended to sell off Bord na Mona Recycling, the last remaining publicly owned recycling and waste company.

“Regrettably we have received no confirmation or date for such a meeting. Minister Ryan needs to engage with the representatives of the Bord na Mona Recycling workers. Our members must be shown some respect and he should also hear the very real benefits of maintaining this utility in state ownership.

“Waste management in the Republic of Ireland is an outlier to the rest of Europe. In most countries, the state or local authorities maintain an interest in this vital public service or tender it out to the private sector on an area-by-area basis, to avoid the situation we have where several different companies have their lorries travelling the small routes. 

“This chaotic system of waste service provision has led to increased traffic congestion and fly-tipping. This along with a failure to tightly regulate providers leads to environmental damage which could be easily avoided. Bord na Mona Recycling was also meant to be part of the Government’s planned so-called ‘Just Transition’, providing jobs for the workers formerly employed in the peat production industry.” 

He added: “The Minister must meet with SIPTU representatives so we can fully explain to him the importance of maintaining Bord na Mona Recycling within the public sector, where it can provide decently paid jobs and it can be utilised to help stop the race to the bottom in the waste sector. This is the best approach for the environment, the workers and the future of waste services in Ireland.”