Govt concedes to FF pressure to ensure people are not being penalised by unscrupulous waste companies
Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Fingal Darragh O’Brien says his party will continue to put pressure on the Government to ensure that a waste regulator is established. Fianna Fáil brought forward a motion in the Dáil this week calling for an independent waste regulator.
The Government has confirmed that it would set up an interim watchdog to oversee the industry, until a regulator is established.
“We need to get serious about the way in which we dispose of our waste and measures must be taken to move away from landfill and towards recycling. I support the environmental aspects of this new payment structure as it should encourage more people to separate and reduce their waste”, said Deputy O’Brien.
“However, more needs to be done in order to increase competition and ensure that waste companies are not allowed to drive up costs for customers. Over the past year I have been in regular contact with Ministers Coveney and Naughten on this issue but the Government has failed to make any progress on the issue. This is not good enough.
“A promised public awareness campaign never transpired and people are genuinely concerned that their waste charges will increase as a result of any new pricing structure. These fears are being felt right across north County Dublin, where there is very little competition and bin companies are acting as if they can do what they want.
“Our motion argues for a waste regulator to ensure that the consumer is at the heart of the process. A regulator can ensure fair practice within the sector, and reward operators who behave in an efficient and consumer-friendly way. I welcome the fact that the Government has finally seen sense. However, in the unlikely event that the Government’s analysis does not provide for a regulator, we will introduce our own Bill on the matter.
“This issue of illegal dumping and fly-tipping must also be addressed. Over the past number of years we have seen an increase in illegal dumping in fields, forests and laneways, posing serious environmental problems. We need to establish whether there is a link between increasing waste charges and the rise in fly-tipping. This motion calls for additional resources for Local Authorities to properly investigate illegal dumping and to fine the perpetrators.
“Recycling rates have improved greatly over the last decade and we must continue to encourage initiatives which support waste reduction and recycling.
“We also want to ensure that consumers get value for money. A regulator will prevent sudden price gouging and promote competition, ensuring that both customers and the environment are protected”, concluded Deputy O’Brien.