Saturday 21 October 2017

Bin charges row over for now - but bad smell will linger on

The two main parties are likely to keep their heads down for recess. They’d love a few weeks free from controversy and rancour. Stock picture
The two main parties are likely to keep their heads down for recess. They’d love a few weeks free from controversy and rancour. Stock picture
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The countdown to the summer holidays is in full swing around Leinster House. Fine Gael hasn't had a break since the vanity project that was its leadership election. Fianna Fáil is exhausted from hiking to the top of the hill and back down again.

Sinn Féin's hierarchy has been living out of the boot of a car as it divided its time between Dublin and Belfast in recent weeks.

The Labour Party is licking its wounds after the Jobstown trial and the people who moan about everything have been in overdrive in the wake of the jury verdict.

Real people should be on alert that they will escape the asylum next week and seek sanctuary in constituencies all over the country.

The two main parties are likely to keep their heads down for recess. They'd love a few weeks free from controversy and rancour.

But others are hoping to ratchet up the pressure over bin charges in the coming months so that a mass movement will be ready to march in September.

There was no mention of the issue at yesterday's Cabinet meeting, with a minister privately remarking afterwards: "Bins are over. We're moving on."

A senior Fianna Fáil representative had a similar attitude: "The compromise is fair enough for now. There's no desire to turn this into more than it is."

That deal between the Government and Fianna Fáil will see a watchdog set up to monitor pricing with a view to establishing a regulator in the long run. In the meantime, both sides will continue to promote the logic that pay-by-weight charges are a good thing that will help us save the planet.

As Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "We want to reward people who recycle, reuse, compost and reduce their waste. It is not right that somebody who does not do those things should pay the same as somebody who does. We want to make sure that the people who do the right thing by their community and by the environment, and who reuse, reduce, recycle and compost, pay less than those who do not."

It's an argument that's hard to argue with - except the Government can't actually guarantee prices won't go up for the environmentally conscious householders as well as the wasteful ones.

And so while bin charges won't stop TDs heading off on their break, the dirty problem is likely to still be festering on their return.

Irish Independent

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