Sunday 22 October 2017

Left-wing TDs absent as Dáil decides bin plan

Despite roundly criticising the Government’s plans for ‘pay-by-weight’ bin charges and organising rallies, left-wing TDs were not present as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil agreed a compromise to end their row on the issue. Stock picture
Despite roundly criticising the Government’s plans for ‘pay-by-weight’ bin charges and organising rallies, left-wing TDs were not present as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil agreed a compromise to end their row on the issue. Stock picture
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The political groups against bin charges have said they won't encourage households to stop paying, because they can't allow rubbish to pile up.

Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith said her party's campaign is "only getting started". She said it has plans for a series of community meetings to find out what householders want to do, but admitted a different approach will have to be found compared with the anti-water charges campaign as people can't allow rubbish to pile up in the streets.

Similarly, a Sinn Féin spokesman said the decision to pay is a "personal" one.

"There are potential consequences for householders if they do not pay and therefore it would be irresponsible of Sinn Féin to encourage people to take that course of action," he said.

"We have already had nearly 20 protests across the State and more will be planned in the coming weeks and months."

Meanwhile, the Dáil was devoid of any representatives from Sinn Féin and Solidarity-People Before Profit as a key debate on the new bin charges regime concluded without a vote being called.

Despite roundly criticising the Government's plans for 'pay-by-weight' bin charges and organising rallies, left-wing TDs were not present as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil agreed a compromise to end their row on the issue.

Under the deal a 'Pricing Watchdog Monitoring Unit' is to be given powers to tackle emerging cartels and target price-fixing. The arrangement has been described as a "grubby deal" by Sinn Féin - but its environment spokesperson Brian Stanley was absent when it came to calling a Dáil vote.

"I could see that the debate was leading to a stitch up between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and that they had the numbers to pass whatever they wanted regardless of whether a vote was called or not.

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

"However, in retrospect I believe I should have called a vote to register Sinn Féin's outright opposition to these charges in the Dáil," he said.

Similarly, People Before Profit Ms Smith had gone home before the 10pm conclusion.

Asked why the party didn't force a vote, she said: "That was my fault. Normally votes don't happen until Thursday. I was probably a bit naïve about the procedures. I was there until after nine o'clock. I'd heard more of the speeches."

Fianna Fáil sources told the Irish Independent they intend to highlight the absences if the parties continue to criticise them for not blunting opposing the pay-by-weight system.

"They shout about it and organise street protests but when it came to actually doing something about it they went missing," a senior source said.

Meanwhile, Environment Minister Denis Naughten told the Seanad that "rhetoric and grandstanding" will not change the Government's decision.

"What we are doing is most certainly not about imposing financial hardship on families.

"Using our bins properly will not only make a difference to our waste costs, it will also make an enormous difference to our environment and to our future," he said.

The minister said the choices facing the country are "stark".

Irish Independent

Also in this section