Sunday 23 April 2017

Suspending bin charges 'won't stop public backlash or solve current waste crisis' - TD Bríd Smith

Bríd Smith, People before profit, Anti-Austerity Alliance candidate, celebrates after winning the final seat in the Dublin South-Central constituency at the RDS Count centre. Credit: Damien Eagers
Bríd Smith, People before profit, Anti-Austerity Alliance candidate, celebrates after winning the final seat in the Dublin South-Central constituency at the RDS Count centre. Credit: Damien Eagers
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Suspending bin charges won't stop the public backlash or solve the current waste crisis, according to a TD.

“Suspending the charges is just what they did to the water charges in the hope that it goes away in a year’s time.

"People aren’t going to be happy about this. They want something that’s legislated that’s set in stone that’s going to stop these companies pushing up the bin charges,” TD Brid Smith said s told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke.

Smith argued that the waste management companies have operated a “price cartel” where smaller companies were pushed out and the larger companies have a monopoly on the industry.

“The problem was privatisation in the first instance. Once you imposed a charge there’s going to be massive competition in this area. The competition will become so massive, chaotic, expensive and inefficient and that’s exactly what happened.

“An essential service needs to be in public hands not in the market of viscous competition,” she said.

Conor Walsh, Secretary of Irish Waste Management, said it was “complete nonsense” that the waste companies were even talking to each other about prices.

Walsh confirmed this morning that the new pay-by-weight charges will be suspended for 12 months to allow time to address the problems.

He told Sean O’Rourke that the bin companies have to decide individually on a price which “will sort itself out through competition”. 

“We all support pay-by-weight. Companies understand they will lose money on this,” he said.

Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd said that the suspension of the charges is a “golden opportunity” to change the current system.

“A very significant number of people under the pay-by-weight will actually be paying less not more. The problem is some companies have hiked up their prices for a medium waste user,” he said.

“We need to change our ways. Houses in Drogheda will go from €311 per year to €608 per year for putting out less waste and that is absolutely unacceptable. We have an opportunity now for fair and for balanced charges four people to reduce waste.”

O’Dowd called for “a fairer system” where people with disabilities and larger families are offered an exemption.

Walsh said the Irish Waste Management Association have agreed to provide a weight allowance to HSE patients supplied with incontinence wear to reduce their annual waste charges.

“Some people will pay less, some people will pay more. There will be winners and losers,” he said.

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