Monday 20 January 2020

Almost half of population do not believe 'waste watchdog' will do the job

Denis Naughten. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Denis Naughten. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Mark O'Regan

Almost 50pc of the public believe Leo Varadkar's plan to introduce a watchdog for the waste industry will not be effective, a Sunday Independent/Kantar Millward Brown opinion poll has revealed.

And the Government's proposed 'pricing watchdog monitoring unit' is even viewed rather cynically by Fine Gael supporters - with 49pc believing it will not be a success.

Similarly, 49pc of Fianna Fail supporters believe the measure will not do the job. Overall, 45pc of those surveyed said they did not believe the watchdog will be effective. Just 23pc believe it will be effective, according to the findings. Some 18pc of respondents said they either "didn't know" or had "no opinion". At 55pc, Dublin residents were among the most sceptical of its long term success.

According to Minister for Environment, Denis Naughten, the new unit will provide monthly reports on a new system of waste charges.

It will comprise of representatives from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), Mr Naughten's department, a consumer representative from an organisation such as St Vincent de Paul, as well as an external economic expert with "market knowledge".

Mr Naughten said he would ask the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to report on the operation of the system. This will inform the "future development" of national waste management policy before the end of the year. It will also provide an "evidence base" to establish a regulator to prevent "price gouging", he added.

Mr Varadkar has said it will be at least 15 months before a new bin charging system is put in place, and said that for anyone who has a contract, it still stands. Fianna Fail environment spokesman Timmy Dooley said his party believes it necessary to put in place a regulator to protect the consumer.

"A regulator will take months to establish, so I have no issue with this watchdog carrying out some work in the intervening period, but the party believes the only way to give confidence and security to the consumer that there won't be unnecessary price rises is to put a regulatory regime in place."

Sunday Independent

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