Saturday 18 November 2017

'It's ironic we have a Lotto regulator and not a waste regulator' - Dublin City Council seeks scrapping of new bin charges

Under a new system flat rate fees will be banned, meaning households which only use the black bin to dispose of waste will pay higher charges (Stock photo)
Under a new system flat rate fees will be banned, meaning households which only use the black bin to dispose of waste will pay higher charges (Stock photo)
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Dublin City Council will write to the Government calling for the formation of a national waste regulator, a waiver scheme for poor families and for the new bin charging regime to be scrapped.

An emergency motion at the council meeting last night, in response to a new bin charging structure, received the support of 37 councillors.

Among those to support the Sinn Fein proposal that the Lord Mayor write to Environment Minister Denis Naughten, was Fine Gael councillor Naoise Ó Muirí.

"It's ironic that we have a National Lottery regulator and not a waste regulator," he said.

The motion also asked the minister to introduce more measures to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.

A motion that waste management services be taken under the control of the local authority, proposed by People Before Profit, also passed by 36 votes to seven.

Last week, the minister, announced plans to ban flat rate bin charges.

While the exact effect of this remains unclear, it has been estimated bin charges will rise by at least €30 a year for the average family under the new charging regime.

Half of all families are expected to be hit with the initial rise, with warnings of more price hikes to come.

Under the new pricing regime, coming into force in September, customers currently paying a flat-rate fee - around half of all households - can expect to be hit.

Initial increases  are understood to be likely in single-digit percentages, but could grow.

Over the weekend, it emerged briefing documents for ministers warned there was a "perceived and real risk" of domestic waste companies dramatically increasing charges for a "significant number of households" once the new charging regime was introduced.

Ahead of tonight's council meeting a small protest took place outside City Hall, organised by Sinn Fein.

Newly appointed Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mícheál Mac Donncha, and the party's deputy leader Mary Lou McDonlad were among those who attended.

Daithí Doolan tabled an emergency motion that the council should write to Environment Minister Naughten to stop the new charges.

Speaking at the protest, the councillor said there were people who could not afford to pay any increase.

"What we really need here is a comprehensive view of waste management, rather than heaping cost upon cost of already burdened households.

"This is another tax hard pressed families have to deal with and this is a charge too much," he said.

"What the Government should do is stop these extra charges ease the burden on ordinary families and indeed look back at putting it back into the hands of public ownership".

He described as "Dickensian" the situation of consumers coming home from shops and being left with bags of waste that have to be processed.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said €75 a year will be paid to people with long-term illness who must use incontinence pads.

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