Tuesday 22 May 2018

'Give waste management back to local authorities', council hears

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Conor McGrave

Waste management in Ireland should be handed back to local authorities as an investigation into alleged cartels is ongoing, a meeting of Fingal county council heard last night.

A motion was passed unanimously by councillors to lobby Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Environment, to halt all pay-by-weight bin charges and to return waste management control to local councils.

In January, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission confirmed it was investigating fresh complaints of a waste industry cartel operating in the Dublin region.

Independent councillor Keith Redmond said it would be wise of the minister to stop any changes in waste management charges as an investigation into “geographical monopolies” is carried out by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

Cllr Redmond previously provided a ten-minute recording of a conversation to the competition watchdog which suggested firms were carving up regions in the Dublin area and arranging non-compete agreements.

He said it would provide a “licence to gouge” to companies who would be allowed to set their own rates and while the “CCPC are conducting a review of the industry, it would be prudent of the minister to halt” the pay-by-weight charges.

Sinn Féin councillor Paul Donnelly said it was a “complete and utter mess” and companies were making “massive profits” as a result.

“We do have to take cognisance on issues around alleged monopolies. We have no control over this whatsoever, and yet we are faced with calls every day from people,” he said.

Sinn Féin councillor Philip Lynam said it would be wise to return control to the local authorities throughout the country in order to protect consumers from increased charges.

He said, “the sad fact is that some people can’t afford it. There is no doubt that these charges will increase in the future and become difficult to manage.”

Green Party councillor David Healy also said there was an “overall need to switch to a different model” because “we’ve ended up with charges in Ireland that are much higher than in other European countries.”

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