Saturday 15 December 2018

Taoiseach accused of 'pettiness' in Dail row over illegal dumping

Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin
Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin
John Downing

John Downing

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has accused Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of “pettiness” in a Dáil row over illegal dumping.

Mr Martin raised the problem of illegal dumping across the country which was highlighted by a special RTÉ Investigates programme which found that illegal dumping was widespread and local council spending to clamp down on it varied widely from county to county.

The Fianna Fáil leader said it was clear that many people still felt they could illegally dump with impunity. He noted that Donegal was a county with particular problems and spent least on policing dumping.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he saw the RTÉ programme which was "excellent" and he found of the content was disturbing. He pledged to consider a study of the problem.

Credit: RTE Investigates
Credit: RTE Investigates

Mr Varadkar Ireland had made good progress on proper waste collection and disposal. But he said compliance and enforcement were "not what they should be".

The Taoiseach noted that Fianna Fáil had the most councillors in Donegal while Fine Gael had the second largest number.

“I hope you will be talking to your councillors about this because I’ll certainly be talking to mine,” the Taoiseach told the Fianna Fáil leader.

Mr Martin said he was “disappointed” by the Taoiseach’s response – “especially the pettiness of it” in advising him to speak to his party’s councillors. He said the Taoiseach had downplayed the scale of the problem.

The Fianna Fáil leader said dumping and waste disposal were an executive function in local authorities – meaning officials rather than councillors had the real power on the issue.

The Taoiseach replied that it was the councillors’ job to challenge the officials in these matters and also call them to account for how the funding was spent.

Credit: RTE Investigates
Credit: RTE Investigates

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