Ward: ‘Reintroduction of bin charges by weight another stealth tax on the vulnerable’

by Gazette Reporter
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SINN FEIN councillor Mark Ward fears that prices will increase in line with the reintroduction of pay-by-weight bin charges announced by Environment Minister Denis Naughten earlier this week.
Cllr Ward is also concerned for the most vulnerable, as well as “the potential negative environmental impact” that pay-by -weight charges may have.
The Clondalkin councillor said yesterday: “Last year in unison the waste management companies increased their prices dramatically in line with the introduction of pay-by-weight charges. This led to an increase in illegal dumping across the county.
“People are sick to the back teeth of what they see as just another stealth tax on the most vulnerable.
“The behaviour of some waste management companies last year left a lot to be desired and does not bode well that the same behaviour will not be repeated this time round.
“Last year I reported the waste management companies to the Consumer and Competition Protection Commission. I asked them to investigate if there was any collusion between the waste management companies in setting prices.
“I am again calling on the Consumer and Competition Protection Commission to use its regularity powers and take action on this issue if it happens again.
Cllr Ward went on: “I have no confidence in the current Government to introduce schemes that will protect our most vulnerable and I point to the Fine Gael/Labour 2011 programme for Government that was committed to having a public service obligation as part of local waste collection services including a fee waiver scheme for low-income households.
“This commitment was not met.”
“Last month I had a motion passed by South Dublin County Council calling for the remuncipalsation of waste management companies. I tabled this motion as the privatisation of domestic waste collection services has failed the people of South Dublin with poorer quality of service, increase costs for households, negative environmental impacts and increased illegal dumping.
“Remuncipalsation of Public Service has happened right across the OECD countries. The remunicipalisation of public service in the OECD is an emerging practice of retrieving previously privatised services, such as waste management.

“A report produced by South Dublin County Council at the meeting showed a 45% increase in illegal dumping between 2015 and 2016. This is unsustainable and it’s having a negative effect on our communities.
“Illegal dumping is leading to a sense of lawlessness in our society.
“There is no place for this behaviour and the actions of a few are impacting the many.
“I grew up in North Clondalkin, an area with many socio-economic problems but it was clean in comparison to today.
“However it is not just irresponsible residents that are contributing to the negative environmental impacts. There is also an increase in commercial dumping going on, where unscrupulous unlicensed operators collect waste at a cheaper rate and dump it whereever they seem fit.”
Cllr Ward added: “I am calling on the Minister to honour the commitment made in the 2011 programme for Government and introduce bin waiver schemes for our most vulnerable. I am also calling for the return of waste management to public control.
“Last year we did not want bin charges suspended, we wanted them ended.”
However, Taoiseach Leo Varadakar last night accused Sinn Fein of trying to exploit panic over the new system of bin charges after Cllr Ward’s party colleague Mary Lou McDonald TD told the Dail that the planned termination of flat-rate bin charges announced by the Minister meant simply that charges would spiral.

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