Friday 28 October 2016

Bin charges fiasco 'is another Irish Water in the making'

Minister Simon Coveney Picture: Tom Burke
Minister Simon Coveney Picture: Tom Burke

Bin charges are on course to become the minority government's new 'Irish Water' with Opposition parties insisting the implementation of a 'pay-by-weight' system will have to be postponed beyond July 1.

The fiasco has resulted in environment minister Simon Coveney "calling in" waste companies for a crisis meeting just two weeks before the new charging regime is due to kick-in.

The Government was last night trying to devise a method of capping charges - but this will require discussions with the Attorney General and Competition Authority.

"My job in the next few days is to ensure that the significant concern, and stress, and heat that has been created around this issue can be dealt with by government and by me," Mr Coveney said last night.

"We'll work through the weekend to come up with a sensible proposal."

Fianna Fail TD John Lahart asked his colleague Dara Calleary to raise the bins issue with Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald in the Dail after around 20 constituents contacted him in 24 hours.

"We're going to keep the pressure on this. This has the potential if it isn't handled correctly by the Government to escalate very quickly.

"There's an awful lot of anger. People have done their sums. They've looked at last year's bills and they've worked it out with the standing charge. They've worked out what additionally it'll cost," he told the Herald.

Such is the concern within Fine Gael that Mr Coveney was personally briefing backbench TDs last night about the developments.

Dublin North West TD Noel Rock (inset)also told the Herald: It's another Irish Water in the making unless we check it. Everybody is talking about the scale of the increase.

"It's crazy. It's the single biggest issue that has come up since the election."

He described the claim that 87pc of households will pay less under the new regime as "nonsense".

Mr Rock said there was now "a case for debating" whether the bin services should be nationalised again.

Sinn Fein has threatened to put forward a Seanad motion to annul the Statutory Instrument which resulted in the new system and the AAA/PBP are planning a series of protests next week.

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