herald

Monday 24 July 2017

Council will demand waste regulator and bins waiver for poor

Cllr Noeleen Reilly & Cllr Cathleen Carney-Boud during a protest over Bin charges outside City Hall, Dublin. Photo: Collins
Cllr Noeleen Reilly & Cllr Cathleen Carney-Boud during a protest over Bin charges outside City Hall, Dublin. Photo: Collins

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

An emergency motion at a 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 O Muiri.

Ironic

"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, re-use 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.

The minister last week announced plans to ban flat-rate bin charges.

While companies will still be allowed to apply standing charges, they must also apply a usage charge such as pay-by-weight or pay-per-lift.

While the exact effect of this remains unclear, it has been estimated that 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 hikes to come.

Under the new pricing regime, which comes 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.

It emerged that 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 last night's council meeting, a small protest took place outside City Hall, organised by Sinn Fein. Newly-appointed Lord Mayor Micheal Mac Donncha and Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald were among those who attended.

Daithi Doolan tabled an emergency motion that the council should write to Mr Naughten to try to stop the new charges.

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

Burdened

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

"This is another tax hard-pressed families have to deal with and is a charge too much.

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

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

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

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