Stroke politics in grubby deal on bin charges claims Sinn Féin TD for Laois

But Barry Cowen insists consumer is protected by Fianna Fáil intervention

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

Wheelie bin charges.

Grubby deal on rubbish says Sinn Féin's Laois TD Brian Stanley  - no so says Fianna Fáil's Barry Cowen from Offaly.

Sinn Féin Environment spokesperson Brian Stanley TD described the result of Dáil debate on bin charges as 'a grubby backroom' deal between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

However, the Offaly's Barry Cowen insists his party forced the Government to put the consumer 'at the heart of the process'. He said FF's demand for a regulator would prevent price gouging and sudden rises in bin charges.

Dep Stanley said Fianna Fáil’s Dáil motion on bin charges was designed as a spoiler to let the government off the hook as Sinn Féin had planned to block the new charging regime.

“The result of last night’s debate, the passing of the government’s counter motion, proved that to be the case. This was a grubby backroom deal between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

“They have not withdrawn the current charging proposals and have not set any parameters to limit the potential for sky-rocketing prices," he said.

The Laois TD said the Government has no waiver scheme for low income households or made adequate provision for medical incontinence. He argued they have no policy to reduce waste or to oblige manufacturers and wholesalers to reduce packaging.

“I could see that the (Dáil) debate was leading to a stitch up between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and that they had the numbers to pass whatever they wanted regardless of whether a vote was called or not," he said.

The Sinn Féin TD what took place was 'classic Fianna Fáil stroke politics' and example of why the party 'cannot be trusted'.

However, Offaly FF TD Barry Cowen says his party will continue to put pressure on the Government to ensure that a waste regulator is established. Fianna Fáil brought forward a motion in the Dáil this week calling for an independent waste regulator.

He said the debate resulted in the Government confirming that it would set up an interim watchdog to oversee the industry, until a regulator is established.

“We need to get serious about the way in which we dispose of our waste and measures must be taken to move away from landfill and towards recycling. I support the environmental aspects of this new payment structure as it should encourage more people to separate and reduce their waste”, said Deputy Cowen.

He hit out at the manner in which this Government attempted to rush in the new pay-by-weight structure was amateurish. He said a promised public awareness campaign never transpired and people were genuinely concerned that their waste charges will increase as a result of this new pricing structure.

"These fears were most acute in rural counties like Offaly and Laois, where there are only a small number of waste disposal providers. This lack of competition could see some companies hike up their prices, leaving consumers to bear the brunt of this new measure," he said.

Despite Dep Stanly's attack, Dep Cowen said FF's motion, argued for a waste regulator, to ensure that the consumer is "at the heart of the process".

“This issue of illegal dumping and fly-tipping must also be addressed. Over the past number of years we have seen an increase in illegal dumping in fields, forests and laneways, posing serious environmental problems in rural areas.

"We need to establish whether there is a link between increasing waste charges and the rise in fly-tipping. This motion calls for additional resources for Local Authorities to properly investigate illegal dumping and to fine the perpetrators," he said.

The self-declared TD for Laois Offaly said FF wants to ensure that consumers get value for money.

"A regulator will prevent sudden price gouging and promote competition, ensuring that both customers and the environment are protected,” he said.