A Cork TD has raised in the Dáil the prospect of abolishing bin charges, which were introduced controversially two decades ago.
Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central, Thomas Gould, last Thursday raised with Environment Minister Eamon Ryan and Minister of State Ossian Smyth what he described as the need to abolish bin charges.
Mr Gould noted that bin charges have increased by 10% since 2021, and he added that members of the public are now facing the prospect of having to pay for their compost to be collected, which, he said, flew in the face of claims that bin charges would encourage recycling.
“The Minister of State just said local authorities have responsibility for waste collection, and one of the reasons they could privatise it is where costs are unreasonably high, and that the power remains with the local authority,” he said.
“If we have local authorities that do not have the funding to provide a bin collection service, because of Government decisions, we are forcing local authorities to privatise.”
The amount of waste discarded annually by local authorities has remained static since 2010, the northside TD said, and, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recycling has reduced, meaning that bin collection charges actually encourage dumping.
If people have a choice of putting shoes on their children or paying for their waste collection, what would they do?” Mr Gould asked.
“I wish to point something out to the Minister of State, he provided funding for anti-dumping initiatives in 2022.
“Of the 13 projects in Cork city, only one was on the north side. The communities that got the funding were the ones that were most affluent and probably least in need of it, while the communities that were most in need did not get it,” he added.
Vacant houses belonging to local authorities, act as a magnet for dumping, Mr Gould stated further, as he also called for vulnerable people such as pensioners and people with disabilities to be given a waiver on their bin charges.
“Will the Minister of State provide funding to local authorities for a waiver?” he asked.
“Some local authorities provide a waiver to those vulnerable people and others do not.
"Either everyone is treated equally or they’re not.”