Anti-water campaigners pledge to tackle new bin charges plan

The plan was due to kick in from today but has now been delayed till the autumn

Bin charges, household waste, green bin, Simon Coveney, representatives, bin collection,

File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

Campaigners have pledged to put the same level of energy that was devoted to the anti-water campaign into defeating the new bin charges regime.

Demonstrators have insisted that a public show of strength against the charges will force the government onto the back foot.

Sinn Fein has announced protests across a number of its Dublin constituencies to highlight people's anger at the new system.

The plan has come in for strong criticism since it was announced by the Environment Minister earlier this week – and last night the government clarified that it will not kick in from today as planned, but in the autumn instead.

Announcing the scheme – which aims to introduce a “more flexible framework” for waste collection charges – Minister Dennis Naughten insisted it would divert waste away from dumps and encourage recycling.

However, opposition parties have insisted the plan will simply open the doors for waste collection companies - who hold an effective monopoly - to effectively charge whatever they want.

Private Members Bill

Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil have both pledged to introduce motions on the matter in the Dáil and campaigners have insisted that a public show of strength against the charges will force the government onto the back foot on the issue.

The party’s spokesperson on housing Eoin Ó Broin has warned that the plan will see large families and low income households bearing the brunt of a system that will allow private operators to charge 'whatever they want' for an essential service.

The Private Members Bill, due to be introduced in the Dáil next Wednesday, “affirms that the collection of household waste is a basic public service that is essential for healthy living and maintaining a safe and clean environment.”

Show of strength

The party will hold a “series of protests and information stalls across the State this weekend.”

Solidarity TD Mick Barry meanwhile has insisted that the success of the anti-water movement proves public protest can work:

“In France they have saying that what the Parliament does the street can undo,” he said.

“That people-power is a significant factor in the politics of that country.

“People-power is becoming a significant factor in the politics of this country.”

Fianna Fáil has called for the new charging system to be frozen until an independent waster regulator can be established.

The party’s environment spokesperson, Timmy Dooley said there is “deep unease and concern right across the country” that the plan will “lead to rocketing prices.”

The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe on Thursday lashed out at opposition parties criticising the bill – accusing them of supporting policies that “made it impossible for local authorities to be able to afford to pick up waste” – leading to the privatisation of waste collection.