"Some of the waste companies are taking advantage" - Leo Varadkar on new bin charges

Fianna Fail's Barry Cowen mentions legal loophole in the system

The Minister for Social Protection has said some waste companies are taking advantage of the new pay-by-weight scheme.

Leo Varadkar said companies should not be able to use the new system as an excuse to hike up prices.

Some bin companies are looking to increase their fees by up by 200% from next month, when the scheme comes into effect, and there has been backlash from people facing increased bills.

Minister Leo Varadkar said proposed fee increases are not acceptable.

"I am concerned and it is apparent that some of the waste companies are taking advantage of this change and using it as an excuse to hike bin charges," he said.

"It shouldn't be used as an opportunity to bring in price hikes - that's just not okay."

The scheme is aimed at making people reduce the amount of waste they produce.

The government has claimed that the move will encourage more recycling, with green bins largely being collected for free under the new rules.

But Fianna Fáil's Barry Cowen has warned there is a loophole in the legislation.

"The statutory instrument written by Alan Kelly at the time appears to have had a loophole to allow the kinds of price gauging that we've heard of," he said earlier. 

Minister Simon Coveney will meet with waste collection providers at 6pm this evening.

He has said he is willing to suspend the rule changes if the companies don't agree to review their charge increases.