Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Timmy Dooley has demanded better enforcement of Ireland’s waste laws, following the shocking Primetime investigation into the illegal disposal of waste in Ireland by licenced waste operators.

Deputy Dooley added “Monday’s Primetime programme contained stomach-turning footage of how certain waste operators dispose of their waste in an irresponsible and illegal manner. They accept payments from customers, who believe that they are paying a company to collect and properly dispose of their waste, when in actual fact they are simply discarding it in putrid heaps, where it leaches into our soil and rivers.

“Currently, the maximum penalty under the Waste Management Acts for this type of offence is €15 million or 10 years in prison. However since 2016, the average fine handed down in successful prosecutions under this act has been under €5,000.

“More often than not, this sum goes nowhere near close to covering the cost of remediation works. The taxpayer is then left to foot the rest of the bill.

“A higher value must be placed on Ireland’s land and water. With an average fine of just €5,000, those breaking the law are getting away scot free in my opinion.

“Consideration needs to be given to changing the legislation to ensure that for people or companies who engage in consistent and persistent illegal dumping and polluting, a minimum fine applies that recognises the seriousness and harm of the activities.

“The Government must step up their enforcement regime and ensure that when people and companies break waste laws, proper action is taken. We need local authorities to be properly resourced so that they can investigate these infractions fully and quickly,” concluded Dooley.