Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley, the party Spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, has said that any further delays in the establishment of a regulator for the waste collection industry will heap more pressure on already hard pressed consumers.

Deputy Dooley was commenting following the publication of a hard hitting, and damning, report by the Consumer and Competition Protection Commissioner (CCPC) which found that the Irish waste industry is at risk of becoming a natural monopoly.

“It is incredibly alarming that the CCPC has suggested that current waste policy is inhibiting the ability of the State to implement current environmental policy. The Minister must act to ensure this is addressed urgently.

“The research further found that 18% of consumers nationally and 25% in the Dublin region did not have the option of more than one service provider.

“This report came about following a Fianna Fáil Dáil motion on the issue of waste collection and our determination to ensure that hard-pressed citizens would not be gouged by a free-for-all pricing arrangement by unscrupulous waste collectors.

“Fianna Fáil has been consistent on the issue of waste collection. In 2016, we called for a delay in the implementation of changes to waste charging in order to ensure that families would not be unduly impacted.

“With just 20 operators serving the 90% of households that have access to a waste collection service, many consumers are simply without options. Worryingly, the number of operators in the market has shrunk by almost 25% since 2012.

“The report indicates that the weight limits applied by individual operators may be so high as to not achieve the intended increase in recycling. Clearly the Minister and his officials chose to ignore economic theory and the law of diminishing returns when setting the rates and limits.

“Additionally, a greater focus needs to be placed on the roll out of brown bins for organic waste across the country, but in particular in western or midlands counties. This is a no brainer as it would help to reduce our reliance on landfill.

“Doing the same thing over and over again is the definition of stupidity. Minister Naughten has a knack of sticking his head in the sand and hoping for a different outcome every time. He needs to listen to Fianna Fail and establish a waste regulator for the industry to ensure we get it right for consumers, operators and the environment,” concluded Dooley.