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Simon Coveney to bring forward proposal on bin charge issue next week

The minister says he had a “frank and productive” discussion with operators.

Updated 11.20

LOCAL GOVERNMENT MINISTER Simon Coveney has said he will bring forward a proposal next week to deal with the issue of bin charges.

In a statement issued this morning, Coveney said he had a “frank and productive” meeting with representatives from some of the bigger waste operators, including Panda Waste, Greyhound, CityBin and Clean Ireland.

“On the basis of what was discussed, I will bring forward a proposal early next week and before the debates in the Oireachtas,” he said.

The minister reportedly told operators he will introduce new regulations to cap fees if they increase charges, the Irish Times reported.

The competition watchdog, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), has also launched an investigation into the sector.

This week, householders were notified that their waste collection charges could double or even treble in some cases over the coming months.

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Both Greyhound and Thorntons Recycling customers were told that yearly standing charges of €50 would be replaced with weekly service fees of €2 or €3.

Earlier this week, Coveney confirmed that he would bring in further legislation if private companies were found to be abusing the new system which sees customers pay for how much waste they leave out in their black and brown bins.

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The new pricing structures are due to kick in on 1 July. From that date, customers will pay a flat-rate charge, plus an amount for every kilogramme of waste produced (11 cent for black bin waste and six cent for brown bin waste per kilo).

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald said Coveney should not be giving the bin companies the option to reduce their standing charges, but should instead repeal the statutory instrument that has allowed them to do so.

“Minister Coveney has said he will play hard ball with the bin companies,” McDonald said in a statement. “He will give them an ultimatum; reduce the standing charges or he will bring in new legislation.”

This is little more than tough talk. He is the Minister in charge. He should not be giving the companies an option. He should simply legislate. If he does not, he will simply leave the door open to the companies to hike their charges again at a later date.

Read: Alan Kelly: ‘I never envisaged the dramatic increase in bin charges’

More: Bin charges treble for customers as companies accused of operating ‘a cartel’

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