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Fine Gael councillor Declan Doocey as Mayor of Waterford in 2018. Waterford City and County Council

FG deputy mayor at centre of €700k landfill row takes aim at Greens and targets Dáil bid

Declan Doocey said that Fine Gael needs to stop “giving the Greens too much power”.

A FINE GAEL deputy mayor of Waterford who was brought to court for operating a plastic waste landfill that cost €700,000 to clean up has put now himself forward to stand for the party in the general election.

Declan Doocey said that Fine Gael needs to stop “giving the Greens too much power”, claiming that it has been “making it impossible to farm” in Ireland.

Following Leo Varadkar’s confirmation that he will resign as Taoiseach and party leader, there has been debate in Fine Gael over whether it needs to appeal more to farmers and the small business sector.

Doocey, an elected member of Waterford City and County Council for Lismore, is challenging senator John Cummins as the party’s candidate for the Waterford constituency. 

Cummins has long been highlighted by the party’s ministers as its expected Dáil candidate for Waterford, having come fifth in the four-seater in the last election in 2020 and will likely be the only FG name on the general election ballot. 

It’s expected that there will be just one candidate put forward although this has yet to be confirmed.

The selection convention is due to take place in Waterford city on Monday 15 April.

Anyone seeking to go before local party members to receive a nomination to stand for the Dáil needs just two backers from the membership.

Describing himself on local radio station WLR today as an “old fashioned Fine Gael supporter”, Doocey said the party “lost a lot of our support” due to going into government with Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.

Doocey added that Irish farming is wrongly targetted for its environmental impact, likening it to the impact wrought from the ongoing bombing of Gaza and Ukraine.

He told presenter Damien Tiernan that “the damage the smoke [from bombings] does in comparison to what Irish farming does”, is far different.


Doocey was at the centre of a controversy due to his plastic waste recycling company operating a toxic waste dump in his local area.

Costs arising from clearing the site came to €739,000, with a State auditor criticising Waterford City and County Council for its failure to collect the costs from Doocey over the affair.

Following fresh criticism from the Department of Housing and Local Government auditor, Doocey insisted to The Journal last January that he will be “exonerated” eventually.

He alleged at the time that he was “unfairly targeted” despite other cases of “hundreds of thousands of tonnes” of waste stored around the country, while he claimed his waste was “tidy, segregated” and ready to be disposed of before the council took action.

When asked about the auditor’s suggestion to dock his expenses as a way of recouping the costs, he replied: “I won’t be wearing that.”

Party support

Responding to the news of Doocey’s announcement this evening, Cummins told The Journal that he has been “heartened by the support” from many of the party’s Waterford councillors and its local election candidates, all of whom will be able to cast votes on Monday week.

He added that “everyone expects one candidate to be selected” for the General Election.

“I’ve been working exceptionally hard as a Senator for the past four years, having narrowly missed out on a Dáil seat in the last General Election and I will be seeking the support of party members across Waterford to contest the next election whenever that may occur,” Cummins said.

When asked by The Journal if he had discussed the landfill controversy and the resulting bill of taxpayers’ money with Doocey since it emerged in 2020, Cummins said he was “not going to be drawn into that space” and declined to comment. 

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