An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that Donegal’s Councillors should be dealing with the county’s major waste management and waste enforcement issues.
The Taoiseach said that responsibility lies with local authorities to control waste enforcement and that Councillors should hold the executive to account.
The Taoiseach said that the RTE Investigates programme uncovering Ireland’s illegal dumping controversies “was a disturbing picture that tells us that we have a long way to go when it comes to waste enforcement in Ireland.”
The programme claimed that illegal dumping was taking place on a massive scale in Moville, Rossbracken, and there had been major cross-border dumping problems in Bridgend.
Rossbracken, Co. Donegal is the scene of one of the worst cases of illegal dumping in the county in recent years. There is an estimated 36,000 tonnes of waste buried on the 11 acre site #RTEInvestigates pic.twitter.com/CVh1YTpYZy
— RTE One (@RTEOne) June 18, 2018
Mr Varadkar said: “We need to bear in mind that local authorities have a responsibility to decide how they allocate their own resources. Donegal allocates the least compared with other counties.”
He pointed out that Donegal County Council has the largest delegation of Fianna Fáil members. The second largest is Fine Gael, and he said he would be discussing the matter with them.
Mr Varadkar’s passing of responsibility to local councillors was described as ‘rubbish’ and ‘petty’ by Fianna Fail TDs in Dáil Éireann yesterday.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the performance of Donegal County Council in waste enforcement and management must be investigated. He called on the Taoiseach to have a fact-finding inquiry to try to get a national picture of what was revealed by RTÉ Investigates.
“We can say we have come a long way and we should move on but a tipping point has been reached, if the House will excuse the pun, and we need to deal with it legislatively,” Mr Martin said.
Mr Varadkar said that all of the cases raised in the programme last night are either under investigation or have been closed already. He said: “while our compliance rate has improved beyond measure in recent years, our system is far from perfect and it would seem that a certain minority continues to feel that flouting the law is worth the risk.”
Mr Varadkar said that enforcement action against illegal waste operators lies with the council and the EPA. “I would expect elected members on local authorities to hold their executive to account as well, not least in Donegal,” Mr Varadkar said.