Donegal Deputy Pearse Doherty has said that illegal dumping by rogue private operators in Donegal is a result of the ‘fragmented’ nature of the state’s regulations and sanctions regime governing waste management.
The Donegal TD and Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson has said that successive Governments have failed to seriously tackle the issue of illegal dumping and that councils were not adequately resourced to deal with the problem.
Deputy Doherty’s comments came in the wake of Monday night’s RTÉ Investigates programme which alleged of long-term illegal dumping at a facility in Moville (pictured above, via RTE Investigates, Ireland’s Wild Waste).
He said the programme ‘made for harrowing viewing to say the least’, but the news may not have come as a shock to some local residents.
Deputy Doherty said: “The programme however simply reinforced what we in Sinn Féin and others have been saying for years when we’ve voiced our criticism of the fragmented nature of the state’s waste management regulatory framework whereby four different government agencies share responsibility for inspection and enforcement.
“The complexity of the legislation in place here makes enforcement in this area very slow and tedious, something which is further compounded by a weak sanctions regime.
“Similarly, the chronic underfunding of local authorities over the years by successive Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Governments has created the perfect conditions for certain waste operators to act with impunity by flagrantly breaching the law. And while both parties have overseen what has often been a rash and ill-judged privatization of waste collection services, this has led to further fragmentation of an already weak and poorly resourced regulatory system.”
Deputy Doherty acknowledged that there are reputable waste services firms operating in Donegal, but the scale of illegal dumping uncovered this week indicates a problem that is damaging to our environment and having a serious impact on our tourism industry.
He said: “We now have a situation where the taxpayer will be left to pick up the bill for cleaning up these sites and undoing the damage caused by certain rogue private waste operators.
“And to add insult to injury we also have the added threat of possible fines being imposed from Europe due to the actions of a few bad actors handling our waste collection services.
“This is yet another example of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael having failed to govern in the interest of ordinary people, and instead they have decided to place responsibility for important public services such as waste collection into private hands whom are simply interested in making a quick buck.
“The Minister must now make a statement in the Dáil in response to the programme’s findings aired this week and set aside Dáil time to debate this serious issue.
“Clearly, both the inspection and sanctions regime need to be strengthened and it’s now crucial that our local authorities are given the adequate resources to deal effectively with this problem which is now widespread across the industry.”