The Department of the Environment dismissed the claim, saying it was without foundation. A spokesman for Minister Dick Roche said the funds were allotted periodically and there had been no delay this year.
Niall O Brolchain, a Green Party councillor in Galway City, this weekend asked why details for the Environmental Partnership Fund, one of the beneficiaries of the tax, have yet to be released, three months after they were due to be announced.
“The revenue raised by both the plastic bag tax and the landfill levy is normally earmarked for environmental projects such as the Local Agenda 21 Environmental Partnership Fund, announced by April of each year,” he said.
“This year the Environmental Partnership Fund has still to be announced and there is speculation that it is going to be cut or indeed abolished.”
But Mr Roche’s spokesman yesterday described the claim as disingenuous and said there was no basis for the claim that the scheme was being jettisoned. He said there was no set date for announcements, adding that the The Environmental Partnership Fund is allotted to local environmental groups and has been used to help school children gain the Green Flag award.
The scheme was introduced in 1997 and since then the department has contributed a total of €1,910,409 towards 1,055 projects funded under the scheme. Both the level of funding and the number of projects assisted has increased year on year.