Refuse charges - Waste of time hatching a deal

REFUSE charges. Refuse charges. It depends on how you pronounce it.

Either way, the issue of who pays for what and how they pay remains a contentious issue that refuses to go away, although the — hopefully recycled — can has been kicked down the road. 

The last-minute deal hatched between the Government and Fianna Fáil says more about the lack of appetite for a general election than representing any serious attempt to solve the problem of collection charges.

A Fianna Fáil Dáil motion had called for the establishment of a regulator, but the party accepted the compromise of putting a watchdog in place while working towards the establishment of a regulator’s office.

What? Another quango? Maybe, but there is an alternative.

What neither the Government for FF seemed to consider seriously is that we already have a regulator in the form of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, an independent body established in 2014 after the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority amalgamated.

Its stated purpose is to enforce competition and consumer protection. It can conduct investigations and can take civil or criminal enforcement action if it finds evidence of breaches of competition law.

It already has specific responsibility for regulation of the grocery sector and there appears to be no reason why it could not add waste collection services to its remit.



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