Kenny rejects calls to dump controversial bin charges
Enda Kenny has rejected calls to dump controversial pay-by-weight bin charges after the Government was forced to negotiate a bill freeze for one year.
Waste collectors around the country have signed up to a deal, after days of talks, that will cap current prices until July next year as long as houses do not increase their rubbish.
The new polluter-pays system was due to come into force at the start of next month.
But fears it could unfairly punish the likes of people who use incontinence pads or families with young babies - who have more waste that cannot be recycled or reused - sparked calls for it to be halted.
Under a new agreement with the country's dozens of privately-owned waste collection companies, homes will get dual pricing bills before the end of the year.
This will allow the bill-payer to see what their bin costs would be under the new pay-by-weight system compared to the existing price plans.
While they can choose which pay plan to go with, the new system will be fully implemented by July 1 2017.
The agreement also grants an "allowance" for 60,000 incontinence-sufferers.
Taoiseach Mr Kenny said an "intensive" public awareness campaign would be launched later this year "to promote the benefits of the pay-by-weight charging model and to support customers in understanding how they can change their waste management behaviour".
"I think that is in everybody's interests and in environmental interests," he said.
"And no later than January 1 2017, customers will receive a dual pricing bill listing the amount of waste that they are disposing of, their costs under the current pricing system and details of what the comparative cost would be on pay-by-weight charge.
"They will be given the option to transmission if they choose to pay-by-weight charging or to remain on their current pricing plan."
But he rejected calls from Gerry Adams to get rid of the legislation - brought in by former environment minister Alan Kelly - introducing the pay-by-weight system.
Mr Kenny accused the Sinn Fein leader of wanting to "jack up" income tax to pay for waste collection.
Introducing the new pricing system, Mr Adams said the Government had claimed 90% of households would pay less to have bins collected.
"It now turns out in reality that 90% of families and households will pay substantially more," he said.
"The companies have agreed amongst themselves to put that off for a year. That's not good enough."
Mr Adams said families already struggling to pay off mortgages, rents, childcare, water charges, property tax and hiked up car insurance premiums are being hit once again.
"Yet another increase, on top of all the other taxes, costs and charges the Government have inflicted on them in recent years," he added.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin demanded a full review of the waste collection industry.
There was a complete lack of transparency in billing, no competition in some areas, no regulator for the industry and illegal dumping taking place on an "industrial scale", he said.