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Wexford Court case will not deflect opposition to unfair bin charges

6 July, 2004

County Wexford Sinn Féin Press Officer David Forde, who appeared at Wexford District Court this morning, following a summons by Wexford Borough Council for non payment of Domestic Bin Charges, has said that while Judge Peter Smithwick ruled in favour of the Borough Council, that his remarks in summing up amounted to an acknowledgement that these charges are fundamentally flawed and unfair.

David Forde said:

"Judge Smithwick's comments in summing up this morning that a flat rate charge for domestic refuse collection offers no incentive to householders to recycle or reduce waste and that other options than a flat rate charge are available, in essence amounts to an acknowledgement that these charges are fundamentally flawed and unfair.

"It remains Sinn Féin's position that these charges have nothing to do with good waste management practice but are used primarily as a revenue generating device by cash starved local councils who have been consistently underfunded by central government.

"The former Fianna Fáil Mayor of Wexford who had called for those who 'made the most noise' locally in protest at the Bin Charges to be the first to be prosecuted, clearly got his wish today in so far as he has seen a Sinn Féin spokesperson be the first to appear in Court in Wexford on this charge. However today's outcome will only serve to steel our resolve in campaigning against unfair stealth taxes that target ordinary householders.

"The entire waste management issue deserves proper and full debate, as does the issue of the underfunding of local authorities. These are stand alone issues and they should not be mischievously interlinked. It is the responsibility of central government to properly fund local authorities. It is also the responsibility of central government to promote a proper waste management policy. The onus must be taken away from the innocent householder and placed back where it rightly belongs." ENDS

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