The Ombudsman, Ms Emily O’Reilly, has ruled that Waterford County Council’s bin-waiver scheme is unfair and has accused a number of local authorities across the country of being driven by commercial considerations while the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable people in society suffered.

A report by Ms Emily O’Reilly, following a national investigation into the operation by local authorities of bin waivers, was prompted by a complaint lodged by Deputy John Deasy on behalf of several Waterford families.

Ombudsman O’Reilly decided to carry out a general investigation into waste charge schemes nationally after looking into the circumstances of the Waterford cases.

Deputy Deasy made his complaint on behalf of several low-income families and individuals from Annestown, Ardmore and Tallow. He told The Munster Express the situation came about because of the attitude of a few officials in Waterford County Council.

He said they refused to acknowledge publicly that their waiver scheme was unfair to some of the poorest people in the county. “Time and again I asked them to contact Social Welfare to correct the scheme but they refused”, he said.

“I’m glad the report has been done but the officials in question in Waterford County Council need to think long and hard about what has happened”, continued Deputy Deasy. “They chose to ignore pensioners who needed assistance and it’s a sad reflection that some of the most needy and vulnerable were affected.”

The Fine Gael representative said he would like to thank Councillors Damien Geoghegan, Anne-Marie Power, John Carey and Liam Brazil for their support on the issue and for raising the subject in the Council chamber.

According to the Ombudsman’s report, each local authority, including Waterford County Council, will now be asked to furnish her with a progress report, within 12 months, on the implementation of her recommendations.