South using North as a dumping ground?

Interesting snippet from Hansard sent to us by reader Leslie:

Between March last year and February, 14,619 tonnes of waste from the Republic of Ireland were legally moved to Northern Ireland, with a “significant proportion” eventually ending up in Great Britain. However, estimates suggest that between October 2002 and the end of 2004, 250,000 tonnes of household waste from the Republic was illegally dumped in Northern Ireland.

Leslie also asks. Is this an unintended outcome of the pastic bag tax?

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Ciaran Irvine

    It’s got nothing to do with the plastic bag tax.

    The Republic is trying to encourage recycling everywhere. Part of this is to reduce the availability of landfills. The nearest landfill to Galway City is in Ballinasloe!

    So there’s been an upsurge in waste operators willing to take all the rubbish from people who don’t want to/can’t be bothered recycling and disposing of it wherever they can – in illegal landfills such as the ones discovered last year in Wicklow, or in the north.

  • Don’t think it has anything to do with plastic bag tax.

    Friends of my parents have a home in Donegal and because they have to pay to have their bin emptied, they drive into Derry and use the dump there, otherwise it would be 15 euro a week to have their bin emptied as opposed to less than 5 euro in petrol for the drive into Derry, which they would be doing anyway.

    And all the binmen work for private companies who have to pay to empty their lorrys in state controled dumps, so it makes financial sense to illegal drive into Ulster or Britain and dump illegally.

    So the old saying, “Keep Ulster tidy, dump your rubbish in the Republic” has turned.

    I wonder how long it will be before the DUP call on the republicans to decomission their rubbish trucks.

  • Harry

    Unionists too may now experience the joys of gombeenism.

  • Loyalist

    It’s only fair – we dumped McAleese on them!

  • Crataegus

    The problem is illegal dumping generally. There is plenty of our own rubbish also being dumped illegally to avoid landfill tax. Need much higher penalties.

  • fair_deal

    It isn’t even just cowboy dumpers. A recent Dispatches programme exposed a supposedly reputable and leading recycling company in Northern Ireland up to seriously questionable practices with its own and RoI waste.


    Technically your parent’s friends are in breach of European law. Rubbish is not allowed to be transported across national boundaries unless for the purposes of recycling.

  • Ringo

    The root of the problem is with the land owners (north and south) who are providing the illegal dumping grounds and getting a nice wad of cash, while polluting their neighbourhood groundwater.

    The haulage companies and the people who either knowingly or unknowingly pay these cowboys to dispose of their waste in illegal dumps can only continue to do so as long as there is a destination.

  • Keith M

    Loyalist “It’s only fair – we dumped McAleese on them!”. Very good/ If you take her back we’ll throw in Nell McCafferty for free, now could Ulster say “no” to that?

  • Loyalist

    Keith M

    Good G-d not McCafferty! Couldn’t we have your asbestos instead?

  • Alan

    I understand Derry City Council are looking into the dumping from Donegal – after all, its being paid for by Derry ratepayers.

    The issue was raised at a meeting up there on a totally different subject – and the reaction was spectacular. I can’t see it lasting much longer.

  • Stephen Copeland

    … 14,619 tonnes of waste from the Republic of Ireland were legally moved to Northern Ireland

    It was probably all old tyres, sofas, pallets, and so on, being generously donated by well-wishers in the south to our Orange brethren in the north.

    After all, surely a wee place like Norn Irn couldn’t generate enough rubbish for the orangemen to burn on the 11th night?

    Its a win-win situatiion. The south gets rid of crap, and the north gets some, ahem, culture.

  • aquifer

    I suspect that the councils in the south simply did not get their act together to build legal and leachate proofed dumps. They dragged around the recycling issue for years, attending conferences but failing to get to grips with it.

    My experience of anti-dumping enforcement around belfast was lousy.

    Currently we tend to use surface lakes and rivers for drinking water, but god knows what we will find when we drill for the groundwater below. It is noticeable how much heating oil now comes down the rivers when the groundwater level rises with floods, but dump leacheate from private dumps is indistinguishable from floodwater.

  • eChad

    The south also receives illegal waste from the North. The below FG press release mentions the problem of tonnes of plastic farm waste being dumped into the southern system where levies are normally taken for it’s collection and recycling. Waste dumpers from the north evade the levy and are causing the collapse of the environmental scheme in the south.

  • Mick Fealty

    eChad, I know it is a pain, but it helps the page format if you can use the link code featured just below the comment box. Contextual links are *always* welcome!!

  • dump the wild goose

    So that’s the problem you are all dumping on each other .Why dont you all get together and have one big nation’s dump .Just think of the all
    the verbal diarrhoea you could dump on each other .Peace & relief at last

  • North and South government needs to become more involved in dealing with the problem of waste.

    The amounts quoted above are insignificant in temrs of the problem of dealing with waste and pollution that we face as an island.

    If you are a graduate of the national university of ireland and concerned about the environment, I would encourage you register to vote at