The Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, has agreed to a proposal put forward by independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice to recycle and re-use more building waste.

Speaking in the Dail this week, the elected representative for the Roscommon-Galway constituency said: “We could re-use a great deal more waste far more sensibly. Fifteen years ago when development was being done around Dublin people driving lorries – they called them hackers – would get ten loads to the tips in Balally, Dunsink and other places.

“Today these lorries go to Longford, Westmeath, Monaghan and various parts of the country because of the problems with tips.

“Ironically enough, if we are stopped at traffic lights in Dublin and watch the shears taking down the buildings the rubble comprises of concrete, mortar, gravel and cement.

“Throughout the country, be it Galway, Dublin, Cork, Limerick, there is a lot of what we call “muckaway” being shifted. In Dublin alone, there are 3,000 to 4,000 loads per day.

“One third of everything being taken out is concrete, stone and cement. If this is brought to a tip, it has to be buried with everything else. The Minister is overlooking this. This one third could be used on greenway roads or making farm roadways. I am well aware of mica and I understand the situation but there is not the same effect with tar.

“Consider farmers’ roads, when they develop their farms around the country.

“One third of this could be saved in the re-use and recyclable situation. Article 28 is guidance on end-of-use waste, which is from the Minister’s Department, but people are trying to get around the hoops at the moment, for example in trying to screen topsoil, whereby one makes topsoil available for green areas or for around houses.”

Continuing, Fitzmaurice said: “For God’s sake, as the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, and especially as a Green Party Minister, will the Minister, Deputy Ryan, go into his Department and sign a regulation so that cement or concrete, which is basically sand and cement, or stone that has been used, can be recycled for certain projects?

“I am not saying that it would be put under houses or used under factories, but there are plenty of uses that could be made by the person who is thinking of the environment.

“Instead of a lorry going with it to Longford, Westmeath or Monaghan, this material could be reduced by one third. Will the Minister do that? It is a very simple question.”

In response, Minister Ryan said: “Yes. I agree with Deputy Fitzmaurice. When I was originally a city councillor in Dublin, I remember the shock of realising that one third of our landfill then was demolition waste. It was often very good, expensive, and carbon-intensive products, which we need to reduce, reuse and recycle.”

The minister also pledged the Green response to Mr Fitzmaurice’s proposals will be “at a scale beyond compare”.

For further information contact Michael Fitzmaurice at 086-1914565

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