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Southern MEP gets it wrong

06 March 2007

During a debate on waste in Strasbourg (12/2/07) Jim Allister referred to illegal dumping of waste within NI from the Republic. Calling for rigorous enforcement of the "polluter pays" principle, he said the Republic "can and must do more to stop those illegal shipments and it must pay for the damage that has been done".

The following speaker was Marion Harkin, TD and MEP for North-west Ireland. Stung by the criticism of her country, she alleged that illegal cross-border dumping of waste "goes both ways", suggesting that in effect Northern Ireland was as much sinning as sinned against.

Believing this to be untrue Jim Allister immediately wrote to DOE Minister, David Cairns MP, who has replied to say not a single complaint of illegal dumping from Northern Ireland has been made by the Republic's authorities! Moreover, he confirmed "there has been significant movement of waste from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland".

Armed with this reply Mr Allister wrote to Ms Harkin inviting her to withdraw her scurrilous allegation.  Not surprisingly, the response has been a deafening silence.

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Agriculture and Environment